Monday, June 2, 2014

Just RELAX!!

Exodus 33:14

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

This week I decided to focus on two of the happiness triggers rather than one; they just seem to fit together so nicely! Play and Relaxation are two things that I have not had a lot of time for lately. The last few weeks have been full of the usual end-of-school-year hustle and bustle: exams, trips, and ceremonies. Yesterday that all came to an end.

My "baby" graduated high school.

With this epic event, comes the inevitable question from family and friends---- "What will you do in the fall when the house is empty?"

You see, they know me TOO WELL!

They know that I am one of those people who is constantly on the go- planning, doing, redoing, and then planning something else. For the past few years life has been full of track meets, academic matches, school ceremonies, and school sponsored events.  Since I am a teacher, some of that won't change. I will still chaperone some dances, attend the obligatory ceremonies, and spend my usual extra hours planning my lessons or teaching after school, but much of my personal time will now be empty. I, myself, have wondered what I will do.

I am not known for my ability to play or relax. (Just ask my family.) I am the one who usually plans the vacations event by event. I usually have an itinerary all planned out and I HATE it when the weather or something else gets in the way of accomplishing those things on the list.

God doesn't want it that way, though.

He does want us (me included) to work hard to accomplish those tasks laid before us, but he also wants us to take time to relax, breathe, and just have fun. He even reminds us in the book of Genesis that HE rested on the seventh day after he had finished HIS work! 

Coming from a typical Eastern Kentucky household- rest has NEVER come second nature to me. Growing up I watched my father work long days in a strip mine, coming home with his face, hands, and clothes blackened with coal dust. He would enter the back door, set down his lunchbox, and head for the bedroom where he would exchange the coal dust stained clothing for a set with farm dust. At that point he would allow himself a brief stop for a glass of cold water before heading to the cornfield, hay field, or garden. Saturdays meant long hot days outside: planting, weeding, harvesting and for me- doing laundry, preparing meals, and washing dishes.

I entered the world of work early, as a seventh grader. My mother took a job at the local nursing home, cleaning on the 3 to 11 shift. That meant that it was my responsibility to see that supper was on the table, dishes were done, and homework was finished each night. I adopted my mother's healthy work ethic and it has served me well for many years.

But times have changed.....

Back when I was growing up we didn't have so many modern conveniences. We washed our dishes by hand, there were no microwaves, and I even remember using a ringer washer! Now I have a dishwasher, the microwave is one of our FAVORITE kitchen tools, and I couldn't make it without my automatic washer and dryer. 

These things, and others like them, have made our lives easier, allowing us to complete tasks more quickly and providing us with more free time. You might think that this would also mean more relaxing and down-time, but for a person like me, that isn't the case.

Many times I find myself sitting there on the couch, flipping through a book, flipping through the television channels, and THEN looking around the living room, trying to make sure that there isn't SOMETHING.... SOMEWHERE..... that I should be doing. I really need to stop doing that!  The dust will be there later.... (Trust me.... I have experimented.... There isn't a little elf that comes in and does the housework when I don't!)  

This week I actually allowed myself some time to relax and do something just for fun. No.... I didn't go to a water slide or play a video game. I sat down and crocheted WITHOUT a pattern. I searched through YouTube and found some videos that taught new crochet stitches that I hadn't tried before, I watched the videos, and then I got creative....

Here is the end result....

a colorful owl pillow for our high school library. (The owl is our mascot.)

Some people might not think of crocheting as relaxing, but it certainly is for me. I enjoy watching my fingers guide the hook and the yarn through loop after loop. I get an inner smile (and sometimes an outer one) as I watch my creation take shape, and I love playing with various colors and textures of yarn creating a unique end product.

I challenge you to find the thing that provides YOU with relaxing play! It might be something artistic, it might be just taking time to read a book, or it might be actually getting out and getting physical playing tennis or some other sport. Whatever it is, make time in your busy schedule to relax and to play. I leave you with one final Bible verse........

1 Timothy 6:6

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

This week, be Godly..... but allow yourself some time to be relaxed and content as well!

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