2 Speeds

Burning my candle at both endsTwo.  That’s all.  I think most of the time I have two speeds—full speed ahead and completely stopped.  Finding something in between seems impossible most of the time.

I’m not sure how this happened.  I think part of this propensity is hard-wired into my system.  My parents talk about me as a baby pulling myself up in my crib, listening, not wanting to miss a thing while their friends visited till late at night.  The stories go that I would stand with rapt attention till they all left.  Then I’d crash.

In college, I learned I needed to study regularly to succeed—a different norm from high school.  Along the way, I seem to have convinced myself that burning both ends of the proverbial candle would allow me to have both academic success and a social life.  My memories of Christmas vacations during college include lots of tissues and cold medicine.  When I slowed down, I crashed.

This pattern didn’t change for the better when I started teaching.  Six to Seven unique preps kept me busy before, during and after school.  While teaching at boarding school more responsibilities were squeezed into my schedule.  I certainly wasn’t going to let let time with friends fall by the wayside either.

While I probably don’t socialize as much in the current Colorado chapter of my life, the candle still manages to get smaller all the time.  My summers?  Crazy.  The rest of the year?  It’s interlaced with trainings, projects, catching up from the craziness, researching, traveling, working on projects,  developing my support team, and oh yeah—I’m supposed to rest.

I’m not even sure if I know how to rest and rejuvenate.  I know how to stop.  Well, actually my body knows how to stop.  I’m beginning to detect a pattern.  After a few years here, I had major surgery that necessitated halting regular life for six weeks.  Three years ago my body rebelled and I wound up in the hospital three separate times for a week each time.  In November my Achilles repair set me aside for about six weeks.

I’ve learned recovery is rest in some ways, but not in others.  While I may be sitting still, my body is hard at work repairing itself.  It’s more restful than working, but it’s not the same as resting.

For me part of resting is creating.  It’s scrapbooking.  It’s making cards.  It’s sitting at the beach.  It’s riding a horse.  It’s sitting with a good friend while enjoying a cup of coffee and good conversation.  It’s laughing till I cry.  It’s sitting in the corner of a cafe with my journal , coffee (again), a pen that glides across the paper, and the book I’m reading.

I rarely find this speed.  Occasionally I squeeze it in.  I know it’s something I need to figure out.  I know when I rest my body will heal, my strength will last longer; I’ll be a better version of me.  A rested version of me—the me that more accurately reflects God, the creator of rest.

How many speeds do you have?  Have you found the rest speed?

photo courtesy of gfpeck

FaithBarista_Rest2JamBadge

Today I’ve joined the Faith Barista’s Faith Jam.  Every week Bonnie’s asking other bloggers to “jam like musicians” on a faith and life related topic.  This is my riff on “Rest.”  I’d love to read your thoughts on the topic.  Please leave a comment or a link to your blog if you’ve jammed on this.  And if you haven’t blogged on it, please leave some of your thoughts in the comment section below.  If you’re interested in seeing what others had to say, please follow the link over to the Faith Barista site.

Tags: , , , ,

22 Responses to “2 Speeds”

  1. TirzahMarch 3, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    I have learned in the past 15 months that two speeds may be more natural than we think. Look at Sarah – she runs all day and then it takes her no more than 10.2 seconds to fall asleep and stay that way for 12+ hours. I think somewhere in the journey of life we forget how to do this. So we feel this constant need to find balance when maybe that’s the wrong goal. Maybe giving all we have for a day (or a summer) and taking a long rest is better. Don’t get me wrong! I’m glad we don’t stay 15 months old forever. I just think there is something to be learned there. God din’t create something for 8 hours, take a 16 hour break and then create something for 8 more hours (with an hour for lunch, of course!). He took 6 days and then one day of rest.

  2. SherylMarch 3, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    I see what you’re saying, Tirzah. I’m not convinced that there’s not a third speed. I bomb through my day. I rarely have trouble sleeping when my head hits the pillow—if I do, 99% of the time it’s because I mixed up the caffeinated coffee with the decaf. I know a 15 month old’s job is to grow and learn through play, exploration and relationship. As much as I love what I do, there’s not always a lot of play involved. Even when it looks like we’re playing, I’m being vigilant about a dozen other things, observing, evaluating, reformulating. I’m sure Moms do those things, too. I think I’m missing the speed of recreation—the rest that leads to renewal. We have no clue how long it took God to create everything. Did he simply say, “Mars—be read and have canals.” “Saturn be bigger than that, now let’s add a braided ring, now one full of meteors . . . ” Did it take him 16 hours? No clue. I don’t know. I’m just pretty sure that I’m missing something.

  3. kelliMarch 3, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    You are right we really do have to be intentional to rest. I go on fast speed all day long and Im pretty sure I dont stop unless Im sick. Even then mamas cant afford to be sick and rest! Thats why I love spending time with God in the morning. Before the rush. Before the hustle and bustle begins…thats the only way I survive!!:) Wonderful post!!!

  4. SherylMarch 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Kelli—I think Moms are probably some of the people most in need of rest anywhere in the world. You do it all! I am so NOT a morning person, but I can see how little ones might force you to be so you can get some fresh and uninterrupted time with God. May you find strength for your day from the only source! Thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement!

  5. Lindsey van NiekerkMarch 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Wow! I think you are seriously in my head, writing my story/personality from having two speeds, to how you were as a child, to what you did in college, to how you approached your work life post-college, to health issued FORCING you to slow down…..I think we have lived almost parallel lives. God has been teaching me about slowing down and resting in Him and that THAT IS my purpose for this season. Not easy for this little Energizer bunny! Thank you for sharing your journey! It seriously encourages me!

  6. Lindsey van NiekerkMarch 3, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    P.S. Joining you from the Jam at Faith Barista! 😉

  7. Lindsey van NiekerkMarch 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    P.P.S. I am a TKC!!!

  8. Lindsey van NiekerkMarch 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Oh my….this is getting crazy…but I meant….

    T. C. K. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. SherylMarch 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    I can’t wait to read your post . . . I think I’m quite fond of you already, Lindsey!

  10. Evelyn KientzlerMarch 3, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    HI SHERYL: BEING RETIRED NOW THE LAST TEN YEARS SEEMS AS IF ALL I DO IS REST. BUT, NOT EVERY DAY. SOME DAYS I AM TOOOOO BUSY, THEN THE NEXT DAY I AM WORN OUT AND FALL ASLEEP WITH A BOOK IN MY HANDS MID AFTERNOON. I DO KEEP BUSY. I STARTED A GAME NIGHT FOR A BUNCH OF US SENIOR LADIES FROM CHURCH TWICE A MONTH.ON TUESDAY NIGHTS. GLADYS MC LEOD HAS IT THE SECOND TUES. I GO TO WARWICK VALLEY SENIORS MEETING EACH WEDNESDAY MORNING TO SET UP REFRESHMENTS, AFTER THE MEETING WE PLAY A GAME OF PEKENO, HOME FOR SUPPER, THEN PRAYER MEETING AT 7 PM AND CHOIR REHERSAL AT 8 PM. AND HOME BEFORE TEN TO WATCH TOM SELLEK ON TV AS A POLICE COMMISSIONER. REALLY A GOOD STORY.
    I NEVER HAD TIME TO READ BOOKS WHEN I WAS WORKING AND RAISING DEB AND MARK SO NOW I AM MAKING UP FOR ALL THOSE YEARS. I AM NOW A BOOK WORM.
    TRY TO MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF, AND FOR GOD. REST, EVEN IF IT IS FOR TEN MINUTES.
    LOVE YOU.

  11. Evelyn KientzlerMarch 3, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    P.S WHEN I WORKED AND DIDN’T GET ENOUGH REST, I WAS ALWAYS SICK. EXCEPT FOR ALL THE “OLD AGE” STUFF I HAVE TO TAKE MEDICATIONS FOR, I FEEL I AM HEALTHIER NOW THAN EVER BEFORE. IT MUST BE THE VITAMINS AND FLU SHOTS I GET. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?

  12. RoseMarch 3, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    I tend to be full speed ahead but in January I crashed so hard I realized I had no choice but to learn to slow down a little. I needed to allow myself more down time, and more time to persue the creative outlets that refueled me. The last few months have been much better.

  13. RuthMarch 3, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    Slowing down (and not be choice) reminds me that it is not about me, but all about Him! God has a way of getting us too see that He can use us when we think we’re doing nothing. The joy of the Lord is my strength! Thanks for the encouragement of friends who love God and share their real heart!

  14. SherylMarch 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    Evelyn–Whenever I visit you always seem like you’re on the go. You’re certainly not going to die of boredom! 🙂 I’m glad you have the time you need to rest and read and enjoy life.

    Rose—forced slowing isn’t any fun when it first happens. It sounds like you’ve found the upside of a slower pace. I’m glad you’ve found a much better pace.

    Ruth—you’re so right! It’s not about me—ever. I’m always amazed at what God chooses to use.

  15. JewelMarch 4, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Sheryl,

    I enjoyed your post. I can relate. It seems like no matter which side of the ocean, no matter what season of life, my life doesn’t slow down. A few days ago, I cried out to the Lord about something on my heart and asked him for ONE WORD — just ONE WORD that I would know that I know that I know is from Him to me right now. Do you know what one word came to my mind? REST. I believe He has told me I am going to enter into a season of REST in my life. I am being intentional about it. I am already noticing a difference. Stay posted!

    Love you!
    Jewel

  16. SherylMarch 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Rest is such a good word! I’m looking forward to hearing how you’re resting in the midst of the insaneness of life. I love how God answers. You and Jean taught me about specific prayers—he delights in answering specific prayers. I love you, too!

  17. Better is PossibleMarch 5, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Hi Sheryl.
    Oh yeah. I totally get the two speeds…until one day I had one speed. No speed. It took me almost two years to recover enough to return to teaching. Since then (16 years ago) I’ve practiced pacing myself. I’ve learned to say and use the word no. The balance I learned through my forced rest has stayed with me.
    Take care, listen to your body.
    Practice rest….it does a body good!
    Carol

  18. SherylMarch 5, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Thanks for stopping by, Carol. Teaching is a huge drain that most people don’t understand. I thought I was doing pretty well at saying, “No.” My Dad had even stopped making me practice. 🙂 Apparently I haven’t been doing as well as I thought. I’m trying today to listen to my body and not the “shoulds” ripping through my mind.

  19. CherylMarch 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Wonderful post, as usual, my dear.
    You are right about the need for rest. Right now I’m feeling as though I need to listen not only to my body, but also to my heart about what I need. The pace out here in the country is quite slow, but like you said above, rest is hardest for moms…
    I love you. Let’s talk soon.
    Soul

  20. SherylMarch 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Thanks, Soul. I’m trying to rest today—just kick back. Stay in my pj’s as long as possible. Spend some time in the Psalms. Stay off my foot. Going to crash the alumni thing tonight, so I suppose I have to get presentable at some point. 🙂 Praying for you to find the quiet and rest you need. Yes—let’s talk soon. I’m skypeless at the moment. Hopefully that will change by the end of next week.

    I love you, too—
    Soul

  21. Melissa BrothertonMarch 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Isn’t it funny that when we think of rest we think of ceasing. Instead, rest can be activities that recharge us, like those you mentioned. So often my husband will encourage me to go write in my journal, run to the local Starbucks, take a bubble bath or go shopping. He knows that those activities reenergize me, and allow me to get back to the responsibilities at hand. Great post, Sheryl! 🙂

  22. SherylMarch 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Your husband is a wise man, Melissa! I’m glad you have him to keep you going. This weekend I’ve really been trying to do things that will help me feel refreshed and ready to tackle the week ahead. I’m off to watch a movie and maybe do something creative at the same time. Thanks for stopping by! Jamming with you is always a pleasure.

Leave a Reply