Sometimes you just need to sit down and write. Throw yourself at the keyboard’s mercy and hope something good comes out.
Well, here it is. My sixth semester (of eight) at college. At the tipping point. The looming graduation date. The experiences necessary to find the job, all culminating. The last summer ahead. The last….. I can’t do this anymore. The whole paragraph is full of pent up nervousness, worry, distrust in God.
I usually write when I’m frustrated, emotional or very passionate about a subject (lucky you, right?). I return to school tomorrow, and in my “2013” post I noted that I tend to get emotional when seasons wrap up.
It’s been a good one, this six-weeks-at-home thing. I’m thankful for the forced slowing down that it brings, the sudden separation from a different world at school where I’m fully in control of my schedule (Daunting, I know. What’s even scarier is not having control. Yikes).
Time and again, the Lord has had to teach me about rest. And by teach, I must add the word “remind” and “discipline.” I think I’m superwoman sometimes, armed with skill and a bullet-proof heart. Yet, I think I’m finally saying, “Lord, I hear you this time.” Like Samuel finally saying after He heard the Lord’s voice a few times, “your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).
I have confused the word “rest” with “chill,” “relax” and “take it easy.” I subconsciously determined not to rest, because I thought that “resting” was neither God-honouring nor productive. But my word mix-up caused exhaustion in my own heart. I have looked to other things that supposedly bring rest, like clearing out my room, catching up on emails, finishing editing pictures, writing notes to friends and reviewing my calendar. None of those things necessarily seem bad, but none of them are where I can truly find rest.
God brought this scripture to my attention over the break:
“You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me” – Psalm 119:114, MSG.
When I’m in the Lord’s presence, the bullet-proof facade comes off. This fraud superwoman cringes and releases control at the wonder of God’s majesty. I almost weep thinking about it–how sinful I am to reject the Sabbath! How foolish of me to think I’m indispensable!
Being effective for the Lord only works with a filter system. What you pour in, you also pour out. Luke 6:45 is an example of this in saying, “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Everything that goes in comes out (okay okay, track with me here).
If I have no rest, I’m an empty vessel. A waterfall can’t let water fall if nothing’s coming from the other side. A computer won’t get charged if the plug isn’t in the outlet. Sending a text is almost impossible without service.
You must have an energy source, a connection. Gratefully, Christians always have access to the Most High God–the Father in heaven who is attentive to our needs for the sake of glorifying Himself. We just need to tap into the energy source. Who are we if we have not rest? Empty, exhausted, independent from God.
Honestly, I can’t go on being independent. I need God desperately–more and more every day. The annoying thing about getting older is that you sin more! I can’t be subject to Christ meanwhile thinking that I can run my own world. It doesn’t groove like that.
But guess what….now we get to the fun part! Our lives are not our own!!!! This rest concept is a gift. It resets our focus on the One for whom we give our lives away. This fine balance of serving and working for the Lord versus rest hinges on God’s grace. Marvelously, we don’t need to do anything to earn salvation except accept (those two words next to each other probably freaked you out for a moment).
So all of it is a gift. Serving reaps great rewards. Yet, somehow, so does rest.
Rest isn’t laziness. Rest is renewal, refreshment, restarting, restructuring, reshaping, reflecting. I’m learning, through God’s kindness, to embrace that. To accept it. It’s often as fruitful as working for the Lord.
Take a short journey with me to Jesus’ feet, where Mary sits in Luke 10. Her sister Martha scurries around, probably clumsily running into people, an earnest frown on her face, trying to prepare dinner for the honoured guest. Yet Jesus sees the stark contrast of the situation and addresses it:
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried ad upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).
Martha thought she could do it all, trying to impress. But Mary prioritized worship.
Told you that was only a short journey. When you are weary, and even when you’re not, sit at Jesus’ feet with me. For He is the only place of rest for our souls. As a new semester rolls in and will roll out like a jet plane, may rest be a priority and the Sabbath a time to commune with God, be refreshed by God and to honour He who intentionally rested Himself.