Spring Break is finally here, and I know that it’s going to run through my fingers like water, but before that happens, I’m going to try to be nourished a little bit. It’s good to be home, especially after the craziness of the first half of the semester. This was the most needed break I’ve ever encountered. I was sick for exam week last week (as I always seem to be), and after the staying up too lates and the studying for exams but not maybe enoughs and general exhaustion… I was immensely ready for Spring Break to start. Coming from the ice to the sun was startling.
Much of the time, I use this as an excuse. “I’m tired” is my knee-jerk response to anyone’s “Are you okay?”, even if it isn’t entirely true. And often I justify my own laziness by telling myself that I really need the rest.
And here’s where it gets so confusing for me, because I can never quite draw that line between merited and lazy excuse. I always have something to do. Even if I ignore it with outward laziness and the procrastination of watching too much TV, my insides are twisted and fighting with each other. Even if I don’t have something to do, I’ve got something to do. School projects are queued in my head in a different line than personal ones, and there’s always a story I should be working on, a goal I shouldn’t have missed, things I should have done.
It’s a hard mental balance for me, but I’m trying to learn, and I’m trying to slide that scale somewhere in between apathetic procrastination and frustrated perfectionism; between extroversion and the life of a hermit. What often happens is that I end up staying up much later than my body can deal with because procrastinate homework, try to keep up with my own writing (in this and in stories), and eventually do that same work. I’m trying to limn.
We need rest.
We need to take breaks to refresh ourselves physically, mentally, spiritually. I should have learned this long ago. Physically speaking, I am prone to sickness, and I need more actual rest and sleep than many people. I keep trying to push myself past that, but I need to stop and take care of myself.
Spiritually speaking, I need it even more. The Holy Spirit will never deny you peace if you ask Him for it, but I must remember to ask. The most common excuse for not praying or reading my Bible is “I’m too busy”. But even Jesus went off by himself in order to pray and be renewed (Luke 5:16).
And here’s the thing. It may take up more of your time than you think you can spare. But there comes a moment when rest becomes the priority, because you are no good to anyone killing yourself over your work, whatever it is. The “wasted time” that periodic rest takes up is small in comparison to what will happen if you burn yourself out.
It happens all the time, especially with artists of any sort. The manic sort of focus on your work can be good, to a degree. Constant desire to create is comforting and wonderful, but you have to balance it with the rest of your life. God himself rested! And then put the Sabbath into place – not for us to follow the rules, but for us to have a set time of not working. Sure, maybe I use my exhaustion as an excuse to be lazy sometimes. But I think it’s better to give yourself room to breathe.
So, no. I probably won’t finish that play I’ve been working on this week. And that’s okay.
On my way home, I encountered a group of guys on their way to an infinitely more needed break. My friends and I hung out with a group of young soldiers who were all going home briefly before they headed off to their different assignments. We talked while we waited for our delayed flights, and they told us that they were the military’s “truck drivers”. Their group often drives over the IEDs.
And after complaining of my own tiredness for so long, this was a paradigm shift. Talk about perspective. I don’t know what will happen to them, and I don’t think I’ll see them again, but I will pray that they enjoy their short rest now and be able to find rest even in the midst of such hard lives.
In conclusion? Sleep! Rest! Take time to step back and renew yourself for whatever you will create in the future. I’m going to spend some time with God, my family, my friends, and my books.
P.S. Help, I’m still listening to Bastille… to use their wording, they’re properly mental.