Rest, or ‘trying not to be permanently exhausted’

Last weekend was my first lie in for 13 days.

On the Monday night I travelled home from London, getting in the door after 10:30 only to get up at 6 and do it all again on Tuesday.

I don’t remember the last time I had a ‘night in’.

I can’t exactly moan about being tired, or the bags under my eyes, because frankly it’s my own fault. I find it extremely hard to say ‘no’ to a social invitation.

One of the now-not-so-new joys of my life is the lack of work outside of working hours. The result of this is that my free time is indeed my own, with no need to factor 30 books or 2 days of literacy planning into the equation. Despite getting home at 18:36 (it’s a honed art), I have four or five hours at my disposal. Or I flip it and spend the hours in London, rocking up home at around 22:39.

Do I want to have coffee? Well of course I do – this is me.

Pub quiz? Go on gives my read of the Hello magazine app weight and credence when I know who the celebs are in the picture round.

BBQ? Sure! Card night? Of course! Dinner? Well alright – after all, we haven’t caught up in ages.

Suddenly my week has disappeared in a flurry of social activity. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I thrive on being with people, it’s my life blood. That’s why I find it so hard to say no. I hate the idea I might miss out on something fun, a conversation I want to be part of, but at what expense?

I look in the mirror and I look tired. It’s a ‘good’ tired, tired for good reason, but tired nonetheless. I can barely stay awake on the train some days, and invariably then fall asleep. One day I will end up far far away from my intended destination…

When I reflect, I know that God gave us a pattern to follow. In His creating, he spent half the time resting. God could have worked until He’d finished, after all – He is God. God doesn’t need a good 8 hours of sleep to function well the next day, or so He isn’t crabby in the morning. Yet He didn’t simply create the world and have done with it. Whether you believe that the world was created in seven actual days, or seven periods of time, or you don’t believe the Bible to be true, it states that God rests. God was giving us a model to follow, a sensible guideline for the way we should live our lives. I believe God gave us sleep to enjoy, and enquiring minds to enjoy pursuits in our rest time.

If God gave me this model, isn’t it best to follow it? To schedule some rest into my time, rather than filling my days with busyness?

The Jewish philosophy on days is that they begin at sundown. It’s a small but revolutionary idea. It means we begin our days with rest; a deep restorative sleep instead of a harsh alarm. Your day commences with winding down not working. I love this philosophy because it changes the way I view my days. It puts rest first and places value on sleep. It’s an attitude I want to adopt.
 In declining an invite, I am missing out on a social occasion, which doesn’t sit easily with me. I love to see people and spend time with them. But I must make time for me too; time to rest and recuperate from the busyness, and time to invest in God and myself. Resting is restorative, and if I want to look less exhausted, maybe I need start my day with rest, and take a leaf out of God’s book…

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