This weekend, we took my son camping for the first time. It was glorious! I mean, the first night was a little rough (and by rough I mean, he fell asleep in our tent, but when he awoke at 11:30PM he flipped out, and I spent the rest of the night with him in the car, as he alternated between sleeping in his car seat and screaming until I drove him back to sleep). After that night, though, everything was awesome!
We had beautiful weather. We got to see Venus Fly Traps, Prickly Pear Cacti, and a variety of other venomous plants that pretty much only grow within a 75 mile radius of Wilmington, North Carolina. We body surfed at the ocean, and ate big burgers and more s'mores than could possibly be healthy. Our good friends read books, while my husband, son and I tried to catch various animals.
I only busted out my phone twice. Once while I Facebooked as I let my son nap in the car while the rest of the group went to the beach, and once at the beach to hand to my husband to take pictures.
Unplugging is rejuvenating
We were gloriously and wonderfully unplugged. Undistracted by constant beeps and pings. We focused on anything that captured our fancy, and we conversed without distraction (per the confines of also having a toddler), and we were able to spend more time in prayer. I think the separation from screens freed us to actually take advantage of these opportunities.
For my husband and I, camping (and unplugging) was an opportunity to retreat from the crushing busyness that is a bi-product of our chosen life. Despite less sleep, more sunburn and more physical activity, we felt deeply rested at the end of the weekend because we physically and emotionally separate ourselves from stressors (such as our demanding house work, my job, his schoolwork, etc.)
Rejuvenate so you can create
The concept of rejuvenating rest is one that as Christian, I've spent a bit of time studying. The pattern of rest and creativity is one of the most prominent patterns that I see woven throughout the entire Bible, but especially the old testament. Within the Biblical narrative, God creates this pattern of resting for a full day after creating for six days (as an aside- Jewish people used to think of "days" as sundown to sundown, rather than from morning to evening).
Rest is so important that God literally created as one of the top ten commands (ten commandments) to "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy" which you see (again within the Biblical Narrative) as keep as Sabbath Day to do whatever you want, as long as it celebrates God. Various Psalmist refer to God as a rest or as a refuge. Jesus himself proclaims that his yoke is easy and his burden is light.
When I have relaxing weekends like the one I just had, I remember how good the command is; I remember how good it is to worship a God who takes rest seriously.
And while the rest and relaxation is good, it's not the end game. I'm ready to create now! When I got home, I was ready to have a few phone calls that I had been putting off (including one with a friend that can sometimes be draining). My husband was ready to start work on the house.
This morning, for the first time in a long time, I was ready to start work. Creating, even in the context of a Fortune 500, feels very good when you are rested.
I know that I can't go camping every weekend, nor can I ignore yardwork and housework, and phone calls every weekend, but I am thankful for the opportunity to rest. I am hopeful that I can create a commitment to stay away from screens and draining work for at least one day every week. A proper day off, if you will.
What's your secret to a proper day off? Is time away part of your weekly rhythm, or is it something that you only need sporadically?
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.