on fake resting


I am the multi-tasking queen. At breakfast time while the toast is cooking, I make the lunches. While the kids are eating breakfast, I unstack the dishwasher. While Mr makes the coffee, I run sight-words with my youngest, and check the homework folders.

It has become a point of pride for me. How efficient I can be, how much I can get done simultaneously.

Even after the girls go to school, it is not unheard of, for Mr to receive a text detailing all I have accomplished in my first hour of the morning.

And yet, resting. Resting is harder. Oh I say I rest. But what I mean is in my allocated rest time, I promptly commence another task.

In her recent book Present over Perfect, Shauna Niequist talks about this concept of fake resting:

It looks like I’m resting … but I’m not. I’m ticking down an endless list, sometimes written, always mental, getting things back into their right spots, changing the laundry, wiping down the countertops.

The trouble with fake-resting is that we never actually get genuine down-time. We never really get the soul-restoration that our hearts and bodies require.

The other day I unplugged and put away the toaster with toast still in it!

My kids were sitting at the table waiting patiently for their toast and I on my efficiency drive, tidied up.

Let’s be clear it hadn’t even popped up yet! It was still in the process of cooking their toast!

I didn’t even realise there was still bread in the toaster. I hadn’t paused long enough, been present enough, noticed enough.

As Shauna Niequist highlights, when we fake-rest instead of real-rest, we end up real-tired.

So I acknowledge that I need to rest. And I sit in my chair, and I grab a magazine from the pile next to me. The pile of cooking magazines that I am working through, finding recipes I want to keep and discarding the rest. And I am suddenly immersed in another task. I am fake-resting again.

Eugene Peterson says ‘busyness is an illness of the spirit’. Is that why I can’t sit still? Is that why I constantly have to have something in my hand, endlessly scrolling, or cleaning? Do I know how to genuinely rest, to be quiet and still?

It becomes a discipline, forcing myself to actually stop, to really rest.

Like exercise I start slowly. Little moments of pause at first, teaching my body’s resting muscles what it feels like. Then as they get stronger, longer periods of down-time, with no task to hand, nothing that needs to be ticked off the list. As my body reaps the benefit of real rest, my soul is restored.

Join me for the journey,




2 thoughts on “on fake resting

  1. This is so true, Jodie!! Especially with a toddler, my spare time is scant, and I feel guilty if I don’t spend that time tidying, doing laundry, writing, cooking – anything productive! I will spend days craving an hour on the couch with an episode of Gilmore Girls before I actually force myself to do it!

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