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074: Add Rest to Your Holiday To Do List

This is episode 074, and today we’re talking about rest during the busy holiday season. Three big holidays are coming, jammed into an already busy work-ministry-family schedule. The dots on my Google calendar are multiplying like a mogwai when he gets wet (pre-gremlin stage). But this year I want to remember one big lesson from last year about the most important thing that usually gets left off the to do list—rest! 

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Hi friends! This is Self Care and Soul Care for the Caregiver, and I’m one of your cohosts, Sandra Peoples. This is episode 074, and today we’re talking about rest during the busy holiday season. Three big holidays are coming, jammed into an already busy work-ministry-family schedule. The dots on my Google calendar are multiplying like a mogwai when he gets wet (pre-gremlin stage). But this year I want to remember one big lesson from last year about the most important thing that usually gets left off the to do list—rest! 

How did I learn this important lesson last year? Well, like so many others, we had covid. It came at the worst time for our family—right before Christmas. As it made its way through our family and we started recovering, I woke up each day feeling well rested, especially knowing the expectations of the day would be low. I could move through what had to get done slowly and deliberately, drawing strength from the rest I was getting and from God who supplied all our needs during that time. My priorities were just to help us all feel better keep away from others so we wouldn’t spread our germs. 

When we got the all clear, I had a decision to make. Would I go back to hustling, to feel responsible for all the Christmas plans I had? Or would I remind myself and my family of the importance of continued rest as we celebrated our Savior’s birth?

What would that Savior want me to do? God Himself who put on flesh, who chose to be bound by what human bodies can and can’t do. Who entered a world of exhaustion and sickness.  What lessons did He teach on rest? What can we learn from His example? I found three important lessons that I’m applying to this season as well.

First, Jesus often got away to rest. Matthew 14 describes an especially busy day for Jesus. He had gotten word that John the Baptist had been killed. John had opened the hearts of those who would follow Jesus with his calls to repentance. He had baptized Jesus. His death would have been a huge sadness to Jesus. Verse 13 says, “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself.” He sought out rest because of the heavy emotional weight he was under. We can learn from his example that it isn’t just physical exhaustion that requires us to rest, but it’s emotional too. Be kind to yourself when your emotions are big. If you want to hear more about how to do this, Episode #24 024: Letting Yourself Feel All the Feels

 was on big emotions and how to talk to God when we feel scared or sad. We looked at the examples of Job, David in the Psalms, and Jeremiah, and we found that God wants us to bring our big feelings to him. Jesus himself would have had big feelings about the death of John the Baptist, and he got away by himself to spend time with His Father. We can do the same.

But that wasn’t the end of Jesus’s day. When came ashore, he was met by crowds begging for healing. So he felt some big feelings, spent time with His father, and then had people lined up asking him to do what they wanted from him. Have you had days like that? I can think of times I had a few minutes by myself in the bathroom, but then was interrupted by knocking or requests at the door. Friends, my reaction isn’t always what Jesus’s reaction was to the large crowd demanding things from him. He had compassion on them and fed them—all 5,000 men plus the women and children. He was able to meet their physical needs because he had rested and spent time with His Father. 

I wonder what it was like to touch hurting person after hurting person. I’m an introvert who isn’t very touchy-feely. But my son James is a sensory seeker to loves to sit close. He also needs me to physically meet his needs because there’s a lot he can’t do yet! He can’t get his own drinks, make his own meals, wash his own hair, or even dry himself off after a bath. It can take a lot of out my physically as I care for him. So when I read about this day in Jesus’s life, I’m reminded how He can empathize with my struggles and how I can again learn from his example and draw strength from him. 

We continue to read in verse 23, “he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.” After meeting the physical needs of others, he rested again. He got away to pray. This time he was physically restored through that rest. Surly that was enough for one day, right? Enough big emotions and physical exhaustion? Let’s see what happened next for Jesus. After his time alone, it was time to join His disciples again. But they were on a boat, a long way from land the Bible says, and the wind was strong against them. Jesus walked out onto the sea to join the disciples in as the wind and waves battered against their boat. You may remember what comes next—Peter wanted to walk on the water to Jesus. And he got out of the boat but then needed Jesus to pull him out of the water when he started to sink. And that leads me to my last point I want you to remember—you don’t have to do all this in your own strength. Jesus is there to reach out his hand and help you.    

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

What are the qualifications for Jesus’s call here? The invitation is to those who are weary and burdened. Your burden qualifies you. Your exhaustion. Isn’t that good news as we limp toward the end of the year? You can come as you are and find rest for your soul.

Dane Ortland in his book Gentle and Lowly says, “[Jesus] doesn’t simply meet us at our place of need; he lives in our place of need.” He lives there and He shows us how to live there as well. We learned that today as we looked at his examples of rest and at his invitation to rest. 

Let’s get practical in our last minutes together. So what are the practical ways I’m going to focus on rest in 2021? What are the in-real-life ways I’m going to apply what Jesus is teaching me?

1. I’m going to take care of my physical health. Having covid reminded me how easy it is to get sick, especially when we’re exhausted. So I’m going to get as much sleep as I can, take my vitamins, eat foods that help me feel good, and meet my step count goal. I may not check all of them off every day, but any steps I can take toward caring for my body are helpful.  

2. I’m going to honor the Sabbath rhythm. I talk about My view on Sabbath in episode 55, 055: Celebrating the Sabbath as Abiding Caregivers

It may be a little different from what you’ve heard before, mainly because we are special-needs moms who can’t really take a day off from everything we do. But we can follow the spirit of the day with rest and things that bring us joy. 

3. I’m not going to feel guilty about getting away for rest and prayer. As I mentioned, I’m an introvert with a tendency to be easily overwhelmed by people and by sensory input. With all the time we were together this year, I learned a lot about my limitations and needs. I had to get better at communicating those with my husband so he could help me make times of rest and prayer happen. I plan to keep that up in the new year. 

I hope you’ll consider resting more in the remaining months of 2021. Schedule it on your calendar if you need to! Block out time to take care of yourself and get rest. Follow Christ’s example and remember His promises. 

Let’s pray together: God, You are infinite—you never sleep, grow weary, or feel overwhelmed. We. of course, do all three. And it is by your good design that our bodies have limits. Those limits help us care for ourselves and ask for your help. As we get closer to the holiday season, we want to remember Christ’s words, that when we are weary or burdened, He will give us rest. We want to follow the example He set for us while on earth of meeting needs and also resting and praying. Help us abide in You so we can also rest in You. In Jesus’s name, amen. 

As we wrap up our time together friends, I want to invite you to leave a 5 star rating or a review for this podcast! Lauren and I are having so much fun creating content that we hope is a blessing to you. And we want to be able to support and bless even more caregivers. When you leave a rating or review, and when you share the podcast with others, you are inviting them into this space with us and sharing something that’s valuable to you. Thank you for doing that! 

We’ll meet you back here next week with an episode with Lauren and me together! Between now and then, make sure you’re in our Abiding Caregiver Facebook group so we can encourage you in your calling each day!   

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