This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Give it a rest!

Taking a break.
Taking a break.

I say every summer, “this summer is going to be more relaxed than last summer.” And every summer it’s just not. It’s not that the summer is bad, but that it is more busy than I’d like it to be. There’s sleepaway camp, trips to the ocean, camping in the woods, the baseball game we always go to (even though none of us really like baseball), and the outdoor movies at the library that we love so much. This summer we’ve been in “hurry up so we can have fun” mode, which as it turns out, isn’t very fun.

Yesterday was my day off with the kids, and there was a big “to do” list. We had to plan meals for the week, go shopping, do some laundry, clean the house, and make sure the kids were packed for their big visit to their aunt and uncle’s house for the week.

But when I woke up and looked at the kids, they looked exhausted. I was exhausted too. We were trying to cram too much into our short summer, and we needed to take a rest.

So after a quick trip to the grocery store and a few chores, we all collapsed into our rooms for some extended quiet time. It felt a little naughty — laying around inside on a gorgeous summer day — but it also felt necessary. We needed some down time — a chance to restore our spirits, catch up on rest, and come back to ourselves.

Jesus is an excellent model for self care. In the midst of his work, he made time for himself. He knew that he couldn’t keep going without a sabbath rest. He couldn’t continue if he was always exhausted. That was easier said than done in an intense ministry such as his — even during his times of rest, he was sought out for healing, help and wisdom. But even in the midst of his intense work, he tried to find moments of rest.

Obviously our lives are not like Jesus’ — we have it much easier. The fact that we have options about what to do with our time and where we spend it is far more than many have. And so we must choose wisely what we do with our time.

Sometimes we need to forsake a beautiful day of running around for a much needed day of sleeping in and snuggling up. Sometimes we need to recharge our batteries, and hide away. And yesterday was just such a day. Next week, the day off will probably be more vigorous. We’ll probably try to slip in a walk in the Wissahickon park, or meet up with some friends for a play date. But yesterday, we needed to play hooky, to give ourselves a rest, and to restore our spirits for what’s to come next.

May we all find ways to enjoy some rest in the middle of our hectic lives.

Amy Yoder McGloughlin is pastor of Germantown Mennonite Church in Philadelphia. This blog post is provided thanks to our partnership with Practicing Families.

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