The look. When I announce nap time is approaching you would have thought I had mixed my words around and declared plunder on the essence of life. The immediate wailing and erupting tears dramatically express an impending oppression. Mercy.
Am I so cold-hearted that I would just come in to his space, pillaging his joy and killing his imagination with such spiteful demands?
The look says, “How could you?!”
I try not to take it personally and I try really hard not to laugh, but nap time cometh and it stops for no 3-year-old around here.
I get it though, I do. It seems like such a waste of time! What my son really wants to say is: “You want me to lie down and fall asleep when there are Lego’s screaming at me to construct them into a rocket ship? You really expect me to be still and close my eyes when the sun is shining and there are tricycles to be ridden?”
I know baby, I know.
When I was pregnant everyone told me to nap when the baby naps and I thought, “What?! When baby sleeps is when I can actually get some things done around here!” As good as it sounds, when baby naps mama gets to have some free time. And then baby wakes and I wish I would have napped because all the frolicking of free time left me exhausted and the cries of a waking baby tell me its time to get back to work.
Sometimes we need someone to make us do what is best for us.
I love where Psalm 23 talks about the good Shepherd, saying “He makes me lie down in green pastures”. I get that. I imagine God prompting us to slow down and take the rest we so desperately need, but we are too busy to stop long enough to listen and lie down; too strong-willed to receive His gift of refreshment.
Sometimes he makes us and other times we must make ourselves.
When my daughter was discharged from the hospital where we lived for seven months, we needed to regroup as a family. Having relinquished our home to the bank we asked God to lead us to a new home, the right home. After scouring Craigslist for weeks and coming up empty-handed, we began to feel the weight of discouragement. Then, out of nowhere, our home found us.
This was the home that God had been saving for us. We were the first to call on it, the first to make an offer, and considering our blemished credit at the time, it was only a miracle that this kind-hearted man rented to us.
With the same in rent that we had been paying in mortgage in the suburbs we found ourselves in a cottage in the country, tucked away from civilization and the noise of the world. It was here we spent the next three years in quiet solitude; planting seeds and simply enjoying the harvest. Our good Shepherd was making us lie down and rest in green pastures, literally.
We were a frail family who had endured much turbulence; He was a good Father leading us to still waters. We were weary from fighting for our life; He became our strength and our shield.
As I carried my son up to nap, I decided to lay with him. He squealed in delight of my presence within his tiny bed frame as he tucked himself into my chest. There were murmurs of contentment and hums of tranquility as we both fell asleep.
My thoughts started to badger me, reminding me that our out-of-state move is only two weeks away and there is still so much to do around the house. I made myself shut them down. As my son fell asleep he threw his tender little arm around my neck and I comfortably settled into a partial strangulation. Listening to his tiny lungs fill with air and feeling his sweet breath whisper upon my cheek, I sank into ease while peace and rest settled around us.
No boxes were packed that afternoon; no progress was made in the enormous endeavor of clearing out our home. But the respite that was had and the hope that was restored in my surrender, was well worth the time. And so, I continue to practice the art of self-care, because lets face it, we all know how to take care of ourselves, it’s just a matter of doing it.
When God says he brings rest for the weary, He is not just speaking a comforting statement – rest really does restore hope, rest even builds strength and heals wounds. What we believe is doing nothing is actually letting Him do everything.