If You Get Tired, Learn To Rest, Not To Quit

I fell asleep recently while sitting on the couch watching ESPN's Sportscenter.  

One moment, I was happily getting recaps on all of the day's sporting news, and the next, I awakened to find my youngest son sitting next to me on the couch, playing video games. 

"You were snoring," he told me. 

I asked him how long he'd been home from school, and he replied that he'd been home for an hour, gotten a snack, and started playing video games while I slept. 

Also, my legs didn't want to work, and making them took me a bit.  

After I shared the story with a friend and made some self-critical comments about how I'd wasted so much time, they declared I obviously needed the rest and not to beat myself up.  

I'm an Enneagram type 3, which means I am highly task-oriented and focused on ensuring that I appear confident and remain productive even when I'm not feeling either. 

So, back to the whole nap thing.  Who beats themselves up for taking a nap when they are tired?  I can't be the only one, though.  Still, there's something inherently off about feeling guilty for self-care, don't you think?

Yet, so many of us do this to ourselves.  We run ragged, stretched too thin, overscheduled to the gills, and then wonder why we feel tired, stressed, and anxious.  

And the moments when we do decide to take care of ourselves, rest, recharge, and the like, we feel guilty and selfish. 

I read a wonderful quote from Melody Beattie the other day, and it fits this perfectly: 

Self-care means learning to love the person we're responsible for taking care of---ourselves.  We do not do this to hibernate in a cocoon of isolation and self-indulgence; we do it so we can better love others, and learn to let them love us.  Self-care isn't selfish; it's self-esteem. 

If you struggle with self-care and self-esteem because you feel guilty when you take care of yourself, you need to hear this: 

The best way to show love and affection for the people in your life is to care for yourself.  Only then will you be able to give more fully to the relationships in your life. 

Listen, if Jesus had the inner strength to know when he needed to take a break, spend some time alone in prayer, or rest, then indeed we can, too.  

If there was anyone in history who I'm sure wanted to make the most of every day, it was Jesus.  But he knew he would struggle if he didn't care for himself in mind, body, and spirit.  

He often took refuge in the wilderness hills above the Sea of Galilee, which the Scripture called eremos topos or "a solitary place."  

I'm learning that there are many ways to find "solitary" places to rest and recharge myself.   

Sometimes, it's a quick nap on the couch or quiet time in a cozy reading place.  Other times, it's doing things I love, like attending a concert or visiting an art gallery.  It can also be birria tacos at a favorite food truck or a few pints of good beer with friends. 

Or a road trip.  I love road trips.  

I burned myself out during the pandemic, and I never want that to happen again, so I have to learn how to treat myself gently and gracefully when I drift off on the couch. 

Find your own solitary places today, and let yourself sink into them.   

Discover that self-care is one of the most vital and life-giving gifts you can give to God.  May it be so. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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