At the time of this blog’s publication, I am the super-blessed “mom” of three delightful cats – Po, Thai, and Toze (yes, it’s supposed to sound like “potatoes” when you string ’em all together 😀 ). I’ve had the oldest, Thai, for more than half my life, and the youngest, Toze, for going on five years; yet every week I find myself learning new life lessons just by watching them. According to Thai, age really is a number—it doesn’t have to stop you from climbing the walls ! By Toze’s reckoning, every meal must be looked forward to and inhaled like it’s your last. And if you ask grumpy middle child Po, my husband is a god among men who must be pursued and cuddled until his skin crawls. Also, as all three could tell you (if they could talk, naturally) – don’t ever take a good sunbeam for granted!
Overall, one of the biggest spiritual lessons I’ve learned from being “mom” to these three is the importance of rest.
For those who are not feline-literate, cats sleep an average of 16 hours a day. God must be a cat-person, giving them that kind of privilege! The thing about a cat is that it doesn’t plan its naps based on a schedule; when it’s naptime, it’s naptime. I watch my cats play hard and then sleep hard, faces buried in the nearest pillow or blanket, and I ask myself when was the last time I entered a season of rest when I knew I needed it and not just when it was forced on me by a breakdown after weeks and weeks and weeks of crazy on-the-go life?
Our Creator Himself knows the importance of rest. After six days of bringing life to our universe, God rested. Yet somehow I think that I can go a hundred times longer than the God of the Universe before I’ll need to stop and catch my breath! And I don’t think I’m the only one who constantly feels that there’s no time for rest. There’s just too much to do!
But the pattern of rest is built into our natural world. You can see it in the way animals toil and rest, sleeping when they need to and rising when it’s time to chase toys or go outside. An orchid plant blooms and then hibernates until it’s rejuvenated. No one has to tell it to rest…it just does. Similarly, God instructed the Israelites to let their fields lie fallow every seventh year so that the poor and the animals could pick over them (a season of rest both for the fields and for those who gleaned during this year), and He established the weekly Sabbath so that, just like for Him, there was a mandatory day of rest.
In our busy culture, a day of rest each week isn’t guaranteed for the worker—and when it is, we often don’t use it to actually rest, we use it to catch up on a million things instead. If we aren’t active, we feel guilty, like we should be doing something. So our times of rest become times of fretting over busyness like a horse at the starting gate, ready to run, run, run.
Like my cats who know when to scamper and when to sit, unapologetic as all cats are, I think it’s time we learned to embrace the moment of rest; to breathe in the pause and sink into it; to not hold ourselves in contempt for needing peace. We are made in the image of a perfect and holy God who also needed a moment of rest. He designed us to function with pauses in life where we reflect and rejuvenate.
And in case you need to hear it, you need a season of rest, too. You need the pause. Listen to your body’s signals, to what that quiet inner voice is telling you. Then take the rest, even if it’s just your single Sabbath from the stresses of the busy life. Use that time to reconnect with God without all the clamor of responsibilities getting in the way. Embrace the pause. Embrace Him. And rest well, loved ones.