It was a scenario I knew all too well. My four-year-old son was showing signs of exhaustion before we even got home from preschool. I mean, he took a break on the playground to rest his head on the monkey bars, for goodness sake.
On the drive home, I said, “Honey, we’re going to put your sister down for her nap, then read a few books and lay down in your room for rest time today.”
Since he’d had the luxury of rest time on the couch the previous few days, he protested as I knew he would. It started with a pout, followed by a whine, and then an all-out wail. “But Mommy, I’m not tired.”
Oh yes you are, son.
I bit my tongue, but my determination was strong. The thick red circles around his eyes couldn’t be ignored. And the mother’s heart in me wanted to see him get good rest so he could enjoy his evening when Daddy came home from work.
So, true to my word, I put his sister down for her nap, read books, and then traipsed upstairs with him, his wails resurging.
After a round of psychological gymnastics, I got him settled in his bed and then laid down beside him, hoping to avoid any rebellious naptime antics. I looked at the clock and thought, He’s so tired … I bet it’ll take less than ten minutes before he’s out.
It started out like his normal sleepy routine. He flopped back and forth a few times, settling into the perfect position and snuggling his cheek into the pillow. His eyes started to droop …
Then he snapped them open and started talking to himself. This routine replayed itself over and over until my ten-minute prediction quickly passed. As time wore on, his efforts to stay awake became more unusual.
At about the thirty-minute mark, I watched his eyelids fall and thought this was the time he’d finally surrender. But then he jerked his head and chopped his arms as if channeling his inner Karate Kid.
Forty minutes passed. Then fifty. As we approached the one-hour mark, I couldn’t believe how hard my son fought the sleep his body so desperately needed.
And then it hit me. Like mother, like son.
That very day, I had played the roles of chauffeur, cook, cleaning lady, Bible study leader, writer, fitness-instructor-in-training, and Superwoman wannabe. In fact, while I waited for my son to fall asleep, I was secretly plotting what else I would get done once the house fell silent.
Unfortunately that day wasn’t an anomaly. Most days my to-do list is pumped with steroids, and my primary goal is to keep it from shrinking. If rest beckons, I push harder and say, “I’m not tired,” while God is likely watching me from heaven, shaking His head and saying, “Oh yes you are, daughter.”
The thing is, all my to-dos aren’t bad in and of themselves. Caring for my children is a God-given responsibility I can’t ignore. He’s also led me to certain writing and fitness pursuits. To ignore them would be disobedience on my part, and I want the promises Solomon offers in the second part of Proverbs 13:4.”Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”
On the other hand, I have to be careful to obey God’s commands. “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working” (Exodus 23:12).
How easy it is to keep working through the commanded rest times. If I can just get one more thing done … lead one more Bible study … then I’ll give myself a break. But as life usually goes, that break never comes. I find something else to fill its place and the wheels keep turning.
And all the while, God holds out His Big-Papa arms and says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Just like I longed to see my son get the sleep he needed that day after preschool, God longs to give me a holy rest. The kind of rest that will renew my spirit and strength for the most important callings He’s placed before me. A rest that He not only commands, but also beckons me to experience.
I’m learning that this type of rest doesn’t just happen; I have to intentionally seek it. I have to be willing to let my to-do list go unfinished sometimes. I have to prune away at my responsibilities when necessary. I have to learn to say “No” when God tells me a particular commitment is one too many.
And the hardest part? I have to be still — learning to shut my eyes and not snap them open, to keep my mouth closed and listen, to relax my arms when the karate-chops of life propel them to action.
A divine rest awaits me … if I will only surrender.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
3 Ways to Navigate Personality Differences
Sometimes personality differences can wear on us. Here are three ways we can navigate them in a loving manner.
Surprised By ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’
If you haven't seen this film, God may speak to your heart through it in ways you weren't expecting.
The Wedding Ring
Are you struggling in your marriage? Here's how a wedding ring helped one wife fight for her marriage.
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
How to Rescue a Day Gone Wrong in Your Marriage
Just because a day doesn't start well, doesn't mean you can't rescue it.
What Women Are Saying
-- Sarah Martin, author of Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties in a Decade of Drama
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith5 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship6 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships4 months ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage6 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith5 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles5 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles5 years ago
Relationships9 months ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Digging Into Scripture3 weeks ago
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions