Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Take a Vacation

...from your problems!

Last week my husband went on a two-day retreat, leaving me home alone. Instead of taking the excuse to work 12-hour days writing with nobody telling me to stop, I took those two days off.

That's right. Off.

I read books, took naps, and did the dishes while listening to loud music. I went on long walks, called family, and ate foods I don't usually buy because Nic doesn't like them. I stayed up late gif'ing Legend of Korra and slept a glorious 10 hours each night.

I could hear the thoughts in my brain. Sleep ushered in vibrant dreams. New stories were born, while plot holes in existing stories offered up solutions. Events in my life sorted themselves into logical order. I chatted with God a lot. I figured stuff out about myself, and came away feeling sure and confident.

It's amazing what time off can do. I talk a lot about resting, and believe in it wholeheartedly. But then I turn around and work weekends because my work is so dang engrossing. I love what I do, and consequently I don't take time away. I don't want to. My work is a good, beautiful, fun thing.

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

It's not that my husband and I don't take vacations. But being young and childless, our vacations are usually spent flying to California and trying to see everyone we possibly can while we're there. It's fun and awesome and I don't regret it at all. But it's still not rest.

When was the last time I really took time off? I took time in order to move, but that's not exactly restful. I realized it's been months since I had the chance of doing nothing.

A stay-cation was definitely in the cards.

I'm so grateful I took that time, and as always I'm left wondering why I don't do it more often. My usual excuse is that I do take breaks from some things. I take breaks from ministry and from chores, and I take really tiny breaks from writing--you know, like 4-5 hour breaks where I spend time with my husband. Oh wait, that's just the evening. Everybody does that.

Real rest is where we find ourselves again. We come back from working--all our good, wonderful, productive hard work!--and center ourselves. We zoom out, celebrating what we've accomplished, patting ourselves on the back, and getting pumped up about the vision for what happens next. We remember who we are at our core, and why we're doing this in the first place. We reconnect with the source of our passion. If you're a God kind of person, you reconnect with your creator.

I've been trying to build more rest into my day. Nothing beats a good stay-cation every now and then, but having the little silences helps too. A number of eastern influences recently bumped me back into yoga and meditation. Forcing myself to sit still for ten minutes and focus on my breathing has done wonders in creating mental space around me. Mental space is everything.

When I open up that space, there's more room for me to express myself. There's also more room for God. Meditation always leads me to prayer. When I'm silent, my heart is open. There's room for me to deal with the hard things. There's space for me to be myself, apart from the definitions like "writer" that I normally hold as my identity.

When I rest, I get away from all The Stuff. In the silence and the space, I can become myself, open to growth and change.

Word count: 612.