Learning to Relax


At some point during my transition into adulthood, I forgot how to relax.  I don't mean the type of relaxing high pressure situations require--I mean relaxing as in resting, slowing down, taking a long sip from the Lord's cup and settling in for an undetermined period of time to just be. To do nothing but be thankful for the time to do so.

I used to take pride in how many things I could juggle--how many clubs I could not only join but lead, how far I could push myself daily in each workout or practice,  how well I could still do on a test or work assignment after a week full of meetings. As I got older, I set goals but found little satisfaction in accomplishing them because there were always more to check off the list.  It was always on to the next thing--I was never done. 

Marriage has really highlighted this ugly cycle of mine.  When I lived alone for two years after college, no one told me to "Just sit down for a minute," something I now hear from my husband often. I spent my lunch breaks racing through the grocery store so I could cook dinner right after work. Break time didn't mean a break from work, it just meant shifting from one type of task to another.  When I finished cleaning the house, I started over because there was already dog hair on the floor again. Sleeping in on Saturdays was a waste of time because it was my only full day to GET THINGS DONE. I can't tell you how many times I've heard myself say, "But we need to get things done," to Daniel since we've been married--the motto I'd been living by in my independence for so long sounds so crazy when I hear myself demand it of someone I love every day.  I don't know how he puts up with me.

Buying a house while preparing for baby hasn't really pushed me in the direction of being able to just sit around, unfortunately.  But I'm trying really hard to be okay when we end up watching Netflix all evening instead of painting.  Or, better yet, when we end up just sitting on the couch talking while I press Daniel's hand against my belly so he can feel how crazy Edie's kicks are getting. We did that last night, and it was actually really wonderful.

I've been feeling really convicted lately about my refusal to slow down.  Daniel and I will never get this time back--soon the days of just the two of us will be in the past.  And I can feel the need for my own personal health to learn the art of resting--it's all over Scripture.  I don't think God just threw the idea of finding rest for our souls in there for the heck of it--I must be missing something.

I was naming off another to-do list last night when Daniel said something like, "I feel like we aren't living, like every day is the same and we go to bed and wake up and do it all over again." I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach.  I know he didn't say it to hurt me--he said it because it's true.  

So I woke up this morning and decided to let myself just be alive today--no real agenda.  I stayed in bed a little later and when I came back from my run, I noticed that the neighborhood pool was empty (probably because it was only 75 degrees out), so I hurried home, threw on my swimsuit (I haven't gotten a maternity one yet so I'm sorry to all of the lovely people who drove by and saw this prego momma in a bikini! haha) and jumped into the freezing cold water before I could talk myself out of it.  I spent many summer hours swimming and laying out by the neighborhood pool growing up, and when I look back and try to remember a time when I knew how to stop thinking for a bit and just be--those are the days I return to.  And reliving them this morning did not disappoint.


And when I got home, the new issue of Kinfolk was waiting for me on our doorstep. I think I'll let the floor stay dirty today.

-J