The sunshine beckons me outside. I grab my new beach bag, don my swimsuit and kindle, and head outside. By myself. I wade in the water to feel the refreshing coolness then sit in the shade. Alone. Just me and my book.
Relaxation eludes me. I’m a mother, teacher, student, and writer. I don’t ever stop. Even when I rest, my mind constantly creates. Now that I’m on vacation and take time to – I don’t know how. I don’t take time to rest.
Reading Mark 6, I find something I haven’t seen in this story before. I feel like the disciples. Jesus recognized their need for rest and nourishment.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
This is right before Jesus feeds the five thousand. They went on a boat to find a place of solitude. Do you know what happened? The people ran after them! I stopped right there and realized that’s how mothering is. Jesus swoops in to tell us to get some rest and little people chase after us. Can I hear an AMEN? Keep reading. The crowd formed where they were they were headed. Jesus saw the crowds, recognized their need for him, had compassion, and began preaching.
I don’t handle it graciously like Jesus did. When my people run after me when I’m seeking rest, I grumble. Jesus saw their need and feed their soul.
But what about the rest for the tired? I’ve thought long and hard about that boat ride. The disciples were away from the crowd for a time. They were alone – with Jesus – even if for a few minutes. Sometimes that’s all we need. Any time spent with Jesus is an investment in our souls.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
So many of us have lost the art of relaxing. Even on vacation there’s an agenda. Our last vacation had no time to relax. While that’s ok every now and then, our bodies were designed to rest. Do we really ever take time to just breathe?
Sometimes I talk myself into doing things because it sounds relaxing, not because it’s what I want to do. Even now I’m writing this at the pool (pencil and paper, old school style!), but this isn’t where I want to be. The music is annoying and kids are splashing. Noisily. Since I’m away from my kids – I want to truly be away from kids. I long for solitude. What I want to do is sit in my hotel room – ALONE – and watch HGTV. (a luxury for me since we don’t have cable.) Why don’t I go up there? I’ve been convincing myself that people on vacation sit by the pool, so I should too. If I go to my room, I’ll work on the computer. (except did you catch that I’m still working, even by the pool?)
“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. Exodus 34:21
I grab my gear and head upstairs. What a treat to find one of my favorite shows on HGTV. My favorite thing about this channel is that I like the beginning and ending of the shows. So for all of the middles, I write.
And you know what? That is what I really want to do.
My vacation might not look like yours, but it’s what I created it to be. For me. And yes, I did take my time to rest. With Jesus.