The Language of Rest

Last week, I talked about “When Trauma Affects Your Ability to Listen to Your Body.” I finished the article with:

THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE OF REST

Why? I didn’t know what my own body was telling me. I didn’t know how to cue into it. I still struggle with knowing what it’s trying to tell me. It’s as if we don’t speak the same language. It says, “rest” and I don’t speak the rest language. It’s foreign to me. I put my self-imposed to-do list above my body’s needs. Not good. I understand there are things we have to do as women, moms, and grandmas. Whatever your title is, there are tasks or appointments we should keep. One of those appointments is with ourselves. Did Jesus care for the needs of his own body? If so, how? 

Today I’d like to spend a few minutes on the language of rest and how Jesus understands the needs your body.

When do you rest?

  • Do you wait until your body is completely depleted?
  • Do you schedule rest?
  • Do you work your body as if it has infinite energy and then are flabbergasted when it shuts down?
  • Did you know enough about your body to know when it’s telling you to rest?
  • Do you feed your body the food it needs to work well?
  • Do you fuel your body often?

Answering these questions is a great starting point. For me, I used to wait until my body was shutting down before I rested. Now I schedule rest. I do sometimes still get flabbergasted when my body says, “STOP!” For instance, (last week) I’ve had two Easter Egg hunts on consecutive days, followed by a doctor’s appointment the next day, and then more days of outings, including hiking, church, grocery shopping, running errands, and date night. Reading the list exhausts me. In fact, today I’m suffering from an introvert hangover after all the peopling I’ve done. (If you’re an introvert and want to know more about the science, embracing your introvert-self, check out Holley Gerth’s – The Powerful Purpose of Introverts.) How did you answer these questions?

Getting to Know YOurself

  • Do you know yourself?
  • Do you know what stresses you?
  • What energizes you?
  • What exhausts you?
  • Which foods give you energy?
  • Which foods leave you feeling wired, tired, bloated, or fill in the blank.

If you read last week’s article, you’ll know I followed the voice of trauma and survival mode for years. I didn’t know myself at all. I even went so far as thinking I was being sinful if I took time to know myself or do anything for myself. If you think that way, it’s not true. Not Biblical. Not how Jesus sees things. He not only promises to give us heavy-burdened, trauma-driven, codependent, perfectionists REST, He says He will “ease, relieve, and refresh our souls.” (Matthew 12: 28,29) Read that again and take a deep breath or two. Jesus cares about you and your body. He listened to and knew His own needs. Even though he is God, as a man, He became tired and needed a break. He needed rest and He knew the apostles did too. After they told Jesus all they had done and taught-

He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while”—for there were many [people who were continually] coming and going, and they could not even find time to eat.

Mark 6: 31

Find A Co-regualtor

On a comment on my Instagram post last week, I mentioned when we need to use the same parenting tools we employ with our kids who have experienced trauma with ourselves. We need to re-parent ourselves. Maybe you missed the season of co-regulation in your childhood. Maybe there was too much chaos in your home (or is now), and no one helped you know what your body was telling you. Basic things such as hunger, thirst, need for rest, and what we feel (anxiety, excitement, depression, uncertainty, joy) – all these feelings we need co-regulators guiding us. EVEN if you are an adult, you may need a co-regulator and some re-parenting!

I started the practice of reporting all I have done to my husband. It’s not for approval’s sake. It’s so he can weigh in and advise me. He’s often told me – “You do more on a rest day than most people do on a work day.” I had no clue. I thought everyone worked the way I did. Maybe you are the same and you don’t know how much you really push your body. Find someone to help you regulate until you can do it on your own. Do you have someone in mind? If you don’t pray about it?

Do you speak the language of rest? Share in the comments!

*If you struggle with knowing what your body is telling you, take some time this week and answer all the questions in this article in a journal or on you phone. If you struggle with knowing the answers, you may not speak the language of rest. Ask a trusted close friend or spouse to help you begin to recognize what your body is telling you or find a counselor.

Restoration is a gift

♥Restoration is a gift.

“I guess I didn’t realize my mom had given me a gift,” I said to daughter-Amerey as we headed to an antique mall.

“Mom, you gave me the gift too! All of us girls have the gift!”

I have never lived in brand new turn-key house, at least one that I didn’t see projects that needed completed. That is not to say that I haven’t lived in a nice house with a roof, windows, walls and all the necessary items. I even lived in base housing where all the walls were white. Everything was functional, not beautiful. But I had a Mom who loved beautiful things. She loved restoring furniture and homes. After my step-father retired from the military, we bought an old farmhouse, trekking from Denver, Colorado to small town in WV to find it. That old farmhouse boasted a pepto bismal pink mantel and many, many, many layers of wall paper.

After school would find mom stripping layers of paint off of hundred year old wood and some of us girls right next to her. What a thrill it was for her to watch that paint remover bubble up, scrape the putty knife and see that glorious wood. Years before the farmhouse, Mom was always antiquing. Finding an old buffet and chopping the legs off, then refinishing it to suit her style. Our stereo sat on that buffet for years. Now it sits at the end of my bed.

She gave me the gift restoration. As a girl, I didn’t appreciate the gift. To see a stack of baseboards waiting for me at the end of a long school day was not always a welcome sight, but it gave me something to do.

 

So, I picked up the habit. I renovate. I think my girls have the habit to. Right now, I have a corner hutch waiting for me to put a few coats of polyurethane on it.  I antiqued it granny smith apple green.

IMAG1197

But, Mom didn’t just renovate furniture. She made something beautiful out of something someone intended to discard. She believed in restoration.

And Mom also gave me the gift of seeing a broken person as someone valuable.She believed in the restoration of people too. You see, God is the great renovator. He believes in restoration. He walks through the world flea market and finds discarded treasures and he restores them.He combs the world-wide orphanage and looks for the abandoned, rejected and lost. And he gives them the gift of restoration.

He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.-Psalm 23:3

If you feel broken, discarded, unwanted, not the best flea market find, know this friend- Jesus sees you as a valuable find. To Him you are a treasure. He can see past the pepto bismal pink paint and He can see you restored to the glory that is already in you. It is there. The glory of you is just hidden under your guilt, your shame and your self-loathing. He doesn’t give you value. You already have it. He paid the highest price for you while you were on the discard table in the back of the flea market. He ran straight for you. Then He paid in cash with His life. Jesus believes in restoration and He wants you sitting at the refurbished family table. He saved a special place just for you, the antique, walnut, refinished chair! ♥♥♥