This past week, I read three books in four days. You may be impressed. I’ll wait.
My husband isn’t, though. He’s convinced that I skim so much, I’m not actually reading. He tries to force me to prove to him that I actually know what I read, but I won’t give in. I know exactly what happened! I used to read so much. And, well, husbands and jobs and babies and adulthood kind of put a damper on that. The past few years, any books I read were for self-help or anything that would further my leadership or my relationship with God.
But I’ve been reading Young Adult fiction novels (thanks, Lily and Sher) and it feels like my world is right again. Guys, it’s like a romantic comedy but soooo much better. It’s a 100% total escape. Which is how I read an entire book, and then some, in a day.
I told myself it was fine because, self care, amiright? And I’ve been focusing on rest, and telling all of you about it. So really, I’m just practicing what I preach (or write).
When I read like a normal person in short spurts, it’s exactly what I need. A bit of a distraction, something fun and happy and just for me. But to be honest, I didn’t have a great week. And I didn’t feel like doing real life much. I didn’t realize it until later but it actually wasn’t filling me up anymore.
I was feeling drained from life. My kids, the burdens around me, my schedule. I’ve taken time to find out the things that do fill me back up, and I’ve found that reading is one of them. But so slowly and yet somehow so quickly, what started as a healthy escape began to take God’s place in my routine.
We need self-care. We need some distractions. But, listen. They are not a replacement for your relationship with God.
When God rested on the seventh day of creation, He wasn’t binging on Netflix or overindulging in expensive coffee. He was still creating.
When we create a shortcut and escape in the name of “rest”, we’re continuing to deplete ourselves. This world can offer us nothing without a foundation of solid identity in the One who created us.
In Priscillia Shirer’s study book, “Breathe”, she quotes Joshua Heschel, who says, “…The universe would be incomplete without [rest]. What was created on the seventh day? Tranquility, serenity, peace and repose.”
When we disappear from our lives to escape from the hard stuff, we are missing out. We’re saying no to the creation of peace in our lives. We’re passing by the hand of God, open and available to fill up our every empty space. And instead, we’re filling it up with temporary treasures, trusting that they’ll be enough.
Hear me out. I totally believe in having fun and zoning out. I am all for romantic comedies and coffee dates. I am not giving up on my YA Princess series at all. But I can tell you that unintentionally, I replaced the breath of God with an easy distraction.
What is it for you? What is that thing that you know God has given you as a jolt of fun and joy and distraction, but maybe you take it a little too far? Is it shopping? Organizing? Netflix? Work, Instagram, dessert, Candy Crush… I’m not saying to give it up. I’m pushing you to ask yourself if it’s taken the place of where God should be.
We wonder why we can’t hear His voice. We feel like we’re asking, and we’ve convinced ourselves we’re listening. Could it be that we’ve unknowingly created a block, a dam, that is halting the flow of the Well that never runs dry? He is the Living Water, and His goodness never ever stops flowing. But we can place things in the way.
God, would you challenge us? Our world has us so confused on what is true and right. But You alone are Truth and Light and Goodness. Would you open up our eyes to the good things in our life that have built up and blocked the flow of your Spirit into ours? We want to live in step with you. We want to be filled with You. Help us to create more space. Help us to choose rest, not as an escape but as an intentional choice to allow you to make us even more complete; more like You.
“The Lord will always lead you and satisfy your needs in dry lands.
He will give strength to your bones.
You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring that never goes dry.”