Taking a vacation from work is usually jammed packed with activities I plan for us as a family, but my recent vacation days were without the girls and without the busyness of a full house. In a day and a half, I had all my ‘to-do’s’ done and end up lost on what to do next. So, I called my mom and sister to see what they were up to, hoping for an “oh that’s a good idea” moment. My mom said, “put your feet up, relax, and watch a movie” – my sister said, “Ha, mom, you’re talking to Tiffany, she doesn’t do that.”
Wow, she’s right, I don’t! My personality has me continually striving and not looking for any kind of rest. I’m always looking for the next thing to do, the next thing to clean, the next thing to learn, the best way to help and teach my girls, how I can love my husband better… the hunt for what’s next leaves not much room for rest, physically or mentally.
I would never have classified myself as a perfectionist because I don’t think I need things perfect, I just need them organized – but in reading Healing for the broken Emotions, I fit every characteristic of a perfectionist. Eek! When I don’t follow through on a new thing I’ve learned or see myself fall short in any area, it’s heartbreaking for me. For my perfectionist and forward focus tendencies, I need to find rest, successful soul rest!
God works in some surprising ways, I’ve been wondering, praying and searching for how to find relief from stress. I came across a verse I’ve read a bunch, but didn’t receive it till today: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30) It came at a moment I needed and could receive the message. Typically, at the end of the day when all my chores are done I sit in front of the TV with a glass of wine – Cuz that’s easy and feels relaxing at the moment. But the next day I wake up with the same hustle and nonpeaceful feelings, TV isn’t the answer, I need to find a more fruitful relaxation, a soul refresh – we all do!
If you’ve read my other blog posts, I’ve shared that I like order, structure, and control. It’s crazy how my personality of being driven by duties and providing for my family can easily lead me down the path of perfection and striving. Looking at my gifts, I love the way God created me, but what I’m doing with my gift is trying to take on the burden and pressure all alone, I’m striving for perfection and leaving Him out of the mix. By leaning on God in the stress of life or the things leaving me feeling weary, I can utilize my gifts and find rest as I let go of all the pressure and control in situations.
God tells us to “come to Him, all who labor and are heavy laden, He will give me rest.” He’s giving us a reminder that we need to trust Him and not do it all on our own. He doesn’t want us weary and stressed, He doesn’t want us doing everything on our own – His Yoke is easy – not stressful. We can learn from Him how to be gentle, quiet and relaxed as we use the blessings He’s given us. They must coexist, we can’t fully use our “superpowers” unless we are in Him.
He is saying, ‘when you’re tired and feeling run down, come to me in prayer, read my word because within it you will find strength, courage, wisdom – you will see that you can lean on me, see your purpose more clearly and take stress off because you’re not alone, I’ve got it under control’. He wants us to find the peace in folding laundry, raising our children, cleaning our house… by seeing that He is there with us, to teach us and help us take on any challenge that comes our way.
Turning to TV is way more comfortable when I’m feeling run down, but that’s only because I haven’t put on the yoke with God before, I’ve just been trying to carry the cart/our world all on our own. The only way to ensure I turn to Him instead of TV is to repeat this verse in my head and remember that in Him I find rest, not on Netflix.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love my Netflix, but my rest isn’t found there.