Sputter. Sputter. Sputter.
That’s weird. My car’s never made that sound before.
I pressed the gas pedal a little harder, but it seemed to do nothing. The car bucked twice before sputtering to a stop. I pushed that pedal with all my might, one more time. Nothing.
I was nineteen years old–a junior in college–the first time I felt the impact of failing to watch the gas gauge. Fortunately, I made it back on campus before my white Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais stranded me on the side of the road. I could walk the quarter-mile to my apartment. The only issue: my trunk was filled with groceries. Not just any groceries. Among the bagels, spaghetti sauce, and cheese slices, I hauled four, half-gallons of Turkey Hill Mint Cookies and Cream frozen yogurt. (Seems the roomies and I had a bit of an addiction . . .). The temperature outside only read seventy degrees but that still meant major melting. Having no cell phone (It was 1993!), I grabbed the two bags of frozen treats, locked my dead car, and headed off to find help (and an empty freezer).
No, no, not in my car. The thought of being stranded on the side of the road in Texas with my four kids in tow is what nightmare’s are made of. If I’m anywhere close to that red line, I’m stopping for gas.
Yet, personally, I push on that red line all the time. I know I have nothing left, and yet I persist to lean on the gas pedal. Come on, I can do this. I try to keep going when I know there’s nothing left.
What do I really need to fill up my tank? Often it’s rest.
Rest isn’t glamorous. It feels unproductive. It can be hard to force yourself to stop when it seems like everyone, and everything, else keep going.
Yet, God commands it.
He tells us to rest. We rest so we don’t end up on empty. We rest so we don’t end up like my old Oldsmobile, sitting along side of the road with mint fro yo melting in our trunk.
I’ve read that food fuels our body. “Make sure you are eating right and exercising so you have energy.” They say. But, rest plays just as important of a role in our energy levels as broccoli or bicycling.
And, here’s another little secret I’ve learned about rest. When I’m tired, I lose my ability to think about my body rationally. In a state of exhaustion, I fixate on what’s “wrong” with my body and condemn myself for not caring for it better. My body image issues flare when I’m not getting proper rest. There seems to be a rest body image connection.
Here’s the way the rest body image connection works:
–I keep exercising even though I know I need a nap more than a trip to the gym. (Read why I quit the gym here.)
–I don’t feel like I’m living out my purpose. Instead, I feel like I’m barely surviving. Without a good grip on my purpose, I elevate the importance of my physical appearance, believing it matters more than it actually does. (I wrote about that here.)
–I revert back to the dieter’s mentality. I’m tempted to start a new diet or try an extreme weight loss method because I feel rushed. When I’m tired, I’m unable to rationally remember that the safest, healthiest way to lose weight is to incorporate small lifestyle changes that will have an impact in my overall health overtime. (And that rest is necessary for weight loss!)
–And, when I’m out of fuel, I am more susceptible to the enemy’s lies. I am tempted to believe that a thinner body would solve my problems (It won’t.), or that everyone else who “doesn’t have this body image struggle like I do” is living a freer, happier life. (It’s body image idolatry.)
If you feel like you are on empty, here’s a little test to see if rest may be what’s needed to fill your tank and improve your body image:
Are you taking a “sabbath day” each week where you take a break from work and do things you enjoy? **This is a tough one for moms of young children! (Diapers don’t change themselves, nor do peanut butter sandwiches make themselves . . .)
Are you getting enough sleep at night or finding time to make up for it with restful periods during the day?
Do you only make it through the day fueled by coffee, sugary snacks or sodas?
Do you always feel rushed–like everything you do must happen quickly, or else?
Are you trying to accomplish too much after everyone else goes to bed and sacrificing your own rest for a “to do” list that wears you out?
If you answered yes to any (or all) of the above, find ways to rest! Say “No” more, go to bed even if all the chores aren’t finished, or turn on PBS Kids and lay on the couch for an hour to regain some sanity. It’s okay. Life is not a race. You have time to rest.
**We ALL need regular reminders to rest! Pin this image to one of your Pinterest boards so you’ll have a reminder every time you browse!