The kids lie in bed as I stand in the middle of the room, arms crossed, regurgitating the usual bedtime prayer. I pay God lip service while my heart is like coal, dead and dark, thanking Him though the words come out strained through clenched teeth. I’m desperate and angry for help, feeling entitled to better days, for the seas to part so I can have my way.
I rush through kisses and I love yous, and my good night barely slips through the door I’m already closing behind me.
I’m done. Tired. All I want to do is close my eyes and stop time to sleep for as long as I want, but work is standing in front of me, to-do list in hand, bossing me to get things done. Rest seems so far away.
I plop down at my desk and tap the black screen awake. Ten tabs await me, but my hand automatically reaches for my phone and opens up Instagram. I scroll mindlessly, tapping through people’s stories because what better time to do that than when I need to meet deadlines?
My procrastination exacerbates the mild anxiety rising in my heart, but I blame everything else for my exhaustion. The kids. My schedule. Housework. That time of the month. I play victim when I’ve chosen this for myself. I’ve chosen not to have rhythms of rest, not to take a Sabbath. I haven’t ceased from working, from scrolling, from producing, and I become the worst version of myself because of it.
I get cranky and angry, feeling fully justified to do so. I call binging on Netflix or treating myself to sugary coffee drinks self-care, but I’m not actually resting. I’m only taking a break and indulging. If I’m honest enough, it feels more comfortable to stay busy building up my life — my writing, my family, my good deeds for the approval of others — instead of having boundaries, saying no, and trusting God.
My shoulders are knotted, and my soul lacks peace. I long for rest when rest is what I’m already offered. Not one day when the work stops or when the deadlines are done or when mothering seems less tiring. Rest is a reality I can enjoy today when I remember to keep the Sabbath holy.
This past Sunday, I heard the faint voice of rest beckoning me again, telling me it’s time to slow down, to stop my uncontrolled patterns of busyness, and to center myself back to Christ. A weekly Sabbath is meant to be a preview of what’s been promised to come in full one day — true and complete rest.
I close my eyes and I can almost see it, the new heavens and the new earth — a place where every man and woman, every beast and living thing know peace and are whole. But the vision of the future becomes blurry when I succumb to life’s incessant expectations and get lost in the story of more — be more, have more, do more. Instead of resting in my identity as one beloved by God, I become fretful, looking for worth in what I can build with my own hands only to have it crush me with its never-satisfied demands. But rest is within my reach if I will choose it.
So in the hush of the night while everyone else in the house sleeps, I put down my phone, take deep breaths, and I just am — quiet, fully human, and fully beloved.
Perhaps the sweet voice of rest is calling you, too. Be still and listen. We can look forward to the day when we will experience true and complete rest, but we can create space to experience it now. We can schedule fewer events on the calendar. We can practice prayer and meditate on the Word to feed our souls. We can choose to expect less from our day and from the people around us, so our posture is grateful instead of entitled. We can choose to Sabbath and rest today even as we long for the eternal Sabbath to come.