A Hammock and Some Thoughts on Rest

I’m tired, y’all. I fell asleep on the couch in between doing my Bible reading/prayer time and starting this post this morning. And not because I meant to.

I guess it’s kind of inevitable, what with the half a dozen children and the housework and the homeschooling and the fitness classes and a new business.

There are even a few other things in the works that I’m not quite ready to share yet, but they’re definitely adding to an already full schedule.

All good things, but I don’t ever really feel like I’ve “finished” anything these days.

That’s a hard feeling for a closet perfectionist. (You’d understand the “closet” part if you saw my laundry room some days or my flowerbeds pretty much every day). In an ideal world, I wouldn’t start another task before the job I’m working on is done. But that’s just not practical in this particular season. Either I’ll get halfway through organizing the girls’ clothes and transferring them to their new dresser, and someone will break/spill something, or I’ll have to interrupt homeschooling to feed/hold a fussy baby or break up a toddler cat fight. Or everything will just take twice as long as I hoped it would, and we’ll have to rush out the door to the gym, leaving piles of laundry on the floor until we can come back and put them away.

I rarely finish my entire list for the day–partly because I always put more on it than I know is realistic to achieve, and partly because…life, man. It never goes like it looks like it should on a piece of paper.

Add to this the fact that Shaun has had to work on weekends for the past month or so (and will for a while yet), which means even my beloved Sunday has been disrupted, and “rest” is a foreign concept at the moment.

I don’t say all of this to whine. In the midst of this especially hectic season, I’m reminded of things I need to work on. Like: I’m really, really hard on myself and am prone to mentally hiss: “You’re a failure!” if I don’t manage to “fit it all in.” (Which, as I just admitted above, I rarely do). Also, I can be a very anxious person. I don’t worry about the usual things, like whether someone will come and hurt us when we’re home alone while Shaun is traveling. But I can wake up feeling short of breath, like an elephant is sitting on my chest, if I am facing a too-full day of tasks I know I won’t be able to finish.

But I’m also learning, bit by bit, how to cast all of my cares on the Lord. I’m actually pretty awful at it, naturally. I will shoulder as many cares as I can find, then borrow a few that aren’t even mine, and lug them around, feeling my chest squeeze tighter and tighter under the load, until I wonder if my heart will explode.

But, thankfully, the Lord doesn’t leave me to wallow in my fretful tendencies. When I turn to Him, desperate for reprieve from the buzzing static in my brain (because all of this running does not lend itself to mental clarity, believe it or not), He is so faithful to remind me not to worry about tomorrow, since today has enough worries of its own (no kidding, Lord) and to cast all of my cares upon Him. He reminds me that he has shown me what is good and what the Lord requires of me–not more activity or more social media presence or more blog posts–but “to do justice to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God.” He gently whispers that there is now therefore NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (when I’m busy shoveling condemnation into my lap with both hands).

And then, sometimes, He gives me genius ideas like buying a hammock for my husband’s birthday.

Huh?

Shaun’s birthday was last Sunday, and I was completely stumped about what to buy him. I don’t usually feel like this. I’ve mentioned before that we love to give gifts, and we both keep running lists of things that the other needs or has mentioned in passing. But I bled my list dry at Christmas and wasn’t conjuring up any new ideas. Until the thought of a hammock popped into my mind. Pretty much out of the blue.

So, I did a little research on Amazon and came up with this little gem.

It has over 2,500 almost five star reviews (more like raves), and it comes with a stand, which made it ideal for the deck outside Shaun’s office (he works from home).

So, I bought it. I honestly didn’t know what Shaun would think.

Turns out, he loved it.

hammock

{Please don’t hate me for our insanely gorgeous weather. I promise Theo was warm as could be in his skivvies}

Sunday (his birthday) was the most restful, relaxing day our family has enjoyed in months. We didn’t leave the house. We didn’t get dressed in real clothes. We ate and played and napped. In the hammock.

Seriously. Shaun and I took a nap outside, in the sunny, slightly breezy 75 degree weather, and it was glorious. (The hammock is super-easy to set up and adjust. And it’s crazy comfortable. That is my 5 star review in a nutshell).

And the entire family spent a significant portion of the rest of the day taking turns in the hammock.

We have yet to name it, but I think we all know that will change. (Harper? Hope? Hallie?)

After such a wonderful day, Monday morning felt like one of those Bugs Bunny slaps in the face with a glove full of bricks. The familiar vice around my chest started to tighten. There was no way I was going to get it all done.

And I didn’t.

But you know what? The Lord graciously reminded me of all the things I mentioned above, and I asked him to help me do the next thing and allow that to be enough.

And it was.

It was more than enough at around 4:30 when we had finished our afternoon chores but still had some school left, and I said, “Come on, kids, let’s go outside. Mama calls the hammock!”

hammock1

{I chose the Ciao color scheme in cotton, in case you’re wondering}

Yup. I homeschooled from a hammock, y’all. And it was ah-mazing.

hammock2

{It didn’t take long before everybody climbed in with me. You can’t see her, but Della was in there too on the other end. The hammock has a 400 lb. weight limit, but you can pile a whole lot of little bodies in there without too much discomfort. ;)}

I’m thinking I may have to prescribe myself some daily “hammock time.” It works wonders!

Do y’all struggle with feeling overwhelmed with your daily tasks too? I have a feeling I might not be the only one.

If you do, you can let me know in the comments, and I will add you to my prayer list. I’m already praying for my own rebelliously anxious heart. I might as well pray for yours too. 🙂

9 thoughts on “A Hammock and Some Thoughts on Rest

  1. I am a bit of a perfectionist too, My hubs calls me his “OCD poster child.” lol I look back on my childrens childhood with a good amount of regret because I obsessed over everything being clean, totally organized and as perfect as I could make it. You know what ? My children don’t ever recall how I struggled to keep everything clean and perfect in our home, I mainly recall that I didn’t stop and go play with them. Such a sad feeling in my heart. Who cares if you can open the refrigerator door and it is gleaming with dates on the dishes so they can be used in a set number of days !! Please don’t do as I did. The dishes, clothes and other chores will still be there and they don’t care a “fig” about us !! Your 6 babies do !! They don’t realize the load of responsibility you are carrying at their current ages…..BUT when they are grown and balancing their own family, they will look back and remember how you always had time for them and will wonder how you ever did all of this and still had time for “play” for them. That’s the memories you want them to have, I know.
    God bless you and just take a deep breath and let your priority be THEM !! The rest will fall into place, I promise. Much love and you are now on my prayer list.

    1. Such wise words and great advice! Fortunately, since we home school and are together all day, we do a lot of time working/playing together. I honestly feel pretty good about the amount of time I spend with my kids. All the other stuff…stresses me out. 🙂

      And I WISH I could say that I have ever labeled anything in my fridge, but, alas, I am not that on top of things!

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. You should read Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection.” Such a great read for us perfectionists!

    Oh and regarding lists. I read that when you make a to-do list, you should highlight the three things that are most important to you. If you get those three things done than you can call the day a success, even if there are 10 other things on the list. If you have time to knock out a couple of other things, great, but they can easily be moved to the next day as well. Just shoot for three things 🙂

    1. Yes, but if I read a book, then it will bei ONE MORE THING on the list!!! 🙂

      And honestly, I love the 3 things idea, but in this particular season, only 3 things a day would sink us. Sigh. This too shall pass! Thanks for your encouragement!

  3. I am right there with ya. I feel crazed every time I look at my planner or the millions of post-it notes I have to do lists scribbled on. As a full time wife, mother, and Speech Language Pathologist life gets busy. My daily devotion this new year is to put God at the for front always. I can’t let life take away from my time with him.

    Ps. New to your blog and I love it!

  4. I’m very overwhelmed with my daily to dos. Insomia nd anxiety are my biggest enemies. I believe they work together to get me to my weakest point. I would greatly appreciate your prayers!

I love hearing from you guys!