I do not think it means what you think it means.
I have been notoriously bad at committing to rest days. In fact, as I went to write this yesterday, on a rest day from exercise, I did a search of my own historic blog entries and found this sentiment repeatedly.
Yesterday became a rest day not only from exercise, but the blog, podcast and, incidentally, Story Time Sunday – a live video event I have shared consistently every Sunday evening – with personal stories, readings from books, musical moments and interviews with kiddos – since February. I’ve completed them late at night, already in pajamas with minimal preparation and early in the evening, having rehearsed the music and message in advance.
Not yesterday. And I didn’t realize it until just now, as I prepared my schedule for the day and the week and noted the segment on my calendar from yesterday that had gone unattended. I had the immediate dread of a missed assignment – flashbacks to school days and Monday morning mess-ups.
My mind went immediately to justification – I had more evening appointments than I normally would on a Sunday; because of the holiday weekend it didn’t seem very Sunday-like; I didn’t check my calendar before bed like I normally would. I had thoughts that left me feeling bad and then other thoughts of wondering if anyone even noticed.
I enjoy sharing the stories and there have been varying degrees of audience. Interestingly, I the episode last week, I declared an intention to be more directive and preparatory, making advanced invitations and designating a specific time for the event to allow people the opportunity to plan and to keep myself accountable to the process. And yet, this was the first week I omitted it entirely!
I started to consider the make-up plan, how to craft creatively a Monday version and atone for the oversight. That seemed less helpful, so I got to writing here instead, to process my thoughts, and because daily blog for July is an intention I have set.
If you’ve ever set a resolution and given up because you messed it up on the first day – I see you. If you’ve ever thought you were going to level-up and tracked back a few steps instead – I’m with you. If you’ve ever thought (or hoped!) Monday was Sunday – I feel you.
What if those pauses and hiccups are leading us right where we need to be?
I’m learning to broaden my understanding of a rest day for all that it can bring. To listen when space opens up around tasks and embrace the opportunity that arises – to do less, to do another thing differently, to reinforce my commitment and to reframe the process.
Instead of picturing rest as time wasted in inactivity, envisioning all that I COULD have done – I will consider these options of what that word could mean:
cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength
an object that is used to support something
place hope, trust, or confidence on or in
From these, I see that the omissions are only failures if I think them to be. That actually resting from all the things is more effective use of the day. That rest can bring me new strength. That rest supports my work. That rest can build on my confidence in myself rather than deplete it.
May we see rest as a place from which we can proceed with clearer vision and purpose, refreshed by the pause and reengaged with our thoughts.