One of the many reasons I love my adopted state of Texas, is for their use of frontage roads along many of the main highways that surround where I live.
Growing up in Ohio if I was headed almost anywhere that took the highway and there was an accident further on down the stretch, unless it was minor, you could be stuck where you are and be crawling along like a snail with the rest of the traffic until either the accident cleared or a detour was created. Rubbernecking was a finely tuned aspect of driving in Ohio.
So when my newly licensed self started driving solo, I started finding different ways to get home, to my work, to school, almost anywhere honestly. Partly to know the potential detours if accidents occurred and also because I liked taking the roads less traveled a la Robert Frost.
Lately, due to a variety of news stories and 24/7 coverage of them, as well as, our almost constant need to stay connected via social media and such; it has been hard to find moments of quiet without feeling like I’ve missed something vital and important. Fear of missing out (FOMO) can be a thing we all struggle with sometimes and I noticed that when I get wrapped up in wanting to “know all and see all” other parts of my life suffer. Though I was gently reminded of needing spiritual rest very recently due to traffic and the frontage roads if you can imagine.
I was heading to an appointment that wasn’t too far away, but 35 was the main road to get there. (35 is similar to I-71 for those Ohioans reading) There was a slight problem though, there was a backup of some sort happening in all the lanes. (probably construction related) Given the exit that I needed was only a few miles up from where I was, I opted to use the frontage road. Yes, they’re usually slower because the speed limit is lower and there are more pauses in the drive due to the stop signs and four-way stops, but all things considered, it was faster than waiting on 35 for traffic to start moving again.
That whole scenario got me thinking: how often do we feel flooded with information, opinions, top ten lists and the 5 best things to keep in your kitchen and forget to take a little detour to rest? Often there are articles about focusing on our self and having “me time”, but honestly taking the time for myself seems to be a waste when there are so many other things I want to do, or think NEED, to be completed.
That lack of rest (a la FOMO) can be hard to pinpoint until we are already overdue for it. When I unknowingly need a break from too much information I tend to be snappy, annoyed with others and short with my kids and the Mister. I am grumpy for seemingly no reason, but in truth I need to rest from the overflow of information and the stress as best I can.
In Hebrews 4:10 [HCSB] we are reminded to consider this: For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His.
So, you might be thinking “wait, God rests?” Yes, and He wants us to do the same. He offers to help us do exactly that. Now when you seek to rest, there needs to be a balance. Unfortunately we don’t have fully autonomous and self-cleaning houses yet, but I’m sure there’s an app for some parts of that to happen already.
Taking a rest could be something as simple as taking the time it takes to brew that extra cup of coffee or tea in the morning and just waiting for it to finish brewing, then savoring the whole cup without being interrupted. It’s tricky, I know, but as long as the children and animals are safe and uninjured they’ll be okay for the 10 minutes or so that you sit and savor that cup. Though, it would be wise to check that there aren’t any rogue sharpies or scissors around if your toddler decides to become the next Jackson Pollock when you’re not looking.
I know taking time for yourself when you’ve got so much to do is hard, but no matter what you have on your to-do list, you can’t get it done if you’re struggling to maintain yourself. Your cup needs to have something in it before you to pour yourself into others.
And, for me, this simple statement that is full of meaning and hope: “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.“ (Matthew 11:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
So detours may seem bad and time-consuming, but we all need moments or periods or rest; physical, mental and especially spiritual. Try and find that frontage road in your life to minimize the flow of information that can lead to FOMO and give yourself a chance to recharge and reset. You might be surprised how you feel after even a brief detour.