Winter Blues


I've just emerged from a husband-imposed, 24-hour period of hibernation.It might be that I was finally bottoming out from the adrenalin rush of the holidays, my New Year’s inspirations had reach their last fizzle and pop, or I was at my limit of small children cooped up for one month too long. It probably was a combination of all of them. Call it the winter blues, but these last dreary days before spring are always hard for me. I find myself exhausted, drained, and generally out of sorts.My husband is quick to pick up on it—usually after the third night in a row that we’ve had hot dogs for supper—and so this weekend, he came home from work, packed me up, and shipped me off to a guest bedroom in a friend’s basement. My instructions: to sleep, read, and most importantly rest.

It was quiet, dark, and cool. It was lovely.

We human beings sure have a hard time taking a hint. Winter is the perfect time to hibernate. But instead, while the earth around us is shutting down and going dormant, most of us (myself included) actually insist on INCREASING our productivity. Shorter day-light hours? No problem, we’ve got Day Light Savings Time and electricity. Cold weather that invites you to snuggle up in a blanket and read? Nope, got a heat-pump for that one. Now get up and be industrious. Bad road conditions that any sensible being would take as a sign from God to stay inside? Snow plows, four-wheel drive, and tire chains.

We’re really just like children.

One of the infuriating ironies of parenting is that children simply don’t know how to rest. After those first new born days of sleeping for what seems like 24 hours in a row, they come out of hibernation and no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to convince them to go back. This world is just too interesting, mommy is too warm and snugly, and feeding is too satisfying to be interrupted by sleep. Even if we can eventually get them on some kind of healthy sleep rhythm, when they get a couple years older, they inevitably fight bedtime and wake at ridiculously inhumane hours asking for breakfast.

You’d think that something as inviting, as refreshing, as sweet as rest wouldn’t be so hard to pass up.

But it is. And it is one of the very first things that we adults abandon in our self-sufficient quest for productivity and success. So much so, that God Himself--who doesn’t actually need rest – had to model it for us in case we missed the point. (Which we did.) From the seventh day of Creation, to the Sabbath mandates of the Old Testament, to the promises of eternal rest, our Father has been on a quest to teach His children how to sleep through the night. And just like our children, we have resisted Him, confident that there are better things to see and do in this world than rest.

But just like our children without proper sleep, when we refuse to take His cues about our limitations, we become cranky, out of sorts and nearly impossible to deal with. And just like our children when they become that way, the best thing to do for them is to impose nap time--to force them to rest. So if, like I was, you’re feeling that generally displaced moodiness that comes so often this time of year, maybe it’s time you found a guest bedroom in a friend’s basement. (You can drop your kids off at my house on the way.) Turn off the lights, cuddle up under the covers, and do what your Father has been trying to get you to do along. Rest in Him.