This is often my life on days when I don’t have a structured routine. Laying on my bed, thinking about all of the things that ‘need to’ and ‘should’ get done, all while finding it incredibly challenging to muster up the desire or inspiration to start anything productive.
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the ‘Proverbs 31 Woman’. In the Christian community most of us know who she is. And essentially the main reason we care about her so much is because her attributes describe the ultimate Godly woman. She is the Wife of Noble Character; the woman that we as Christian ladies are taught to strive to be. And in Proverbs 31 we read all about her.
I’ll confess that I hadn’t actually taken the time to read about the Proverbs 31 woman until this summer. I mean, sure, I had heard about her a ton but I didn’t really know her.
Since reading the passage, I’ve been thinking a lot about idleness, and more specifically how much time I spend idling. Proverbs 31:27 says that “she watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness“. Which brings me back to this image of me laying in bed, staring at my phone, and feeling guilty for not using my time productively while simultaneously justifying to myself that it is okay to ‘rest’.
But I’ve recently learned that there is a big difference between rest and idleness. We might think that laying in bed scrolling through Instagram for 2 hours is ‘rest’. But really (at least for me) this idle habit does nothing but clog and cloud my spirit, making me feel even more tired and worn.
To be idle, by definition, is to be lazy, inactive, and without purpose. To rest, by definition, is to cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh, and/or recover strength.
So sure, rest for me can certainly take the form of relaxing with a movie or a book or just taking a nap. But more than that, true rest has simply become a time to allow my Father to rejuvenate my soul. A time to intentionally give my cares and my worries and my stresses to Him, allowing Him to overtake me with peace.
And I’ve found that this can happen while I’m “watching over the affairs of my household”. So sometimes I find rest while driving to the grocery store, doing yard work, or cleaning up my room. The ‘mundane’ tasks and routines have proven to be some of my most restful times simply because they are times when I still use the working body I’ve been given to honor my Father, all while coming to my Savior weary and heavy laden, accepting the true rest that He provides (Matthew 11:28).
So here’s to embracing true rest and praying for the strength to cut the bread of idleness out of my diet. Here’s to admitting that idleness is a black hole that sometimes (read: often) sucks me in when I try to fight it in my own strength. Here’s to begging for rest every chance I get, while remembering the urgency of mission in a temporal world. Here’s to welcoming a new week with intention and purpose.