Single Parents Need Rest
Single parenting is rewarding and wonderful, but it is also tough, exhausting work, and single parents need rest. Sunday’s sermon was on the body’s demand for rest, and I caught myself thinking several times of all the things I could be doing rather than sitting there listening to how I should be resting.
The priest was right off course. All people need rest, and he intelligently made the distinction between all people needing sleep and all people needing rest.
Sleep vs. Rest
Sleep is something concrete enough for others to understand. When one says, “I need to go to sleep,” there is little doubt about what that person needs to do. Rest on the other hand is vague. When on says, “I need a rest,” it is unclear whether that person needs to stop walking, lay down, or sit quietly and reflect.
Sleep is something we need on a daily basis. It is cyclical. Sleep is the absence of conscience, a time when our bodies go through predictable patterns with each occurrence. It is recommended that we get eight hours of sleep per night and yet many of us do not. I am guessing that number goes way down for single parents! Research clearly states some of the risks involved with not getting enough sleep. For example, some studies show that driving while exhausted can be just as debilitating as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Rest is something we also need, but which many of us do not understand. It is not the absence of conscience and there are no guidelines as to how much rest one requires in a day, a week, or a lifetime. Although we know there are consequences to not getting enough rest, including fatigue, burnout, and depression, these are also not clearly defined.
How Does One Rest?
There are also several misunderstandings about rest. Some of us feel that going on vacation is taking a rest, but I rarely find this to be the case. Vacations with five boys on a tight budget, means seeing places and meeting people we never could have at home. It means lots of happy memories and laughter, but it also means camping in downpours with lots of mosquitoes. It means sunburn and whining. It means long car rides and juice boxes spilled in the car. For me, vacations are not necessarily restful.
It is sad that today so many of us, especially single parents, know we need rest and yet we have no idea how to find that rest. We have come so far from understanding true rest that we do not understand or recognize it. True rest comes through feeling peace within your heart, mind, body, and soul. It is a connectedness with the universe and with yourself. It is knowing there is a plan for your life and that you do not have to be perfect, but that you do have to listen and allow good to happen. It comes through knowing you have value and are loved. Rest is a feeling of inner peace.
This peace comes through the Lord Jesus Christ. Try taking a few minutes each day to walk with God the Father. Read the Bible. How often do you hear a phrase similar to, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (MATT 11:28) The Lord is not uninvolved in this world or in your life. He is not caring and he does want you to know the peace and love and, yes, rest, that can be found exclusively within him.
Add one more thing to your already busy schedule today. Rest. Do not sleep, but find rest. Take a solitary walk or read the Bible. Use your time to speak with the Father who really does love you (a tough concept to grasp sometimes especially when we are feeling overwhelmed and let down and in need of rest). Imagine the Lord putting his big strong arms around you, sheltering your,protecting you, leading you, and guiding you. He is unfailing in his love for you. Ask the Lord to guide you to the passage he wants you to understand today and then open the Bible. Read and take time to reflect on the passage and your life and the lives of others. I have never failed to learn something new when doing this. I have rarely walked away without a feeling of peace, even when the message was difficult to swallow. Peace is to be found within those pages because it comes from wisdom and love.
Please, single parenting is the toughest job ever. Single parents need rest. How will you find rest today?