“Do you ever feel like your mind and body are like this robotic machine and once it starts going you just can’t stop?”
This was the question I asked my mom on the phone last night.
“Umm (long pause), no,” was her response. Lucky for her, she is more immune to the infamous condition known as “workaholism” that other human beings, myself and my dad (see it’s genetic) included, are heavily prone to.
I. Am. A doer. My google calendar looks like the rainbow from a Trix cereal commercial there are so many items on it. My friends are constantly having to give me grace when I call to tell them “hey, so you know how I said we could have dinner Friday? Well, I forgot about…” because I’ve scheduled two things on top of each other. I remember being a sophomore in college, and belonging to so many different clubs that there was literally days where I was supposed to be in three places at the same time; I couldn’t clone myself so instead I would hide in my dorm room and cry because I was so stressed from it!
I am in the middle of a major life transition right now. One that has me living out of a suitcase, preparing to move, job hunting, and leaving a ministry I’ve been a passionate part of for the past year. My life feels like it’s come suddenly to a screeching halt. If my life was a chalkboard, The Lord hath just royally wiped it clean! I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more like a blank slate than I do right this moment.
That’s a good place to be.
However–it’s easy to misinterpret a blank slate in our lives as permission to fill it back up with our own stick figures instead of letting Jesus paint it with a masterpiece. I have been more than guilty of doing this. As soon as my calendar was relieved of its ministry and housekeeping duties, I began to fill it back up like quicksand with social activities, job hunting, volunteering, and “self improvement schemes.” (i.e. online spanish seminars and water yoga. don’t ask.) I feel like I’m a racehorse bucking in the starting gate saying “Okay God let me go already! Give me something to do! Say the word and I’m off!”
Yes, we serve a God who commanded the Israelites to trek 40 years in the wilderness; the one who commissioned his disciples to spread the good news to the end of the earth; a God who anointed armies for battle and let Peter walk on water. But he’s also a God who is called the good shepherd, who promises a light yoke, one who withdrew frequently into the wilderness for alone time with his father, and one who beckons us into quiet places to spend time with him still.
Riding home from a recovery meeting with a friend of mine last night, I was telling her all about these seismic changes happening in my life. She looked at me and spoke out loud what the Holy Spirit had been whispering to me for weeks: “Molly, I think God just wants you to rest.”
I nodded in agreement but wondered why it felt too good to be true. Could it be that I’m actually being called to relax? Chill? Take it easy? Breath? Recuperate? Dwell? Meditate? Listen? Or the even harder question… could it be that my busyness is actually keeping me from experiencing the plan of God? Ouch.
In my mind, rest=uselessness. In God’s mind, rest=absolutely necessary for who we are becoming. If Jesus spent 40 days alone with God before he started his ministry, Paul spent three years resting and learning from the Lord before evangelizing the nations, and the Father himself rested after spending six days on creation, I think that maybe I can clear my schedule for a few weeks before he guides me into the next chapter of my own life.
All right. I’m willing to learn this rest thing. Any suggestions? Tell me how you rest in the Lord.