On the Side: March 2020
Rest in the Rush
by Shelly Wyrick
My life hasn’t always been busy. My husband’s residency, for example, was not a busy time for me. He, of course, had an overloaded schedule, but I had left the workforce and entered life as a stay-at-home mom. Difficult? Yes, beautifully difficult. Rushed? Not so much.
Today, 13 years later, my calendar looks like a word search puzzle. When you look closely, however, it’s not my personal agenda that swamps the schedule. As the mom of four and the wife of a medical man, I’m mostly managing other peoples’ busy.
Growing up, I remember my mom managing a different area of my life—my diet. My dad’s father had died of a heart attack. Mom knew Dad had high cholesterol that could have predisposed him to a similar fate. So, as long as she was cooking, it was healthy. My mom took responsibility for the diet of her household, and as a consequence, I inherited a remarkably nutritious childhood.
Can we, as wives of medical men, influence our spouses’ busy schedules the way my mom shaped my childhood diet? Why bother?
Rest is a commandment. And in Exodus 31:13, God uses strong words in telling the Israelites to honor the Sabbath. “You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you” (NASB). Rest is foundational to our faith.
In his YouVersion Bible app devotional, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, author Mark Comer points out that rush is in direct opposition of love, joy and peace. It’s so true. If I play back any memory of being in a hurry, I can unanimously, and unfortunately, see a lack of love, a fizzling of joy and an absence of peace. What’s more, I don’t just lack love, joy and peace, I lack any fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (NASB). Nope, Natta, Nilch. The entire produce list has vanished from any hurried replay. Rush repels the Holy Spirit’s fruit in my life.
But if I’m honest, my family’s rush isn’t going to disappear.
Always Busy, Never Rushed
We can make hard, good choices to scale back the busy, but there’s more. What I’m really after, regardless of schedule, is the rest. I love this about Jesus—He was always busy, but never rushed. As I read about Him and His busy-saving-the-whole-world life, I see how He managed to balance rush with rest. It was His posture. Rest may have been a scheduled event, but He was also often leaning forward, going toward rest in His Father as a habit more than an occasion. “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35, NASB). Yet just as Jesus left to pray, people sought Him out. He was consistently bombarded with other peoples’ issues. He was often moving toward rest, but He was interrupted and interruptible. What if we go through our busy day surveying for the next pit stop, leaning toward it, making space for it? Not only that, what if we seek rest with an expectation that we’ll be interrupted?
The pursuit of rest is critical. But, as medical wives, there’s more. We can do more than taste the sweetness of Sabbath ourselves, we can create an environment that fosters rest for those around us, including our medical spouses. My childhood was undeniably the most nutritious phase of my life because my mom held high standards for my dad’s eating habits. She wanted him to live a long life, so she cooked that way. Her influence not only helped my dad, but our whole household benefited. Well into their 70’s, they’re still making healthy choices!
We can do the same with rest. We can model it, we can foster it, we can fight for it. This means making hard choices when we want to commit to good activities but decline to in order to make breathing room in our family’s schedule.
Jesus was busy, and Jesus was always available. Always interruptible. People mattered and He had time for them. As I take more opportunities to rest, I’m trying to be more interruptible, more available. It’s not always natural for me to leave the dirty dishes to sit by the sick kid on the couch or to take a power nap so I’m not dozing at 8:30 p.m. when my man walks in the door and has a moment to sit down, rest and talk.
What an influential opportunity, to be rested enough to say with our actions, “I’m here, I’m available, let’s rest.”
Shelly Wyrick is a physical therapist turned stay-at-home mom of four and power napper. This summer she’ll celebrate 20 years of marriage to her medical manly man. With her family, she enjoys their faux farm life, the outdoors and jogging.