“I’m not tired, Mom!”

This claim that my children utter every night at bedtime makes me chuckle.

“Oh, but you are,” I reply silently as I tuck them into bed for the sixth time.

I will walk out of their room, shaking my head in exasperation at what I see as obvious, commonsense facts.

  1. They need to wind down after a busy day.
  2. They need sleep.
  3. I’m offering them all that they need to be comfortable enough to receive sufficient rest.

Why can’t they just admit they’re tired and get some rest?

Then I walk right into my to-do list and spend another 2-3 hours putting off what my own body needs. Rest! Relaxation, sufficient sleep, spiritual nourishment, encouragement from those who speak life into my weary soul.

Since becoming a mother, rest and I have done our best to elude each other the majority of the time. I have spent a number of years failing to see the parallel between my children’s skewed view of rest and my own struggle. Only after recently wrapping up an especially busy season of life have I begun to get serious about implementing the discipline of rest that I’ve been ignoring.

I’ve always functioned on the philosophy that no one actually expects moms to rest. Every season of motherhood I’ve experienced so far has had a valid reason for me to not sit around when I might have a free minute. There’s always something to do, some reason to put off bedtime, some project that needs my attention. This lack of free time will not improve on its own. My kids won’t stop needing me, responsibilities won’t slow down, and chores and projects will always be there.

My old philosophy about not needing rest is validated by a culture that doesn’t value rest, but rather glorifies the sacrifice of sleep and valuable time spent relaxing with family.

As a believer, I fight against many cultural norms to stay in line with God’s plan for my life, but I know I’m not alone when I admit that I tend to embrace the “restless” part of culture. Even so, research is proving that humans need more rest.

Even further back than modern research, God proved the value of rest. In the very beginning, our Father taught this practice by example. He boldly and purposefully incorporated rest into His creation story.

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:2-3  

Then to make sure I don’t forget, He chose rest as one of the Ten Commandments. As much as I’ve tried to make rest an optional thing as a mom, I have come to accept that it’s not. If God gives us a command, He will provide a way for us to obey it.

I don’t have a fool-proof checklist that works for myself yet, let alone for everyone else, but I do know that obeying God’s command to rest is a discipline I want to instill into the hearts of my children, and, like it or not, good habits are taught best by example. My kids will only value rest if I prove that I value it, too.

So I’ve started a list of things to remember when I start getting too busy to rest. As short and simple as it is, it’s a start that is already bringing about noticeable positive changes in my life.

  1. I need to wind down after a busy day.
  2. I need sleep. Sure, there will be nights that it won’t work out the way that I want it to, but I must prioritize it more.
  3. I have to let go of some things in my life that seem crucial but really aren’t.

If you’ve been resisting God’s call to rest as well, won’t you consider joining me in obeying Him and finding a new kind of freedom?