He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
No, that’s not right. I’m exhausted, used up, a limp version of my former self.
Why? Raising children is hard. Raising grandchildren increases the hardship many times over. Yes, I understand that parents get tired and exhausted. I was a parent once, too. This is different. I promise you. Whether we like it or not, our bodies age and keeping up with the pace of children is much, much harder as a grandparent.
This past weekend, I took some time out to go to a Beth Moore event with one of my friends. Bruce willingly agreed to handle the kids for the weekend. It was great to get away and focus on spiritual matters, but it wore me out! I usually try to grab an extra hour or two of sleep on Saturday morning. That, of course, couldn’t happen.
Between school schedules, work, and trying to meet deadlines, I’ve been averaging about five or six hours a night. I need eight to nine hours to fully recover from most days. Some of you don’t need that, but I do. Add to this the change to Daylight Savings Time, and well…a recipe for extreme fatigue.
This week, we had the District Science Fair judging for Victoria on Monday evening (results in a few weeks), gymnastics on Tuesday evening, and by Wednesday afternoon, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I sat at my computer fighting the pull of sleep. In fact, I was so tired I forgot to take the kids to an appointment. I don’t forget things. That’s not like me. But this life is making it harder and harder to stay on top of everything.
What can I do?
Keep the calendar updated. Remember to check it daily (my mistake yesterday). Take a nap when I can. Go to bed early if at all possible (it usually isn’t). Keep extracurricular activities to a minimum. Yes, I said it. One extra activity per week is enough for the kids. They need time to be children without structure, without a planned schedule of activity. I don’t know how parents do it today. Many of them have their kids in some after-school activity. Every. Single. Day.
We need to slow down. Let the kids slow down. Let them run around without a plan, play in the yard, use their imagination, sleep in on Saturday. There’s a reason God directed the Israelites to take a day of rest.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11
Even Jesus recognized the need to take a break. One well-known story tells about a day full of crowds seeking his wisdom and healing. Afterward, he and his disciples boarded a boat to get away from what must have been an exhausting day. A storm blows up and Jesus sleeps through it until his frightened disciples awaken him.
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:36-41
We tend to focus on the rest of what Jesus says to the disciples but notice his words to the storm. Jesus is tired. He’s worn out. He needs rest. The storm created a problem for him because the disciples fearing for their lives, woke him. What does he say? Quiet! Be Still!
We need our rest, whether we’re parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters. Everyone needs time to be still and know.