Trying to be a “rester”

It is a Sunday.  The majority of society in my neck of the woods would say that Sunday is theoretically the most restful day.    And this is despite the secularism, consumerism and other isms that may suggest otherwise.

Sundays have never been a “day of rest” for me.  In my family, we went to church on Saturday nights.  Sunday was more of a go for a drive, maybe out to lunch type of day.  When I got a bit older, it was my cadet band and drill team practice day.  In University, it has been my church/volunteer/various practice/homework/try to fit in some sort of rest if possible day.  I guess Sunday was never a designated day of rest for me.  It has been more of another day to get things done and go to church (often teaching Sunday school/nursery and leading worship along the way).  My mother has always been an adamant hater of Sunday shopping.  She worked retail and felt that nobody should be required to work on Sundays.  I never went to stores on Sundays unless it was a quintessential emergency.  She believed that people should get a break at some point.  Not on religious grounds or tradition grounds.  Just based on good common sense.  But that didn’t mean I couldn’t do homework or volunteer or do whatever else.  Just no shopping.

I am generally not a good rester (here I go making up words again).  I just can’t relax for prolonged periods of time without getting concerned about what I am not getting done.  Patrick says that he can see my mind turning even when I am just sitting.  I get agitated when I “waste” a day being sick or sleeping in or watching too much TV.  I think there is just so much I can be doing.  I rationalize all of my worry and lack of relaxation with statements saying that it is biblical to work hard.  These are general countered by comments that it is also biblical to take a day of rest.  Medical school doesn’t give you time to rest.  It is a struggle to keep up with the work demands, the call schedule, the studying and now the interview planning/scheduling along with volunteer work, friends and family.  It is a lot to juggle.  They should give you a manual on admission.  And warn you that sleep deprivation is a requirement.  If I was able, I am sure I go 24 hours a day and still have things I would want to do (though I would likely be a straight A student).

Patrick is a firm believer in resting and relaxing.  He stays up later than me (partly because he is just a night owl and partly because that is his wind-down time).  He makes me relax.  Or at least he tries valiantly.  He could write a book on surviving medical school as a spouse.  He does things like tell me that it is a good night for a bath when I come home from a 12 hour OR day.  He watches episode after episode of The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother with me after I got yelled at and am overtired post-call.  He steals books from me and convinces me that it would be more relaxing to eat out even though it will take more time.  I am fairly certain without him, I would be a crazy person.

In my devotions this week and in Sunday school, we looked at Genesis 1 and 2 (and other passages).  The classic passage where God rested on the 7th day.  Though this wasn’t a hot topic, it got me thinking.  No matter whether you believe in the actual timeline or some sort of figurative representation, God rested.  GOD RESTED.  God.  He has all of the time in the world, quite literally, in His hands.  And He took a break.  He has tons to do, all of the time.  And He still took a break.  I am not God and I don’t have nearly as much to do (especially while doing Lab Medicine), but nonetheless, here I am thinking I am too busy to take a break.  To just read a fun book or nap with my husband.  Who am I to decide that?

On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.  Genesis 2:2

I know a few people who always take a Sabbath.  By Sabbath, I mean that they take a day.  Any day and rest.  They don’t do homework or anything that is work-work.  They relax and do things they enjoy.  It is a time to revitalize.  Some of those people take time to spend with God.  One of them doesn’t believe in God, so that isn’t something she would do.  But they all take time to care for themselves and be with people they love.  To rest.  They say it actually makes them more productive the other 6 days of the week.

Some Sundays for me are workdays.  People just don’t stop getting sick because it is a Sunday.  Some Sundays are ministry/volunteer days… I lead worship or teach nursery, so you kind of have to do “work”.  I enjoy these types of work.  I would still consider Sundays with a little bit of worship leading a break and a Sabbath.  Maybe a full 24 hour call not so much.  Sometimes scheduling does not allow for a full day off.  But it might allow for a night or a morning off.  To spend not being busy with something.

I find myself “spiraling” (Patrick references this term from the TV show Chuck, in which it describes a freak-out of sorts) these days trying to deal with CaRMS interviews and scheduling and the prospect of my future career in addition to all of the normal work.  I lost a piece of my day today to this “spiraling” only to realize that I need some time off.  To relax and revitalize.  The scheduling will still be there tomorrow.  The studying will still be there.  There is nothing due in the next day.  I can take a break.  Slow down.  Stop spiraling and take a Sabbath.

If God can take a break, then so can I.

For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.   Hebrews 4:10

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4 thoughts on “Trying to be a “rester”

  1. Thought provoking post. Like you, I have difficulty just resting. As soon as I sit down, I think of something I need to do. One of my goals for the winter was to focus on this more because summers are too crazy to try it. So far I have read one book (yay!) and it is only January 8! I am hoping I continue to take the time.

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