Five minutes after getting home from church, and I am already in my fluffy pink robe, setting out lunch, which I bought from a church down the street who was hosting their annual ham ball dinner. I open the styrofoam to-go boxes and set them on TV trays in the living room. In each box are two ham balls, a scoop of cheesy potatoes, canned green beans, and a roll. In a smaller box, we each have a square piece of chocolate cake with rainbow sprinkles. We pray over our food, thanking God for His provision, to the tune of “The Office” theme song.
I am so tired after church. It’s not that it doesn’t fill me. It does. Margaret, age 92 and as beautiful as ever, always finds me after service to “give her Rachel a hug.” And when I occasionally pause while leading worship, to listen to the voices of my Family singing, it is a taste of heaven. I love listening to my brothers and sisters banter before Sunday school class. I love hearing my husband’s words of truth and hope as he preaches. I love watching the children run up to the front of the church for a Bible lesson, noting how their eyes get big when they hear something new. And I love being given that moment to bow before God, with the bread and the cup in hand, to remember how great my salvation.
But going to church is also a pouring forth, and by the time I get home, I feel like I have nothing left emotionally, physically, or mentally. Maybe there are dirty dishes in the sink. Maybe a friend is texting me. But I can’t do anything but find my spot on the couch and curl up. Though surrounded by my art supplies, I don’t touch them. Instead, I turn on Netflix and let it act as a soothing background noise while I scroll through my phone, smiling at baby animal pictures on Instagram. After about an hour, I finally give in the urge to take a nap, and climb upstairs to bed.
Needing rest is humbling. I want to be the friend who always says, “yes.” I want to be the wife that keeps a consistently clean home. I want to be the writer who gets to work every time she has an idea. I want to be the pastor’s wife who invites everyone over for lunch after church. But I’m not. I am easily fatigued, and an introvert who must recover from her time with people, even if she thoroughly enjoyed that time. And I have always been this way. But I wrestle against it, resent it, instead of nestling my head under God’s wings. He keeps finding ways to remind me that I am not Him. That I need Him. That He is fully able to accomplish His work without me while I nap. I am nobody’s Savior, and that’s a good thing.
That friend who texted? Will be okay without me. That task? Can go unfinished for a while longer. God did not have to make us need rest. But He did. And I believe God is wiser than all of us put together. Sometimes it takes humility to take a nap. Sometimes His mercies show up in the form of styrofoam boxes, ham balls, saying “no,” and watching animal videos. We are finite.
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