stop and eat your muffin
A few weeks ago was one of those weeks. A week where everything, and I mean everything, happened all at once. It wasn’t until 18 hours after waking up when I laid down in my bed for the night that I felt like I took my first full breath of the day. I was constantly thinking of the next thing and not fully able to live in the here and now.
I had two new students added to my class, which completely changed the course of the next few weeks as I tried to catch them up and adjust everything to make them feel a part of my little family that had been forming for the last eight weeks. We had parent teacher conferences going on, and while the conversations were great and valuable, they were also extremely exhausting and a lot of preparation went into being ready for them. I had some friends go through some really tough life circumstances, and I was trying my best to be the friend they needed. And as usual, I taught piano two different nights, had to grade papers, lesson plan, check email, do laundry, and the list goes on and on.
This is what life looks like really.
I mean, some weeks aren’t as bad as others, but essentially, it never stops and never slows down.
We are creatures who find satisfaction in doing and seeing. We live in a culture where every waking hour is scheduled, and there is insane pressure to fill it with all things valuable.
And unfortunately, real rest isn’t valued or encouraged like it should be.
But here’s what I have found: if we don’t ever just stop, then we will eventually burn out.
So here I was, insanely exhausted from the crazy week. I rushed out of school Friday to get home, finish packing, and then Mitchell and I headed off to Estes Park to camp for the weekend. We hit traffic getting up there, and didn’t end up setting up camp until nine at night. Because we were both exhausted, we set up camp as quickly as possible, got cozy in our sleeping bags, and tried to squeeze in as much sleep as we could before the alarm went off.
At 5:30 AM we busted our humps to get up, get ready, and head out to find the elk. For the next three hours we hiked and marveled at the elk.
Both with grumbling tummies we climbed into the car and decided we just couldn’t wait any longer to eat something. So, we pulled over on the side of the road, set up our camping chairs facing an incredible view, pulled out our yogurt and muffins, and savored every bite.
Best decision ever.
Here we were, in the middle of a free day at Rocky Mountain National Park, while endless cars zoomed past us, elk were rutting, there were mountains to climb, and things to do, and we decided to just stop in the middle of it all to breathe and eat our muffins.
And while I was sitting in my camping chair, blueberry muffin in hand, gazing upon the glorious Rockies, it hit me.
Sometimes in life you just have to stop and eat your muffin.
Not while driving, not during a meeting, not while standing in the elevator. But truly stop everything to sit and eat.
I am insanely guilty of filling my every moment. I truly just want to experience so much of life, that sometimes I can have a tendency to overplan. Even though many of the things I am doing are things I truly love, it still isn’t rest.
Our Father designed us to stop and rest. Genesis 2:2-3 tells us this.
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
Our Father found rest so vitally important, that he even modeled for us what it looked like.
He designed His children to stop and breathe for a moment.
Teaching is one of those professions where you could keep working forever and never stop. You could always plan more, always grade more, and always do more. It is so easy to get trapped in a mindset of feeling so responsible for each child and their success, that you never allow yourself to have a break. We let our students become our world and think about them incessantly. While I believe that I am called to give my students my all and pour everything I have into them, I also know that I am only a part of the puzzle, and it is not my job to “fix” them in nine months. I am a part of their journey, and my job is to smother them in love and teach them all that I can in the time I have with them. Then they move on to another teacher who will hopefully do the same. If I begin to allow myself to believe that all of the pressure is on me, I won’t make it. I will crack under the weight of it all.
I am always saying that if I don’t give myself a break at my job, I won’t be a good teacher. If I allow myself to let it rule my every waking hour, I will eventually run out of gas, and I won’t be worth a whole lot to my students. It is in those moments of rest that I am refueled and refreshed.
Our Father did not design us to go go go. He does not put the pressure on us that we can’t ever slow down or stop. We do. We have begun to convince ourselves that those who rest are weak. That those who rest lack the stamina and willpower to keep going. That those who rest are just lazy.
But, I would never deem our Father lazy, and He rested.
It is in those moments of rest we slow down enough to hear His voice, listen to our breath, or simply reflect on the joys of life.
I’m not trying to tell you that you need to find massive chunks of time continually to just completely stop everything, but rather find those little moments you can give up and intentionally carve rest into your days.
Maybe for a busy mama, instead of cooking dinner one night, they pick up pizza for their family and just enjoy each other’s company. Maybe someone could let their to-do list wait at work, and instead have a real lunch break with no work involved. Maybe for that busy college student, it means not attending that other event and instead just Netflix binging. Maybe it means leaving the dishes in the sink after dinner and enjoying an evening walk.
Whatever it may be, we were all designed with the need to stop and breathe and refocus and refuel.
And we can’t feel guilty about doing it.
We will be worth nothing if we don’t. We will be worth nothing to our family, our friends, or our coworkers if we slowly let all of our vigor for life drain out of us by never taking that moment to eat our muffin.
Most importantly, we won’t be able to be the servant and disciple our Father calls us to be if we don’t allow ourselves the moment of refreshment and renewal that is needed to go love His people and seek Him.
So Maliyah, as you grow older and find yourself caught in those moments of feeling like you can barely keep your head above water, stop to eat your muffin. Value yourself enough to say no to whatever needs to be done. It can wait. You deserve a moment or two to breathe and relish in the simple things of life. You will be a better person for it.
All my love,