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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Rest for the Weary

1 Week Old
I've been learning from my baby again.  Jonah has had many different sleeping patterns already in his short little 13 month lifetime.  As an infant he slept often throughout the day.  We tried to follow the "Babywise" plan as closely as possible, and he liked his little incline rocker bed and slept pretty well.
About 3 Weeks

Transitioning to the crib was a huge ordeal and he did not like it at all.  We then began a phase of giving him a bottle and rocking him to sleep, then laying him in the crib on his belly.  Most recently, he squirms and wiggles and won't just relax and be rocked, so we lay him in the crib and then sit on our bed (which is right next to the crib - the joy of being a House Parent and sharing a room with your child) until he falls asleep.  He sometimes cries and looks up at us and we say "Nite nite. Shhhh!"  He then goes to sleep, happy as long as he thinks we are there with him.
Sometimes he naps with Daddy

Long car rides put him to sleep, too.
Before he falls asleep though, he clearly lets us know that he is tired.  He rubs his eyes with his little fists.  He cries for no apparent reason.  He wants to be held (for this little active, self-driven, independent boy, wanting to be held is rare). He goes from this happy little guy:

To this very angry, upset whiner:

 If I am busy trying to get his bottle ready, he follows me around the kitchen crying and trying to catch my legs.  When he succeeds at catching me, he holds on tightly then arches his back and looks up at me, loudly wailing.  It's like he's trying to say, "Mommy! I'm so freakin' tired! Put me to bed already! I can't get in there by myself!" Poor little man.  Sometimes I am kind and rely on the Holy Spirit, and respond with quiet, calm words, "It's okay, baby.  I'm sorry it's not ready yet.  Just a minute." Other times I am all too human and my answer is irritated, "Hush! I know you're tired! I'm trying to get your bottle ready! Chill out!"  Neither answer seems to help him, but I feel like a better mommy when I stay calm.

Then as I hold him and give him the bottle, I take deep breaths and enjoy looking at how beautifully God created him, and I pray about different things.

It was during one of those quiet moments of enjoying my baby, and thanking my Creator for him, that I was led to think of this verse:
joshuarice @ tumblr
I realized God wants us to come to Him when we are tired, too.  When we are not just tired, but weary. Weary means to me the kind of mental and physical exhaustion that seems to settle down in your bones and you can't shake off.  Weary seems like the front hallway of a house called called depression and anxiety.  The longer you hang out in a weary hallway, the more likely you are to end up inside the depressed, anxious house.  I thought about how to leave weary.  

It starts with turning to Jesus.  However, when we come to Him weary, he never gets frustrated or answers harshly.  Instead, He only wants to hold us, to help us, to give us the rest we need.  I began to think of how I like to rest.  I love sleeping in our Tempur-pedic bed.  However, rest doesn't always look like sleep for us.  Rest for adults sometimes looks like a Saturday with no plans at all.  Sometimes it looks like a bubble bath, or a long walk by myself or with a friend.  Sometimes I find rest on a long run, or in a good conversation or letter with a friend. Rest from the Lord sometimes comes in the form of retreats. It can also be found in breaks from work where you really take time off from your job and don't answer the phone or e-mails related to your job (I look forward to those very much).

Then I looked up the context for the verse and found this in the New Living Translation:

I found this even more encouraging because it is saying that we don't have to always create our rest.  Simply by finding our identity in who Christ is, and what He has already done for us, letting him teach us, should provide some rest for our weary souls.  Letting the Holy Spirit lead us provides a measure of rest, because when we chase after God instead of the world, we find peace and joy, and rest in our soul, not just our body. You see, most of those things I listed above give our bodies time to rest, to recover, to recharge, but God is more interested in our soul.  I'm not saying that we don't need physical rest, oh no, sleep and rest are very necessary for health. I am saying that I believe God is infinitely more concerned with the state of our soul than the temple in which it resides. 

We don't get many breaks from our job.  Some days it's very hard to make the time to take a quick shower, let alone a bubble bath.  Verse 29 is telling me that shouldn't always matter.  I don't have to create my restful situation.  The more I remember to rely on God, let Him speak to me through his word, let Him teach me through the quiet moments, the more my soul will find the rest it needs for the moment, until I am able to get to that restful situation my body needs later.  
Jesus says "Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart." 
He is saying, "Let me help you carry that yoke, stop doing it all alone."

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