living by heart 2016

Why We Don't Rest

Rest. I need it. You need it. We want it, even. But do we get enough?

I sure don’t. Not by a long shot.

And for most of the past nine or so months, I could blame my infant. Except now he’s sleeping through the night on the regular (knock on wood), so the person to blame for my lack of rest-getting?

Uh huh. It’s me.

I don’t know why I do this to myself — the late nights squandered on mindless television (hello, old episodes of America’s Next Top Model on Prime), planning on going to bed by 10 PM, only to gape in shock at the clock glowing the fact that it’s actually 11:49 PM back at me.

Oops, I say. I’ll do better tomorrow night.
And then don’t.
(Repeat ad nauseum, infinitum.)

Okay, I lied. I have an idea of why I do this to myself. It’s because I’m a mom, and I’m also a human who thrives on alone time, and those two facets of my life usually don’t blend together too well. I need my space, and I tend to take it come hell or high water, even if how I take it hurts me in both the long and short run.

And I don’t like laying my head down to sleep. I don’t like how I have to give up control every night, how I can’t just power through [anymore]. How arranging my body in my bed feels like a nightly practice for dying.

Mortality looms large for me these days. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom, anxious to keep myself well for the sake of my children, or because I’m comfortably into my mid-thirties, and old age (whatever that means) suddenly doesn’t feel that far off. But I don’t have time for rest, for dying. I’ve got things to do.

But I have to rest (dammit!). If I want to have even a prayer of keeping well, or of doing the things I both need and want to do in this life, I have to rest.

This year I’m trying to live by heart, and my heart is firm on what my brain (and my fear) doesn’t want to hear — rest is necessary. Rest is not optional. An early bedtime will feel great by the morning.

I have no answers, no nicely neat ending for this post, for this resistance. But I’m working on choosing the heart-nurturing thing.

What about you? How do you rest well (or not)? I'd love to leave your thoughts in the comments.


{Originally posted on Instagram.}