“It’s okay to have grilled cheese for dinner, you know.”

Believe it or not, I found those to be great words of wisdom from a friend. Encouragement at a time I needed it.

I was sick. I wondered aloud whether I could actually do something like take a nap. My friend reminded me that it was okay to take a break. That it was okay to not always work hard at everything.

Why can resting sometimes be the most difficult thing?

I am an achiever by nature. I like to get things done. I like to do my best. And so, when I read the Bible, I focus on verses like Colossians 3:23

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”

When I read that, I think, “Yes. I’m doing pretty well at this Christian life thing.” But then I read I verses like Exodus 20:11

“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Oh. That one I’m not so good at.

If God rested, why do I think I don’t need to?

Because sometimes rest feels like a burden. Rest may mean I can’t check everything off my to-do list. Rest may mean that I have to settle for a mediocre outcome on something I wanted to be fabulous. Rest may mean I have to say “no” to something I wanted to say “yes” to.

Rest means I have to shift my priorities. It can be frustratingly difficult.

But it is meant to be a gift.

God instituted the Sabbath after the Israelites left their lives as slaves in Egypt. He was releasing them. Reminding them that they did not have to work every moment of every day. With Yahweh as their God, they did not have to live as slaves anymore.

With Yahweh as our God, we do not have to live as slaves anymore either. We are not slaves to tasks or goals or recognitions.

Rest is a reminder that the world keeps spinning even if I am not running on it. One less checked-off task does not bring the earth to a halt. Rest is a reminder that it is okay to be average sometimes. Maybe even below average.

Because my value as a human being is not based on what I do; it is based on what I am. And I am a beloved child of God. I do not have to earn that identity; I just have to accept it.

So today, I want to say to you what my friend said to me.

It is okay.

It is okay to not be fashionable.
It is okay to get a B (or even a C) in a class.
It is okay to leave work at 5 pm.
It is okay to buy pre-made Valentines and not craft your own.
It is okay to go to bed before your inbox is emptied.
It is okay to take breaks from social media.
It is okay to not stay up-to-date with every current event.
It is okay to let other people down.
It is okay to sometimes take the easy way, even if it is not the best way.

It is okay.

I did end up taking a nap. And the house wasn’t picked up when my husband got home. And we made frozen pizza for dinner. And I wore a sweatshirt. And my kids had too much screen time. And I didn’t read any of my book.

And it was okay. The world kept spinning. And I kept being loved.

What “It’s Okay…” statement do you need to say to yourself today? What do you wish you could say to someone else? Do you ever have trouble resting?