He hikes mountains in Colorado. His biceps are the size of my head. He replaces pipeline running to our house with his bare hands. He shoots guns, kills snakes, rides four-wheelers, and could fight any guy that challenges him, winning every time. My husband is the definition of a MAN.
Yet, in our twelve years of marriage, we had never been camping.
Because he doesn’t want to go to bed without a hot shower. Apparently he has to smell like the Old Spice guy before his head hits the pillow.
I LOVE camping. Love being out in nature, adventures in the woods, gazing at the stars, building a fire- it all speaks to me in an other-worldly way. It didn’t make sense to me that this manly-man of mine was not interested in camping unless it was 20 degrees out so he wouldn’t sweat and disturb his beauty sleep.
So, for our “one year anniversary” of moving to Texas, we did the only reasonable thing: We went camping. Finally. We reminisced about what happened since our move, a sort-of “year-end review” for our marriage and all the changes we had experienced. We only had a few precious hours, so we packed a few things and found to a campsite not far away. We secured a great location right by a lake, surrounded by woods and winding paths through the open beauty that is Texas.
And there, under a starry sky and the sound of campers nearby, I experienced something I hadn’t in a while:
Freedom from Responsibility.
In the absence of kids, a house, laundry- it was as if I was only responsible for…Me. And all Me wanted to do was sit in a lawn chair, listen to the lapping waves, and take in the setting sun. Although we were only there for a grand total of 14 hours, including sleep, it was as if I had completely reset to “start-up mode.”
“There is nothing better for man than to eat, drink, and enjoy his work. I have seen that even this is from God’s hand, because who can eat and who can enjoy life apart from Him?”
When we cross the threshold into adulthood, we accumulate responsibility in a weighty form that we carry the rest of our lives. In this big world of “adult-ing” we don’t get the privilege of responsibility-free living. We are ALWAYS responsible to someone or something.
Rest from our hard work is something God has gifted to us. He knows the importance of it. It’s the belief that when we are free from the pressure to perform, we can be our true selves and enjoy the fruits of our labor. The responsibility lifts and we can breathe a little easier, experience life more freely.
Relaxation is vital to experiencing the world God crafted for you.
What does this “Responsibility-Free Living” look like in the Willis home?
The best example is when the hubby goes out of town…Because when Joey goes out of town, I break all the rules. This is strange, considering I am the one who makes the rules and implements them (Joey would love rule-free living!) but when our schedule is different than normal because my spouse is gone-
I do what I want.
The kids stay up later. We go for walks in the park, in the dark, without flashlights (my snake-fearing hubby would KILL me). I binge watch HGTV at night and eat cake in bed (did I mention I typically don’t even like cake?!) The “rest” I find in lack of responsibility is lived out when I literally REST from my mom and wife duties.
When was the last time YOU ate cake in bed? Stayed up later than you should, just because? Went camping and slept under the stars? Where is your place without responsibility? Where can you go, put your feet up, and say, “Don’t ask me. I’m not in charge.”
If you can’t remember the last time you felt carefree, it’s time to make time. This doesn’t require a ton of money (or even the absence of kids), it just requires some creativity!
Here are some ideas to jog the ol’ “Responsibility-filled” memory:
*Your backyard: Cookout, sit in lawn chairs, fill a cooler with ice and drinks so you don’t even have to go inside! The messy bedrooms become “out of sight, out of mind” and the kids may just entertain themselves in ::gasp:: the great outdoors! What a novel concept! Make a vow to not lift ONE FINGER that results in something or someone being cleaner or more entertained.
*Front porch: Put the kids to bed, pour a glass of wine, and go sit on your porch (Grab a blanket if you don’t live in Texas!) Or reverse it: Wake up before the kids, grab a cup of coffee, and throw on a bathrobe so you don’t scare the neighbors. The silence of a few moments can lift that sense of responsibility right off. Trust me on this one- it has changed my marriage and my parenting!
*Go “home”: Give your mama a heads-up that you are coming home for a Saturday and you have no plans of being productive, only wanting rest. I’m guessing she will eat that right up and probably bake you some warm cookies. (My husband has been doing this lately and the result for him AND his family is awesome!)
*Take a mini-vacay: Get away. Anywhere. Leave your cellphone at home. Don’t take one picture or check Facebook…but before you sign-off from technology completely, check out our Pinterest page to get some inspiration for your next adventure!
You will come back fresh and ready to tackle a new goal… (Did I mention we kick-off our next prayer session next Monday?)