We long for rest …
Yet, simultaneously we evade it.
It’s uncomfortable to admit: I sabotage my own deepest desires. I long for stillness, both internal and external, and still I can find myself keeping a pace that puts rest just out of reach.
What keeps us from resting?
The answer is so individual. God made life to include rest. He rested after the six days of creation. He set aside the seventh day as holy – set apart for rest – and He made it paramount that we should find Sabbath by honoring that day and setting it apart for Him as well.
And then Jesus …
He says He IS our Sabbath. Sabbath was created for man before we even fell into sin … and it was a day for rest and refreshment. Like Mary when her sister Martha was buzzing around with misguided preparations we need to sit and choose the needful thing.
And what is the needful thing?
It is Jesus Himself.
It is abiding in Him and His love
… for apart from Him we can do no thing of worth or use.
For me the answers have been revealed over time.
For many years I was caught up in people pleasing – not wanting to let people down or have them think ill of me. So I would say “yes” when I should say, “no” or take on tasks that I thought would impress them or get them to draw nearer to me. Thankfully, much of this root has been dug up and eradicated in the past few years so that I let my “yes” be “yes” and my “no” be “no” and I seek higher reasons for my choices today. But we grow in increments and we slip back sometimes, so I need to search my heart and ask myself the “why” behind my choices to be involved in each activity.
Another reason I have kept rest at bay has been that I saw my value as being rooted in my productivity. I was a human-doing, more than a human being. Growing up in a home where standards were high and perfectionism hung in the air like fog, I was driven and I never learned to let down my frenetic pace. When I am not doing, I am prone to feel a bit restless. It has taken time to learn to sit long enough to let the stirring of my soul settle like debris in a shaken jar. It is uncomfortable to sit through the settling. It’s easier to stay active – the world and our own habit condones constant activity. We have to choose the harder road. Sometimes it is the lonelier road for a while too.
Deeper still is this fear that God won’t meet my needs when I do still or that I have to face pain when I finally allow space. And, just so you know that has sometimes been the case. Not that God didn’t meet my needs – He always has – but sometimes I didn’t “feel” Him the way I hoped I would and I almost always had to experience some pain and difficult emotions in the process of finding rest. I’m a comfort seeker and the path to rest isn’t always comfortable.
Whatever your barriers to rest, God knows them. He isn’t surprised or shocked. He is with you and is awaiting your willingness to help you lift them and move beyond them. He is doing it for me. I’m continuing to grow in my capacity and skills at learning to rest. He is gently leading me there.
It may help you, as it has helped me, to ponder His invitation to rest:
Do you hear Him calling to you? He knows the burdens you carry – even burdens you have long forgotten or thought He never would lift. Are you weary? He promises rest. We can take this yoke. Picture it now – the laying down of your own weight of worry, sadness, anger, hurt, longing and giving Him the burden while you take on this yoke. By the yoke He will lead and teach you as you walk in His way. He is gentle. He is not a stern task master. He is humble – stooping to share the load and bless you with His care and rest.
- I’m saying “no” … I’m setting limits, leaving margin, and being willing to disappoint some people so that I can fulfill the most needful thing. I will have to turn down good things – even great things – to make room for time with what looks like no thing.
- I’m saying “yes” … to what really matters, to the things only I can do – like mothering my children and being a good wife to my husband – and I’m saying yes to small things. Because small things often aren’t so small after all: like, “Mom, will you watch me swing?” and “Do you have a minute?” Those moments of giving an inch of myself matter big in the lives of those around me. (And I’m planning to read Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, “The Best Yes”)
I’m letting go … of what others think, of thinking I play some pivotal role in life, of the pressure to perform and the fears which so easily make me think I can’t or I shouldn’t do what I know I ought to at least try
I’m holding on … to God. Just that. Because, what else is there, really? And I’m holding on to the moment and the promise He gave me of rest in Him.
I’m allowing support… from God and from the people He has sweetly put in my life who love me in my imperfection and know I need to find this rest. I’m being real with them and asking them to help me. Asking for help just isn’t my strong point, but I’m getting better at it – and I actually even like it these days. God didn’t place me in a vacuum. He wants us to let others close and to serve one another. It’s good stuff, and it’s worth the risk.
I will be posting on “Making Place and Space for Devotion as a Busy Mom” and I’ll be giving away a signed copy of the devotional Breathe: 31 Moments with God for Moms by Jaimie Bowman.
Tues, Sept 23
My friend Barbie Swihart from “My Freshly Brewed Life” will be guest posting on Hearts Homeward. She is celebrating my blogiversary and has generously donated one of her amazing art prints called “Breath of God” for a give-away that day. You all will love Barbie as much as I do. She’s a true encourager and has such a hunger for God.
Wed Sept 24
A fellow blogger and soul-journer, Lorretta Stembridge of “Dancing on the Dash” will be guest posting on Hearts Homeward. I’m so excited to introduce all you Hearts Homeward readers to Lorretta. She has a passion for Jesus and such a way with words.
Thurs Sept 25
I will be posting about “A Friend Loves at All Times” I have a lot to say about the longing for friendship, the role of friendship and the healing of broken friendship in this post. And, my sweet, adorable neighbor and friend, Davi Rebecca has graciously donated one of her needlework hoops in honor of my blogiversary. You can see her creations at her Etsy shop: “Wandering Stitch”. A-maz-ing.