Learning to Rest
What a better weekend to learn how to rest, than a three-day weekend!
My dad and his parents were all born in Germany and came over to America when he was eight years old. That makes me very German, well at least half of me is very German. With my German heritage, comes a lot of stereotypical traits, mostly being incredibly stubborn and a bit of a perfectionist. This is ok in some circumstances… It makes me a fighter and I don’t like to quit or give up. It helps me accomplish hard things in an average sized world. The downside… knowing when it’s ok to rest and it’s ok to take a break. Learning that it’s ok not to be perfect, although this was stretched this weekend...
For the past year or so, I’ve been on a major health journey with Mr. Little, as obesity tends to be a big struggle in people with dwarfism. So far I’ve lost 22 pounds and have another 10-20 to go. Before I have children, I want to get to a healthy weight so I’m not at risk when I gain extra pregnancy weight. One thing I’m extremely good at is planning (I’m a C on the DISC Test). I find that if I have the right plan, it makes success come a lot easier to me. However, if for whatever reason, I can’t accomplish something in my plan, it makes me frustrated. This is probably where the German perfectionist traits come alive. On my journey to health, my success has come greatly from planning out my workouts; so when I can’t follow through on a plan, it makes me feel like I won’t have a successful week or that I have failed.
A few weeks ago, I started the Bikini Body Guide, by Kayla Itsines. It’s a 12-24 week program that combines LISS training, HIIT training, and Resistance training - usually 7x a week. My brain does not function well, unless I organize all of my workouts into a specific plan. This helps me know how to accomplish each workout needed, while still taking days to rest. I like having it mapped out and I like having order. So at the start of the program, my planning skills went into full force and I planned out the entire first 12 weeks. I planned the days I would do which type of training, in order to accommodate prior commitments during the week, my work schedule, as well as when the gym is available.
All was going incredibly well, until real life kicked in and I picked up a cold from a co-worker on Friday. My head was groggy, my throat hurt, I was dizzy, and I just didn’t feel good. When I came home from work, I had to decide whether I was going to do my resistance training for the day, or take the day off from working out. This gave me anxiety... Mentally, every part of me was wanting to complete my planned workout, but physically, my body needed rest. I went back and forth until my body finally won and I caved to rest. Mr. Little had some brilliant advice. He said, “Exercising helps your body. When you're sick, sleep and rest also help your body. If the overall goal is to help your body, and if you're sick, you should probably just rest.” Finally, I put my plan down, and gave into some much needed rest.
Looking back, it seems incredibly silly. Of course the smart thing to do is rest. We were designed for rest. When God created the Universe, He rested on the 7th day. He then declared the seventh day Holy and it became the Sabbath (Genesis 2). If we were created for rest, why is it so difficult sometimes? When I chose rest over my plan, I initially felt like a failure. I didn’t meet the goals I created for myself. My body was failing on me, but my mind was going 100%, and I was becoming captive to the lies of the enemy. The lies that tell you that you suck, or that you failed. They’re called lies for a reason but we all hear them occasionally. However, when I put my German stubbornness and perfectionism aside, and trust that God’s plan is far better than any plan I can create, I end up feeling so much better.
After a weekend of fully resting, I am certain that we were created for rest. Our bodies need it. Our muscles need it. Our minds need it. We all need to unplug, unwind, and just learn to 'be' instead of 'do.' I’m a 'do-er' by nature. I have a hard time sitting still and like to be busy. Although, after a weekend of learning how to 'be' - the kind that just lays in bed all day drinking coffee and watching mindless television - I was so refreshed.
I’m thankful for reminders to take breaks and to rest. I’m thankful for encouraging husbands that remind me that resting doesn’t make me a failure. I’m thankful for three-day weekends and an extra day to learn life lessons. I can’t say I’ve completely learned how to rest. It’s a journey and a process, but after this weekend, I may be one step closer.