Over the May long weekend, I took time to rest and recharge. I made three things my priorities: sleeping in, eating fun food and reading. I ended up writing quite a bit too, being under a self-imposed deadline for my spiritual memoir and having a film review due. After the first day of leisure, I found lots of energy to write, which felt more like relaxing and less like work.
We all need to rest. I am a much happier person since my fabulous pastor encouraged his congregation to take a weekly sabbath. It doesn't have to be Sunday, but it seemed like a good choice for me, so I began to take a technology break on that day and make an afternoon nap priority one.
I charge my cell phone every day, but I think nothing of running on fumes until I'm depleted physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I should pay closer attention to the warning signs that my battery is low the way my phone alerts me so I can charge it before it dies. I'm certain there is a metaphor in here somewhere.
I will battle with feelings of worthlessness when I relax until the day I die. These emotions are rooted in my childhood, where to be idle meant you were not safe in your own home. I was perpetually on guard; watching for things to go off the rails and doing what I could to make it easier for everyone when a crisis came. I felt valuable when I worked hard to be necessary to others. Leisure did not have a chance to enter into it.
I am unbelievably grateful that I have better skills now. I have wrestled with the value question and slowly come to understand that my value lives in my identity and not my performance, which means that I am worth the same if I am resting or achieving.
This was not an easy idea to accept because it is the opposite of what I learned for my whole life up to this point. But it's the only understanding that makes any damn sense and offers any peace to my exhausted soul.
I cried a lot this past weekend. Part of it was re-reading John Green's most excellent teen cancer novel The Fault in our Stars, but another part was sheer relief that I have finally extended loving permission to myself to relax.
I have so much to be grateful for, but when I'm always running, my blessings are like a blur out of the corner of my eye. It's important to stop and really notice what is working well in our lives. To cherish ourselves enough to sleep, read, eat and enjoy this one precious, beautiful and irreplaceable life we have been given.