Present Over Perfect book club: Fake Resting

Present Over Perfect book club:  Fake Resting

‘How are you?’

‘I’m busy.’

I was busy for years and before I knew it I was real tired. In fact, I was exhausted. Real-exhausted.

I was working, the mother to two children, had a weekend volunteer position, a leader of mid-week meetings, family responsibilities, exercise and the list went on and on. By Sunday afternoon, my husband and I were real-tired.

We would crash in bed and sleep the afternoon away before the evening service at church, at which one of us would be ‘working’. Then, come Monday morning, we’d have the usual rush to get to school and work and the whole crazy week would begin again.

Misapprehensions can have devastating effects on how we live our lives. I recently apologised to my daughter for being too busy when she was younger. She was gracious and said, ‘But that was just how life was back in the day.’

I told her that some of that busyness was based on misapprehensions. There are some things that I thought were non-negotiable that I now question.

I’m making space by letting go of certain commitments, expectations, and roles in my life that may have been great at the time, but no longer fit who I am, or how I’m going to live my life from now on.

I’m making space to connect with people I was too busy to spend quality time with before. This is a challenge for me, as I need so much time to write, but without all the other activities that took me away from my core passions, it’s beginning to happen more often.

This question, more than any other in Present over Perfect resonated with me:

Do you know what it’s like to be rested? Truly rested? … do you know what it’s like to feel connected, in deep and lovely ways, to the people you love most?

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Real Resting is having people around who accept me and tell me that my mess is theirs’ and to whom I can say, ‘Your mess is mine’.

Real Resting is found in the knowledge that God’s first response is to rescue me, not tell me off for mucking up–again.

Real Resting is reclaiming the me I’m supposed to be, and not the me others expect, or decide I should be.

Real Resting is found in being vulnerable and soft and reclaiming a God-ward heart.

Real Resting is found in saying yes and no with more thought.

These words from Oceans, by Hillsong United have formed a backdrop to my life the last few months:

I will call upon Your Name

Keep my eyes above the waves

My soul will rest in Your embrace

I am Yours and You are mine

I’m learning not to fake-rest and fall into bed exhausted and depleted.

My life is more rested. There’s more space for what’s important.

There’s space for me to say yes to things because I’ve said no to some things.

I’m real-resting.

Question:

 Do you know what it’s like to be rested? Truly rested? … do you know what it’s like to feel connected, in deep and lovely ways, to the people you love most?

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10 Comments

  1. Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    This chapter and your thoughts totally resonated with me Elaine.

    I’m grateful that I read that you appologied to your daughter for being busy when she was growing up. This motivates me to slow down now in the hope I don’t need to apologise too. (Though I’m sure il have oleanrbof apologising to do anyway). I hate that I currently use any time where my girls are content to do do do. I want to sit with them, draw, paint, watch Dora and enjoy the moment.

    My fake resting was putting a movie on so my mind would numb and I could fall asleep. Feeling like I had to ‘earn my rest’ kept me in the productivity mouse wheel chasing elusive down time that never came. I never earnt it and was never enough.

    Even this month I have been conscious of that driving feeling that pushes me and instead of giving in and getting into tick box mode I have been stopping. Reading. Going to bed early. Borrowing a moving that I actually want to watch not fall asleep to. It’s been good for my soul to feel that I am worth rest.

    • Posted February 15, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Oh my goodness Carly, that last line of yours really got me: ‘It’s been good for my soul to feel that I am worth rest’.

      I work so hard to make sure my kids get enough sleep, and the required down time to help them function well, but me?!

      I want to get to the point where I can say that with you. Thanks so much for sharing.

      • Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:39 am | Permalink

        That’s an interesting thought. I wonder how different our lives would look if we parented ourselves with as much care as we do our children.

        I’m loving the reflections by you, Elaine and Amanda. I was so sad when I finished present over perfect finished. It felt like I had lost a good friend. Now the friendship continues. Orally reinforcing my Less, More Margin intention.

        Thank you all xxx

        • Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          So glad you are enjoying the book club, Carly. We’re enjoying your involvement. I’ve read the book three times now. The next one I’m looking at is Chasing Slow, by Erin Loechner.

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your story, Carly. It is hard to really rest.It’s been a long journey for me, and a lesson I’ve had to relearn at different stages of my life. It sounds like you’re putting good things in place to move towards resting well. 😄❤️

  2. Keryn
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    The answer to those questions is probably no. I’m not good at resting, in fact I am absolutely terrible at it. I’m a doer ten times over. I have been working on it though. Right now I am focusing on resting with my husband. And by this I mean not TV resting which is a trap for my husband and I. I don’t really rest, I vaguely watch and try to read articles on my phone whilst getting up and down ten times to put the kids back in bed or put the dishes away or take the bins out.

    We (that’s both of us, not just me anymore) now try to do all that needs doing, then sit down so the only interruption is the kids. We play Scrabble (I know, I know this isn’t resting for some but we love it!), have real conversations getting to connect and do a bible study together once a week. We do watch some TV but are very deliberate that it’s just two nights. We made a rule to go to bed at 9pm – no watching just one more episode – and take time to have a shower and chat in bed or read.

    This works for us so far. We do both have church commitments one night a fortnight but we keep it at that. I am hopeful that this will help me be more present with my kids in the day, knowing I will get a better rest in the evening. I wish I could connect more with my friends and extended family but am recognising that in this season my immediate family is most important. We are two weeks in and it feels good! Now to keep it up…

    • Posted February 15, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      I love the structure you have created Keryn to encourage rest in your family. We often think it should happen naturally, but in fact I find busy is my default, not rest. So a structure like that is worth gold.

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      TV is a trap isn’t it? It feels like resting, but it’s often just white noise.It sounds like you have quite a few strategies in place to move in the right direction. Well done! Different seasons have different priorities as well. Good habits will pay off in the long run. 😄❤️

  3. Posted February 15, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that question Elaine!

    Yes I have had times when I have been truly rested, but I feel they are too far away for them to be remembered clearly, and definitely too far away for any impact on my life now.

    There is always something to do. As I type this I am aware of the dishes in the sink, and the lunches to be made, and the rereading for my next post on this book, etc!

    I am such a good fake-rester. It is a real challenge for me to actually allow myself genuine rest.

    Thanks for issuing the challenge I need to hear once again xx

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      There’s always more to do. I actually feel I can rest when the dishes are cleared away and my jobs are done. I used to do them at night to make the mornings less rushed and put myself to bed earlier if I could. I’m able to rest much better now, but my children are grown up! I still have to work on it though. ❤️

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