Have you ever felt guilty for taking time away from your family to rest, recharge, or do something for yourself? Even if it’s just 30 minutes, there can often be so much guilt that surfaces when we as moms take time away from our families. Maybe it’s society, maybe it’s how we were raised, maybe it’s brought on by our own inner dialogues and expectations for ourselves, but for some reason, there seems to be this unspoken rule that moms aren’t allowed to think of themselves.
While yes, of course, it is better to serve and think of others before ourselves, there is a lot of truth we ought to learn behind the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, and because I’m all about disrupting and squashing societal expectations placed on moms, let’s unpack this popular lie that is the source of a whole lot of unnecessary guilt and shame:
I can’t take time away for myself.
First and foremost – let’s remember, dear sister, that Jesus, Savior of the world and 100% God in the flesh, took time away from the demands of the world to rest and recharge. So unless you’re more perfect than Jesus (unlikely, but I digress) then rest is a necessity for you too.
But let’s backtrack, because I don’t think this is a matter of knowing you need to rest. The dark circles under your eyes and 4th cup of coffee by 10 am are clear enough indicators that this mama needs more rest – amiright? So if it’s not about knowing we need rest, then what is it? Why do we so often run ourselves ragged and find ourselves burnt out, stressed out, and overwhelmed because we never get a moment to just breathe? Do we not feel deserving of rest? Do we think we need to earn our rest? I can’t be sure, but I think we all have our own reasons for why we neglect rest, and I would urge you to get quiet with yourself and figure out your reason.
No really, right now. Go to the bathroom, lock the door, and take a few quiet moments to think about this one. Got your answer? Good. Let’s keep going.
Why do we even need rest?
Now that we know why we neglect rest, let’s remember why rest is so important in the first place. And while actual sleep is literally vital to human survival and optimal brain function, I’m more so talking about soul rest – the kind that makes you feel rejuvenated and replenished even without a full night’s sleep. (and all the newborn mamas said amen!) Mama, you need rest in order to show up as your best self. You need time to recharge and be filled up in order to keep pouring out the way you do. You’re not doing anyone any favors by neglecting rest and time to yourself. It’s not selfish to ask for some time to yourself, it’s one of the most selfless things you can do because in doing so, in taking time to refresh your soul and fill your own cup, you just gave your kids a better mom and your husband a better wife. So while it might feel selfish at first, it’s the exact opposite.
Let’s go back to Jesus, because with any problem, struggle, or question we have, we can always look to the Bible on how to approach it. The same is true with rest. Jesus was fully man and fully God and because of that, we have an amazing example in Him on how to approach rest. Jesus rested often (Mark 1:35, 4:36, 6:31, 6:46, Luke 5:16, 6:12). We find him throughout the Gospels retreating from crowds to solitary places to rest and recharge and while it doesn’t detail exactly what His rest entailed, there was always one thing He did: He prayed. Jesus knew the demand of the calling on His life, He knew it meant long hours and lots of travel – teaching, preaching, and healing as He went. So every chance He got, He withdrew, took time away for Himself, and prayed. And that, dear friend, is what we can learn from Jesus about rest.
Resting like Jesus
No matter what your rest looks like and how you like to refuel and recharge – whether that be through a workout, a skincare routine, or just sitting in a quiet room for 20 minutes (wave to me, introverts!). To truly find rest for our souls, we must include prayer. Take a page out of Jesus’ book and apply it to your motherhood: withdraw from the crowd (see also: lego mess, laundry piles, dishes taking over the sink, and toddler shenanigans) and pray. This is where we find true rest – only by going to the source. Jesus said in Matthew 11;
“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.”
(verses 28-30, The Message translation)
So if we’re going to rest like Jesus, we must always include prayer in that rest time. If you’re unsure how to pray, start by thanking Him for the blessings in your life, then tell Him about the things you’re struggling with, then thank Him again for His provision and grace in your life. Obviously the more you pray, the easier it’ll get and don’t feel bad if it feels a little scary – prayer does take a little practice! But also, find comfort in knowing that there’s nothing you could say that God doesn’t already know. 🙂
It’s time to rest well
Let Jesus teach you how to rest well, because He is your rest. By taking the time away from the demands of life to rest, you are honoring God. Alternatively, by neglecting yourself and running yourself dry, you aren’t doing something honorable and pleasing to Him. You are worthy of it because He made you worthy. You are a daughter of the King, made in His image. So daughter, it’s time to rest well.
Need help organizing your life and finding time to prioritize rest again?