This past weekend was Valentine’s Day. Normally, at this point, I wouldn’t give it another thought. Historically, Dave and I didn’t do much because the recent holiday season also included his birthday and our wedding anniversary. We might’ve watched a movie or made tacos, but nothing over-the-top.
But, God surprised me this weekend with what felt like a Valentine’s retreat! He rearranged my schedule and I enjoyed a much slower pace as a result. As a busy single mom, it felt like a getaway—even though we stayed home—and was just what I needed.
Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).
On Friday, friends came over to visit. When we spoke the day before, I mentioned an important meeting I had planned. Thus, our time together would be limited. But, we decided to squeeze in a play date anyway.
Well, for reasons outside my control the meeting was rescheduled and our friends were able to stay longer. We enjoyed catching up and our girls played so well together. After that, Lydia and I ran some errands. While we were out, our neighbors invited for us over for an impromptu dinner/play date.
That also was refreshing—and we stayed there about two-and-half hours past Lydia’s bedtime. After we walked home, Lydia helped me finish some laundry. She cheerfully exclaimed, “It’s my job to help you fold the laundry!” And, I don’t even think she was trying to get out of going to bed!
Thus, on Friday, we spent about seven hours with two dear families. I think we all were encouraged that day. I went to bed in awe that God would arrange such a lovely day on my behalf. I rarely allow the opportunity to just sit and relax. (I’m working on that!) It was completely unexpected, and I didn’t realize how much I needed that down time. I was also thankful for the community God provided during a (potentially) bittersweet weekend.
Because of Friday’s change of plans, I incidentally had more free time on Saturday too. I took Lydia out for lunch after she passed her very first series of ice skating lessons. After sticking it out for six weeks, I was so proud! Lydia was proud too and sighed with relief, “I’m so glad I passed that class!”
That afternoon, we watched a movie, read books, completed puzzles, and even took a short nap. Then, I called a few friends and family like I normally do. I enjoyed each moment!
On Sunday, we stayed home and rested. It has been months since I lounged all day and did nothing in particular—not even chores. It was peaceful with few interruptions! I did prepare meals for the upcoming week, but even then, I enjoyed the creative outlet. And, it didn’t feel like work!
Lately, I have been busier than my normal for this time of year. I have several good ongoing commitments and projects—but they require lots of energy. Ironically, by resting during our little unexpected staycation/retreat, I feel renewed in my focus. It was delightful to realize God had a wonderful weekend all planned out! I felt so special to Him!
If you are overwhelmed with life or even frustrated with a project, consider pausing and reevaluating your schedule. Is there something you can postpone or remove?
It’s worth taking a break because REST is a part of Restoration!
Heavenly Father, thank You for restoring my soul with a peaceful Sabbath. Thanks for Your loving grace that covers me. Help me implement more rest and relaxation so I don’t get burned out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Questions: How long has it been since you last took time to rest and relax? What personal benefits could be found in choosing a slower pace?