Rest is good for the soul (and the tear ducts)

Sunrise photograph taken 9/13/2013 at our Kenosha apartment on Lake Michigan.

Written by Amber -

Because we work most evenings and weekends, we take Mondays off. They are our "Day of Wonderment" for personal time—no work allowed unless it's an emergency. The toughest thing for me is, I'm really lousy at relaxing. My body doesn't know how to rest, my mind is always running a mile a minute and I feel the need to be busy doing something all the time. I'm not a napper... If I am "at rest" I'm usually trying to go to sleep for the night. Mondays have been a learning process for me and I have honestly had to practice "resting". 

Yesterday, against my will [and my lengthy to-do list], I finally rested my mind and body a bit and the unexplainable happened: I busted out in silent, streaming tears. Why? No idea. As I curled into a little ball on the couch I tried to hide the fact that my face was red and tear-soaked. Instead of looking for the root of the tears, I became extremely embarrassed and began reprimanding myself, "Pull it together, Amber! You're acting like a 4-year-old. What's your problem??" I hoped Chad wouldn't notice. He lovingly asked, "What's wrong? Tell me what's on your mind." My response was a wailing, "Iiiiii donnnn't knooooooow....." It was in that very moment that my silent tears transitioned immediately into a blubbering, sniffling, chest-quivering mess. What? Where did that come from??  

You see, I'm a "glass is half full" person. There's a silver lining on every situation. I'm an emotional rock for people around me; an emotional constant in all situations. I am strong. I am NOT an emotional wreck who uncontrollably, inexplicably sobs for no apparent reason. I know all the right answers: I don't have to be strong because Jesus is strong in me, I don't need all the right answers because the Holy Spirit will guide me, God's perfect love reigns in our broken world, He sees what is done in secret and will reward us appropriately. I can back all of that up with Scripture. BUT, knowing the right answers still wasn't enough to offset the emotions I felt.

Nathan and Jane Phillips are marriage counselors we heard speak last year at the CONNECT Retreat we went to. They said, "When you're dealing with your heart, it's not going to be logical. The feelings of your heart are not up for evaluation." 

The truth is, I've been so busy being "strong" lately, I haven't stopped to tend to my heart. I haven't rested long enough to see the broader picture and add up all of the overwhelming qualities of my current workload, the mountain of dirty laundry on my bedroom floor, some of the sad stories I've been hearing from friends, the long phone calls I've had with family members, the people I love who live far away, the audacious pursuit of dreams on our horizon, and my current leadership responsibilities. The moment I entered into a much needed rest, all of the suppressed emotions attached to this stuff welled up inside and released like pressurized water from an open fire hydrant. Sometimes I guess you just need a good cry. And that is ok.

What's the best fix for this type of emotional sneak attack? A lengthy hug from the person nearby at the time (thanks Chad!), a box of tissue, and true rest. Take a breather! Everything is fine. You are fine. This episode doesn't mean you are an emo freak... It's just a warning message from your body and your emotions telling you to REST more often and properly tend to your heart.

Duly noted. Lesson learned.

Chad & AmberAmberComment