Just like everybody needs to take Sabbath. (Except that one is a command from God and the other is my personal opinion…)
Growing up our family of 4 spent a lot of time on the road in small hotel rooms. My mom is the purest introvert I know. I can remember her waking up a couple hours before the rest of us and sneaking into the bathroom, or down to the lobby, to read and be alone. By the time we got up she was emotionally prepared to greet our chatter and energy. The edge of a bathtub and bible were her nook.
I went 5 days in this house without setting up my nook. The whole house was in disarray and I made the mistake of focusing on the kids’ areas first and leaving all possible nook-type-places (my bedside, a chair with a view, the kitchen table) in disarray and unable to be used for quiet and solitude.
So yesterday I finally moved all the stuff around in our third room (the only room with a door that locks) and created what is, quite possibly, my best nook yet. The old blue velvet chair that’s been around as long as I have, a second hand wooden box for an end table (for coffee and bible and journal of course) and sitting up next to the biggest window in the house. This morning I rushed in here at 5:45 to prop the window open and bear the birds chirping and feel the cool morning air. The cows are mooing. The busy country road behind the house is deserted.
By the time I sat in my nook yesterday, with journal open and pen ready to write, I was paralyzed. I sat for 50 minutes staring blankly out at the fields. I didn’t feel sad or happy. I felt nothing. I was burnt out. I had lived 3 wks of transition (and a couple months even before that) without finding time and space to be still.
I want to take half an hour and be all better again. Ready to face the world. Ready to see people and explain where I’ve been. Ready to blog. Ready to remember all the things we’ve walked through in 3 long years.
But, to my annoyance, it doesn’t work that way.
Because God made us for Sabbath. Yesterday I just opened my bible to Isaiah 58 and it leaped out at me, and this morning I opened The Message app on my phone and there was another scripture on Sabbath waiting for me.
And in the second passage, Deuteronomy 5, God even specifically commands that every member of the community, even servants and foreigners, must take Sabbath. And for servants to take a day off, there needs to be some preparation ahead on everyone’s part.
In some families it could be a mom or dad or gramma who relates to this “servant role”, but I’ve experienced culture where there is always a servant to make breakfast, every day. And it might be quite an emergency – or at least inconvenience-if the servant were to take a whole day to rest. But God says that everyone of us, no matter how important our job, no matter how much income we make, no matter how needed we THINK we are… we were CREATED for rest and space.
For me, this means a few things.
It means I have to plan ahead to take a day of rest. I have to have food prepped in the house and things ready ahead.
I have to recognize, once again, that my work (even if I enjoy it), including business emails and texts on my phone, blogging and website work, errands, can all be set aside completely for one day.
It also means that I need solitude even if I love people. Because when I wait till I burn out it takes me longer to get back.
And the last thing I’m realizing is for all my mom friends and I. When your kids are small you can’t just turn them off for a day. You can’t rest nonstop for a day.
Before I was married I could make a huge transition between countries, spend a couple days hibernating, vegging, resting, and come out feeling fresh.
Now that I have a husband and kids to interact with 24/7, it just takes longer. I can’t squeeze it in. I can’t rush the recovery and all of the sabbaths I’ve missed.
I have to make a nook and then prioritize both solitude and sleep during naps and nighttime. It means going to bed early cuz the kids are. Waking up extra early to be alone. Refusing to set up house while the kids are napping. Giving them a little time on the iPad so that I can find these moments.
it seems like every time I burn out, God just keeps pointing me back to the way He made me– a human in need of rest, reflection, silence, solitude.
A human being made for Sabbath. Made for times of inactivity. Made to remember that the world can still run without me.
And with my sweet little ones in extra need during transition, it’s going to take a little longer for me to recover, and that’s ok.
All I need for that is my nook and a little bit of time.