Time Out

My husband’s birthday fell on a Saturday this year. Friday night we celebrated as a family. The kids helped me cook one of my husband’s favorite meals. We ate dinner, had dessert and opened presents. The following day my in-laws took the kids for a sleep over so my husband I could spend some time together. What a treat! We did a little shopping, went out to dinner, and slept late the next morning. Sunday evening came quickly and it was time to pick the kids up and bring them home. After dinner and a bath we put them in pajamas, loaded them in the car and set out on our 50 minute drive home. The kids were wiped out and fell asleep almost immediately. As uncomfortable as they looked, with their heads hanging off to the sides and mouths wide open, they were at peace sleeping. No worries or cares, they completely trusted us to take care of them, keep them safe and get them home. I, on the other hand, as tired as I felt (thank you daylight savings time), could not let myself doze off. My husband was driving so I could have slept if I wanted too, however, I did not. I typically stay awake on long car drives for many reasons. I stay awake just in case my husband is sleepy and needs me to talk to him. Sometimes, I stay awake because I think I might miss a potential opportunity to have a conversion with my husband without being interrupted by the kids.
Mainly I stay awake because I think I need to exercise some sort of control.
While watching my children sleep a scripture, Psalm 4:8, came to mind. It says “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” I often pray this verse with Ava and Eliana before bed so I thought it was fitting to be reminded of it at this moment. However, I felt as though this was more than just a sweet moment to be savored especially in contrast to my resistance to nod off.
When I got the chance I looked up the passage. While doing so my eyes wandered to a similar neighboring passage in the chapter before, Psalm 3:5 which says “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.” I began to wonder why sleep was worth repeating on the same page or brought to my attention for that matter. I started to read in and around the verse and it turns out when David penned this he was not in a happy place (see 2 Samuel 15). He had been driven out from his palace, the royal and holy city, by his rebellious son Absalom. Who knows where David was sleeping at the time. I am sure it was a far cry from what he was used to. This psalm written by David shows us the peace and security he felt in the hands of the Almighty God despite his circumstances.
Back to Psalm 4:8, this particular passage does not seem to be written on a particular occasion but rather like many other psalms, it may have been written as a song of praise or even a simple devotion.
God began to show me that while I do not have trouble sleeping (at least nothing that a good book before bed can’t remedy) I do have a trouble resting. There are a couple reasons why rest is so important to us. Physically we need it. In today’s society we are on full throttle and at time lack the discipline to pace ourselves. I have been guilty numerous times of going Mach Ten Monday, Tuesday, Wed and then crashing on Thursday evening, getting frustrated with myself my kids and my husband. I am simply burnt out. Taking time to rest on a daily basis is important. I am working on that, pacing myself throughout the day and week. Gone are the days of leisurely afternoon naps but I can certainly take time everyday to play with my children even if there is a sink full of dishes. The lesson goes much further than that. The area where I really lack the ability or should I say the discipline to rest is on the Sabbath. No matter what day of the week you observe it, the Sabbath is meant to be a day of rest, a day to stop doing what you do all the time!
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” (Exodus 20:8) Keeping the Sabbath holy simply means to set it aside, make it different that all the others. For someone like me that is addicted to and at times foolishly get my self-worth from my “to-do” list this is incredibly hard. Sometimes I forget it’s a command, yep, it’s a part of the Big Ten, right up there with lying, stealing, and murder. Even God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2).
Resting on the Sabbath not only is beneficial for us physically but represents giving up control, trusting and relying on God. My “to- do” list will still be there Monday, if anything I will have more energy and fervor to tackle that list after having taken a break. If David can sleep despite the turmoil he experienced I can certainly set a day aside to rest, sow into the life of my children and obey God on the Sabbath.