At the end of each year, we have some down time to reflect on our year, think about our goals and review our accomplishments. Our One Word this year was REST. The word REST is an active verb. “To cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. Allow to be inactive in order to regain strength, health or energy.” Resting is a verb, I had to remind myself. The very action of inaction is what my body needed to recover my health. So while I may have looked to be not DO-ing much, there was much that was going on in the inside. The beginning of the year list looked a lot like this:
- I will listen to my body
- I will sleep when tired
- I will say “no” more often than I say yes
- Say yes to things that will bring me joy and restore my soul
- Meal plan
- Take my vitamins
- Heal adrenals
- Date nights
- LET GO
- Slow down
“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you REST.” ~ Matthew 11:28
The question I had to ask myself with each activity, commitment, and project, was: “Is what I’m doing easy and does it make me feel light?” (Matthew 11:29-30) That was my general filter for the year, whether it was commitments for myself, or our family that directly impacted me.
Sabbath is an Old Testament practice that is relevant today. It’s not so much about rigidly following an old law, but being intentional about reserving time set apart to reset our week. I took Sundays as our day. We weren’t great at this practice, but I was able to reserve a weekend in March for myself for an extended Sabbath rest. Intense prayer and reflection time was good for my soul. So good, that I will definitely add that to our schedule every year. Whether it was an afternoon, consistent morning time in prayer, a day of little work, or a weekend, Sabbath was incorporated in our weeks and we found a good rhythm to REST.
Lesson learned: Taking a Sabbath day (or weekend) is not lazy, it’s needed.
One thing I learned as we hit the pause button on some of our life, was that not everyone else did the same. My calendar was more open and while I was scheduling rest time, I also blocked off time to focus on relationships. So while I intentionally carved out time to connect with friends and dig deeper with relationships, I quickly realized that others didn’t choose my word as their word this year. Hmm, I don’t know what I expected, but somehow, I overlooked this logical incongruity in my planning. I found pockets of time with friends, however, that would not have happened without intentional planning.
Lesson learned: The sweet spot of friendship is hitting the pause button together.
Regaining health for me, was a major component of our goal this year with our One Word. Mid year, I focused on finding the right team of doctors and other professionals to support my path to wellness. Armed with the latest blood work results, I had two new doctors take a look at them for a different perspective. With a new plan in place, I started on a regime that boosted my energy (a tad) and gave me hope for healing. It’s a long, slow road, but I didn’t get here overnight.
Lesson learned: The road to healing is slow, but positive progress is encouraging.
We shifted some of our choices for schooling this year. Two of our boys started a new school last year. This school year, our daughter joined them, while our son left at home is taking four credit hours online. That leaves me teaching three credits this year. He’s in class four mornings a week and I teach two afternoons a week. That’s it. This was done on purpose. While I enjoy homeschooling our children, the crossroads with my health and their needs made it an obvious and necessary choice for us to transition all of them to a different school. There have been challenges, but it has taught me so much already.
Lesson learned: Sometimes staying in bed until noon watching a movie is much needed self care. No guilt attached.
There were several good lessons learned this year. Growth is not possible without failure. There were plenty of failures from this year as well. One of them was meal planning. That did.not.happen. While I’d love to create meals that fit all our dietary needs, oftentimes, we’d end up with several different dinners any given night, which is exhausting. I suppose having my family all eat AIP (autoimmune protocol) is too much to expect right now. Simple whole foods meals is one of the goals for next year.
Overall, I was encouraged to see all that we had accomplished while actively RESTing. To intentionally plan our year to NOT do so much was a challenge. In order to gain healing, I had exponentially more doctor appointments, which seemed counterintuitive to REST. So more appointments meant I had to guard our other times better. Oftentimes, it’s in the pause, that God’s whispers are heard. If we don’t pause enough to listen, the noise of life will drown out those sweet Words that woo our weary soul to stop and REST.
I encourage you to intentionally carve out time to pause. What does that look like for you? Comment to share.