Today I don’t have as much energy as I usually do. It’s taken me many years to accept that days like this are okay. We are embodied beings and sometimes our bodies get tired, achy, and weary and normally these are clear signs that we need to take some time to rest and recuperate.
But we live in a society which reveres constant busyness and productivity. A full diary is something to be proud of. When we tell people that things are so busy that we just don’t have a minute, then if we are being honest, there is part of us that feels good about this, because it makes us feel important, it proves that our lives matter and that we are needed.
But some days we just don’t have the energy to do as much or achieve as much as we would like. Perhaps we should embrace these days as a welcome gift rather than an inconvenience. On such days may we do what needs to be done, but not any extra. Let us listen to our body and sit down on the sofa, make that cup of tea, read that book, watch some TV, or just close our eyes and take a nap.
God created us and loves us whether we are busy or resting. I only have to remember the deep feeling of contentment I experienced as a mother checking on my children when they were fast asleep. It was such a relief to see them in a deep sleep, especially if they had been irritable and restless earlier. There was something ‘holy’ about watching them sleep soundly in the warmth and comfort of their beds.
I also remember the pleasure of seeing my children curled up on the sofa, with their blanket, watching one of their favourite Disney films. It was a joy to see them lost in the storyline, their rested bodies releasing their imaginations to soar into new and exciting worlds and possibilities.
If I as a parent felt such pleasure and contentment in seeing my own children rest and relax, then how much more pleasure and contentment God must feel when we as adults listen to our bodies and allow ourselves times of rest and relaxation. This was brought home to me in a special way recently as I baptized a baby boy in church. As I wetted his head with the water and as we sang the blessing to him, he fell fast asleep and I had the deep privilege of holding him safe.
Perhaps our constant busyness and full diaries are troubling to God who is both father and mother? Perhaps it is only when we listen to our weary bodies and allow ourselves the time to sit and relax for a while that God is then able to draw close enough to offer his comfort. Perhaps it is only as we sleep that God is able to experience the pleasure of holding us safely and securely in his strong yet tender embrace?