My child is finally asleep for his nap, and I have (maybe) two hours to myself—to rest, to recharge, to let my body recover from hours of repeatedly picking him and myself up off of the floor. Constant playing, teaching, singing, and negotiating takes a physical and mental toll on me. But, when he falls asleep, instead of taking the time to decompress, my mind goes into overdrive:
“Two full hours of Me Time. What project should I tackle today?”
And down the to-do list I go, pondering which home improvement or creative project to cross off my running inventory of things that must get done ASAP. In what feels like minutes, the final buzzer sounds, and my toddler is fully rested and up from his nap. I, on the other hand, am more exhausted than when I laid him down to bed in the first place.
Because to let myself rest—truly, simply rest—had never occurred to me until I learned to pray at more than just my bedtime.
Growing up, I was instructed to say my prayers right before falling asleep. As I grew older, the instructions never changed. Neither did my faith. I matured as a person, but the way I saw and related to God stayed exactly the same. One day, though, someone happened to mention that prayer could be an ongoing dialogue with God, a two-way communication that lasts all day. And my first thought was,
“God can talk to me?!”
I was baffled and maybe a tiny bit afraid. But what I learned was that the type of prayer I’d been doing since childhood is the kind where I talk to God, and I was just missing the kind of prayer where I open myself to listening, as well. And, to do that, all I have to do is sit and be still.
Now, for the first twenty minutes of my child’s nap, I sit in silence with God. I don’t thank Him or ask of Him or talk to Him at all, really. I sit in silence and quiet my mind. I tell all my thoughts (including the ones about the urgent to-do list) to take a temporary hike.
I am still, and I let Him fight for me in ways I will never comprehend.
Only in stillness do our frenzies fall away to reveal our real, rested selves. Only in stillness can we truly let God in.