The hammock was always hung on the first day of school.
Since we were homeschooling at the time, the hammock became a cool back-to-school tradition. I thought it would certainly be a sweet reading spot for my middle school aged-son.
On gorgeous fall afternoons, I would suggest reading in the hammock or outside in the fresh air and sunshine. My son promptly refused, claiming it was far too distracting to read outside. Not wanting my efforts to go to waste, I decided that I would read in the hammock in his place.
I read for five minutes and then promptly fell asleep.
At first, I felt guilty about wasting productive time by snoozing. Soon the napping, I mean reading hammock became a ritual. Sometimes I simply closed my eyes and rested. Other times, I would think or pray while admiring the shape of the trees overhead. Whatever I needed, I knew I could count on that tiny oasis of rest any time I wanted.
At the time, I didn't understand I was doing hard stuff. Homeschooling was exhausting and I was trying with all my heart to do it well. It required a lot of me. In hindsight, those hammock moments were not just a nice idea. They were what allowed me to survive and thrive in that season.
Where do you go when you need to shut out the world for a little while?
Matthew 11:28 says, "Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest." I think the hardest part is the first few words, "Come to me." Rest requires surrender. We have to lay it all down. We have to invite in heavenly provision knowing we cannot do it in our own strength.
This week I decided to put out the hammock again. I'm not homeschooling anymore and I can literally lay down in my bed without anyone even knowing at all. But the hammock is more the visual reminder that rest is always available to me. And it's available to you too.
Maybe you don't have a hammock, but you have a quiet closet or a tucked-away corner of your home. Or maybe you have a serene little grassy patch in your yard. Whatever a resting place looks like for you, find it. Visit it often -- if only to be reminded you don't have to do it all on your own.
Where can you go when you need a rest?
How can you practice resting in Christ today?
Rest is always available whenever you need it, you only have to show up.