In three days, I’ll run a marathon. I have poured hours and miles of hard work into preparing.
But just weeks ago, I thought my efforts were all in vain.
It was August. School had started for BOTH of my children, and for the first time since I could remember, how I spent my day was in MY CONTROL. The season of school-age children had finally arrived. (Cue the singing angels.)
I had looked forward to this Promised Land with great anticipation — and it was the very reason I had chosen these months to train for another marathon: MARGIN! TIME! AUTONOMY!
And then, I (repeatedly) received this question: “What are you going to DO all day!?”
While I could’ve simply shrugged my shoulders with glee, I instead received the well-meaning question as a challenge. An accusation, even.
Defenses high, I began living every day from a place of, “Oh, I’ll SHOW YOU what I’m going to do all day. I’ll be PLENTY BUSY, thankyouverymuch.”
I was living my everyday Mom Life, plus training for the marathon. But then I just kept adding things to my plate. Like, All The Things. (Because I MUST DO ALL THE THINGS BECAUSE NOW I HAVE ALL THE TIME. Obviously.) And as my schedule filled up with All The Good Important Things, REST quickly became… well, not a thing.
But the snowball had started rolling, and that sucker is hard to stop once it’s rolling downhill. Partly because I felt like, if ever, NOW is when I actually *should* be able to finally DO IT ALL. And partly because I was scared of what it would mean about me if I had “all this time” and still *couldn’t* DO IT ALL.
Well, let me ask you a question. Do you know the “Force Quit” option on your computer? I am quite familiar with this function because I tend to leave programs open and running forever and ever amen. So, when I try to actually shut down my laptop, there are often programs that REFUSE TO STOP RUNNING, which then keeps the computer from rebooting.
So, I have to choose “Force Quit.”
Hm. Sounds kind of familiar.
I can only run so hard for so long. Literally and figuratively.
And so one day in September, I caught my daughter’s innocent little cough. And my body – over-taxed and under-rested – took it and turned it into full-blown pneumonia.
Weeks into marathon training, that’s like a punch in the gut. (More like a knife in the lung, really.) Pneumonia!? PNEUMONIA!
And I could see it: FORCE QUIT.
Temporary, yes. But real. And real inconvenient.
I was terrified. If I stopped, how would I ever get going again? How would I regain any momentum? How could I possibly recover from this setback?
And then God opened my eyes to an alternate view. Instead of a setback, He revealed an invitation. An invitation to REST. Without guilt. Without shame. I had a “MUST REST” trump card: I had pneumonia, for crying out loud. You’re not LAZY if you rest while you have PNEUMONIA. You’re just following doctor’s *very adamant* orders!
I canceled appointments. I didn’t work out. I didn’t go out. I didn’t volunteer. I stopped. For almost two weeks, I just plain stopped.
Now, several weeks later – and just days away from the marathon – I look back on that “Force Quit” with immense gratitude. It truly WAS an invitation – but not just to stop and rest. It was also an invitation to gain respect my body’s NEED for rest – and its ability to GET BACK UP AGAIN.
Our need for rest is not a sign of weakness. It’s evidence of being HUMAN. The main reason I chose to train for a marathon this year is because I knew the kids would both be in school and I would have time to TAKE A NAP. EVERY. DAY. Because I know I need so much more sleep when I train this hard. Yet, when it came time to give that to myself, it felt like a failure, so I kept the program running, active, busy.
What would it feel like to embrace your need to rest – without shame. Without needing to prove that you can DO ALL THE THINGS with ALL THE TIME.
“Hello, my name is Amanda. I have two children in school. What do I DO with myself all day? Well, I do some stuff. But I also take a nap. I TAKE A NAP.” Because I need it. Also, because I want to and because I have time for it during this season, if I protect it.
Does this make me lazy? No. It makes me NOT AN IDIOT. If you’re tired and you have 30 minutes to spare for a nap: YOU TAKE A NAP. If “Me-as-a-Mom-with-two-little-kids-climbing-her-legs-all-day” saw “Me Today” pass up a nap, she would throat punch me. Super hard.
Where do you need to respect your need for rest? In what ways do you need to choose a “Force Quit?”