I love getting plenty of sleep at night. I love the tradition of Sabbath, of taking a full day off to rest. I love going to church and hearing inspiring sermons, of getting filled spiritually. I love eating a big meal, especially if I can follow it with a big nap...
And - this is a little embarrassing - I turn nasty very quickly when my rest and comfort are at stake. When I have to miss a Sunday of excellent teaching. When plans of lying on the couch and reading get thwarted by a friend who needs me. When, for whatever reason, I'm in a pattern of going to bed after midnight and the kids are in a pattern of waking up before seven.
During those times I find myself thinking, "Surely I can find someway to organize my time so that I'm always getting the right amount of rest and relaxation." As if that's what life is all about, achieving great organization so I can be rested all the time.
At church on Sunday, the worship band sang while we took communion. They always put the lyrics up on the screen, which I'm appreciative of since I like the visual of the words. One of the lyrics was:
I know I am filled up only to be emptied again.
And the truth of those words settled into my chest.
Yes, it's important to rest our bodies and minds. Yes, we should eat well and fill up our minds with scripture and good teaching. But the point isn't to never feel tired because we've organized our time so well that we're always getting 9 hours of sleep at night. We "fill up" on rest and food and spiritual nourishment so we can empty ourselves. So we can bless others.
I heard a speaker say that one of the great keys to life is found in the pattern of our breathing - we inhale deeply, only to give it all right back. The air is key to our existence, but it's not ours to keep. And so it is with rest. We are intended to rest. We are also intended to hand our energy, whatever there is of it, over to God for His purposes. Trusting that when we are emptied, He will refill us.
Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog www.GoTeenWriters.com. To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com.