August: A Quest for Rest

I realized the other day that my answer to the question "how are you?" is more often than not "tired". Over the past couple of years I have felt overwhelmed by exhaustion. Medically I'm fine, the exhaustion I'm experiencing is emotional exhaustion. The past 3 years have been challenging, I've navigated broken relationships, changing friendships, lost dreams, and the grief that comes with having lost my brother unexpectedly in 2016. I've taken breaks, and I've tried to make life giving choices when it comes to my career and commitments, but grief has a way of changing a person. I know I am not the same person I was, but I haven't had time to discover who I am now, how I rest best, and what gives me life. 

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One of my favourite ways to describe how much I have to give energy wise is to compare my energy levels to a cup of water. When I am taking care of myself and filling my cup, I have lots to give, because I'm giving from the overflow- but when I stop filling my cup, and continue to give of my time and energy, my cup gets emptier and emptier. Suddenly I find myself scraping the bottom of an empty cup to continue keeping up with my life and commitments. 

Lately it seems that no matter how I try to fill my cup nothing works. It's almost like my cup has teeny tiny holes in it, and so not only am I using the water I put into it, the water is also just consistently and constantly leaking out. Long story short, the energy reserve is really low right now, I'm tired, and I'm tired of feeling tired. Daily I find myself longing for rest and refreshment. I regularly dream of just taking off somewhere quiet, away from everyone and everything, to just breathe, and think, and figure out how I can feel like my best self again. 

So that is what I am going to be doing for the month of August. I am taking off to my family's cabin. It's quiet, rural, and pretty disconnected from everything and everyone. This is what my soul is longing for and so I'm going to listen. Instead of filling my time with to do lists and summer plans, I'm clearing my schedule and I am doing nothing for 2 weeks, with the hope of permanently fixing those holes in my cup. Not going to lie, the thought of no plans for 2 weeks is scary for me, but I know this is what I need.

My August Monthly Challenge is a very different kind of challenge. There is no internet connection up at the cabin so I will mostly be disconnected for my time away. I will still be writing and will share my thoughts, and hopefully breakthroughs, when I get a chance; this month's challenge has one specific goal but no specific guidelines or expectations. I want to listen to my body and my heart and each day choose the things that feel life giving to me, which may end up meaning days of the same, or a different schedule every day. I want to give myself freedom to live this way for a while. A space where the worth of my life isn't measured by accomplishments, or how much I can do in a day. 

One thing that I know I will be doing is re-reading a book I read earlier this year entitled The Rest of GodWhen I first read through this book I kept thinking this is so good, I wish I had time to put some of these practices into play. In that season though I just didn't feel I had the energy to press into, and to practice rest. I know that sounds ridiculous, and writing it I realize just how much, right now, since I have the space and time, I need to be intentional about developing practices that promote rest. I'll be sharing some of the practical ways I interpret this book when I can. 

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Does your soul feel weary and tired? Are you, like me, feeling burdened and worn out by your commitments and to do lists? Are vacations and sleep not giving you the kind of rest you're craving? I invite you to press into discovering what brings you real rest this month, it's a journey that can be difficult, and it takes time and intentionality, but my hope is it will be a worthwhile pursuit.

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


P.S. Without internet I can't commit to regular monthly challenge posts, but I will be sharing moments from my cabin on Instagram, so follow along there for updates!