November 19, 2012

Rest For Your Soul

Lately, Danny has been getting over the crud. Actually I keep thinking he's over it and then it just drags on and on.  And on.  And on and on.  Which is why we call it the crud.

And he's been behaving absolutely horrifically because, of course, he's miserable.  And really you can only spoil a sick child for so long before he becomes spoiled rotten and then you have to undo what you've done and had no intention of doing in the first place, but just kept at it and after 3 weeks of sick and spoiled you realize you've completely ruined every bit of behavior training you've done since he was born.

Ok maybe I'm being a little dramatic.  But honestly, that's where we're at.  We're fixing and healing.  

I'll be SO GLAD when we're past this.

Anyway, along with the spoiling and ruining has come about the ruining of bedtime routines - among which is going to sleep by himself.  He has (from about 6 weeks old) put himself to sleep and so we've never been the sit-by-the-bed-until-he's-snoring kind of parents.  Well, until now.  Until sick. Just a few minutes ago, as I was sitting by him with my head on his not-so-comfy toddler rail with my eyes closed, encouraging him to sleep - practically by example - I got to thinking.

Only after 10 minutes of negotiating, arguing, ordering, accommodating pillows and blankets, laying down, and getting back up for one more thing, and laying back down again, did he finally settled in with his head on this afternoon's pillow of choice and his brand new "grabber jammies" (pajamas with an excavator on them). He proceeded to squinch his eyes shut, pull his shoulders up to his ears and tuck his fists tightly into his chest.  This is what laying down to relax and go to sleep looks like for a 3 year old little boy.  For me it looks like a workout, but whatever.  He started with his muscles taut and his eyes scrunched and opened his eyes every 2.342 seconds to make sure my eyes were still closed.

30 seconds passed.  I breathed deeply.  He breathed deeply.  His shoulders dropped.

Another 60 seconds passed.  My eyes and face relaxed (well as much as possible, leaned up against that not-so-comfy toddler rail).  His face relaxed.

Another 30 seconds and his arms and fists had loosened.

And 3 minutes later, his breathing slowed, his lips relaxed into that kissable stuck-out pucker, and he was out like a light.

This mommy enjoyed all five minutes of watching his body slowly relax and his mind cautiously give in to the blissful rest that I'd been telling him he needed for the last hour.  And boy does he need it.  Deep down I think he really wants it and enjoys it and he admittedly feels better afterwards when I ask him.  But boy does he FIGHT IT.

I think our Heavenly Papa must giggle at us the same way.  He calls us to obey Him. He tells us in His word why it's so much better His way.  He shows us examples of how it works out better when we obey and he begs, draws us in, woos us toward Himself, commands and promises reward for obedience to him.  And oh we fight it.  We kick and scream and justify and negotiate and try everything to get out of it, but when we FINALLY give in, we find REST for our souls.
We learn that the burden is easy.  The yoke is light.  And we feel so much better afterwards, don't we?? “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” - Matthew 11:28-30 MSG (boldface mine)
So this afternoon, give into it.  Loosen your fists.  Drop your shoulders.  Relax your closed eyes.  Give in to Him.  And find rest.