Ideally, we recognize our need for emotional rest – a time to be able relax OUR BRAINS from working over time – before we hit the wall.
But that’s not the way we silly humans usually operate.
Absolutely there are ways we can help to settle things down in our brains. We need to recreate. Re-create. We need to step back sometimes to gain perspective about who we are, what are goals are, how to make life function more smoothly. How to make our brain function more smoothly. Emotional rest is a vital component to health, happiness and holiness.
Emotional rest prepares us to be better parents. Better sons and daughters, better people.
Here’s a crazy thing.
We experience emotional rest at its finest in the context of relationships. Healthy, supportive relationships where we can know that NO MATTER WHAT EMOTIONS WE ARE HAVING – we are safe.
The pinnacle relationship, of course, is with God. Yup. But most of us (I mean me), somewhere on the vast, long and winding road of spiritual growth, are experiencing God through the relationships we have with others. It’s a frustrating thing, though. Humans disappoint. Humans can’t always be there. Humans can’t be all that we need them to be. And it’s in our times of vulnerability that we need them the most. When we need emotional rest the most, is often the hardest time for a) us to reach out and b) others to respond so that we feel safe.
So we are on hyper-over-time-defense-mode so much of our lives.
It’s a healthy individual that isn’t in that mode all the time.
Here’s a kicker. Our kids need emotional rest, too. Emotional rest comes for them when their emotions, so powerful that they can’t handle them on their own, can be supported by us, the grown-ups. We can use the soft voice, wrap them in our arms, stroke their cheek when they are frantic and in need of emotional rest. We should not be adding to their brain overload by our anger, harsh words, lack of empathy.
When they are frantic, they are reaching out in the only way they know how, seeking emotional rest in our arms.
Those little kids are not just trying to make you mad. They are trying to make you respond in love.
Maybe that’s a big heavy. Maybe that’s just one more demand that gets added to our own overload. But here’s the coolest thing. When we are kind, tender, thoughtful, holding it together so that another may rest on us in the intensity of their emotions, WE GET REST. We are rejuvenated. We calm down. We grow.
Think about this a moment. If you are feeling frantic, overwhelmed, beside yourself and someone enters your sphere who is worse off than you and you have the wherewithal to respond tenderly, what happens? We take a deep breath, we hold the person who is more frantic, more upset than us. We realize our worries are small and life is good. We recognize that giving to one in need gives us strength and solace. We gain calm. Is it the physical touch? Is it the sacrifice we make? Is it being pulled out of our brains and into our physical bodies in comforting another? I don’t know. Perhaps all those things.
It’s like we get an upgrade in our relationship with God. Grace abounds.
When we strive to become more perfect, as He has requested of us. Providing emotional rest to another gives us emotional rest.