One of the hardest things about being a parent is not knowing what your kid needs. Deciphering a baby’s cry to determine if she is hungry, dirty, tired, scared, teething, etc., isn’t always easy. But there’s another hard part of being a parent, and that is knowing what she needs and watching her refuse it. Whether it’s medicine for an ear infection, a vegetable to stay healthy, a diaper change, or sleep. We can’t make them do the thing their body most wants to do.
That’s where I’m at tonight. Watching my almost-toddler rub her eyes and cry as she sits in her bed, at midnight, refusing to lay down. She’s not hungry. She’s not wet. She’s just tired. And all she needs to do is lay down, close her eyes, and drift off to sleep as she has done every day for her entire life (most days more than once). But she just won’t do it, and I don’t know why.
At one point, I hoped she would fall asleep on my chest. I held her close and she screamed loudly, waking my husband, and pushed herself up. It was at that moment that I understood what God must sometimes feel watching us fight a needed rest.
“Come to me, child. Rest in my presence. Take a break from the things you really don’t need to be doing right now, and rest. All those other things can wait.”
My baby is angry at her tiredness. She wants it to go away and leave her alone, but she won’t concede that she is designed to need rest.
Aren’t we guilty of the same thing? It may not be sleep that we refuse outright (though many of us are functioning on insufficient sleep and, perhaps, excessive caffeine). But we refuse a spiritual rest. We are exhausted mentally and emotionally, but instead of spending time in God’s presence, we are caught up in trying to press through the exhaustion hoping it will go away but ultimately accepting it as a fact of life.
Precious friend, you need to rest. You need to regularly rest. Take time out of the busy day. Take your mind off of laundry and grocery lists and scheduling piano lessons and sit in God’s presence. Like the babe who finally falls asleep (she will… she will… she will…), you’ll be so glad you did. Don’t be hard on yourself. The need for rest is not a sign of weakness or substandard human-ness. It is a reminder that God loves you and He wants to spend time with you. And even God rested on the seventh day.