I've never been very good at resting.
Okay, you can stop laughing now. Yes, the people who know me are guffawing loudly and asking, "Reeeaallllly?? You? Problems with resting? Noooo" in the best faked sincerity they can muster. They know that back in the day I led three ministries at Quest: a weekly C group, the Life Together ministry (monthly meetings, events every 1-3 months, and occasional all-day stints at church doing announcements) and worship (singing 3-4 times a month, occasionally leading, and meeting with the worship advisory council every month). I was probably at church or a church event 3-6 days a week. Add to that a high-stress job that worked me about 60 hours a week, party-hopping every weekend, and trying to get to the gym 4-6 times a week, and I was pretty much stretched farther than the mom in Incredibles.
Then I come to 2009. In the fall of 2008, I had recommitted to everything I was doing at church, and while I was enjoying my lower-stress, less-hours job, I was still a busy gal. But I increasingly felt a burden on my heart that I needed to give up my leadership role after my year of commitments were up. I blogged about feeling like something new was coming, and then of course I met my fabulous husband. The reason for giving up that busy lifestyle was clear: I had a marriage to focus on.
Fast forward to now. I've been married for 7 months and 4 days (incidentally, Jer came home last night and told me how he realized that we had been married for just as long as we knew each other before we got married. I love that he thinks of these things). If there is one thing I have learned about my husband and our relationship (and I've learned a few things!) it's that we have different needs when it comes to down time. He needs waaayyyy more alone time, quiet time, relaxation time than I do. I am still quick to reply yes to every invitation, volunteer for every opportunity, plan to go out every night of the week.
Obviously I have had to temper those habits. I reply 'maybe' and more often than not we stay in. I know to protect our Saturday mornings as much as possible, and that each weekend needs to provide Jer with a good chunk of time to just write programs, play games, and watch TV. And little by little, I am finding that this rest is not a bad thing.
I have always been such an achievement-and-approval driven person, that the concept of a person valuing me for just sitting with them has been tough to get into my heart. But I am finding that this constant need to be doing things is just as selfish as making time to relax. If my motivation is to appear busy, or to gain approval, or to avoid depth and vulnerability in my relationships, then all the serving I am doing is for nought. Sometimes the way I can most serve my husband is to sit with him and watch Rocky. I must apologize to him for getting up and doing laundry during it.
So I'm still learning. This weekend is supposed to be about rest and relaxation, and I have a long list of projects I want to do: clean the pantry and my office, try out about half a dozen new recipes, write a bunch of blog posts, and get a head start on my continuing education for my insurance licensing. Already this morning I have worked for an hour, made muffins and hardboiled eggs, and started my pantry cleaning. I really should just take some time to read and pray, but every five minutes I think of something else I could be doing. Old habits die hard.
It's a process. I am glad that God gave me a husband who will challenge me to submit my workaholic tendencies to a contemplative spirit. I'll always be a doer-that's how I was wired-but I can serve out of a place of peace and calm, not out of striving or need. Ultimately, I will be a better follower of Christ, and a better wife, mother, friend, and member of the body.
This morning I'm drinking out of a coffee cup that Jer gave me. On it there is a picture of a woman saying, "stop me before I volunteer again." Good reminder, huh? I love my husband.