Rest: one of our biggest challenges. Lisa and I struggle with it. We’re just not sure what real, good rest is supposed to look like. We could have absolutely nothing to do one day (or 6 months) and still not feel rested.
What does a day of rest look like?
The glorious chance to do chores?
See more people?
See no one?
Is it a day of catching up on what we haven't accomplished?
What kind of weekend do you have when you haven't achieved or accomplished much throughout the work week?
Weekends and I have a love/hate relationship. Sunday night is the worst. When the weekend is coming to an end, I usually think of all the things I should have been using that time for. Lots of ideas on the list--a video to finish, an art idea to develop, a children's story to illustrate, people to reach out to. I could have used the weekend to catch up on everything I couldn't do when I was working. If I don't use the free time, then I may not get more time. I may not get more time to make an impact on the world. I may not get more time to prove myself. Prove myself worthy.
"Resting is for wusses,” one might say.
Have you tried sitting still and doing absolutely nothing?
Last week, I decided I wasn't going to get into the Sunday blues. So I decided to do nothing. I usually journal, process, pray, or meditate. But even though I didn't lift a finger, I still ended up with more worries and anxieties than I had before resting.
When I’m restless, I can’t rest. When I try to rest, I’m still restless.
Resting has nothing to do with what we do with time.
Resting has to do with the statement of my heart.
Real resting, I’ve found - especially in our liminal time here in the U.S.A without having our own space or business to run (yet) - requires serious hard work. It’s a fierce, internal battle between worrying about being idle and finding peace. Sometimes I have to fight for my family to get to a place of rest instead of worry.
I could spent time doing nothing for a whole day and still feel unrested. Or I could spend just five minutes in real rest and be more fulfilled than I could be in eight hours of restless striving. Resting has nothing to do with time. Resting has nothing to do with being less busy. Resting has to do with the statement of my heart. And it all comes down to this:
Is my heart saying,
“This is enough”?
or is it saying,
“This is not enough”?
We’re all called to work. But I know that sometimes work turns into striving.
In that space of striving, something unholy takes place. I work (or become restless) because I feel I’m not enough. Because I need to prove myself to myself, to someone else-- parent, spouse, Facebook friends. Because I don't know if I can trust God. Because I don't know if good can come or if tomorrow will bring new gifts. Because:
I'm still not a successful [enter vocation],
I'm still not making [enter amount], or
I'm still not [impression I'm trying to make].
As I finish typing this, I’ve decided to try something new...
Whether by doing something or by doing nothing at all, I've decided to choose to rest by letting go of the outcome of my efforts. The scales are falling off my eyes. I've turned off my mental list of “I'm still not...” and turned on my inner voice that says definitively, “I am still”. I turn to my son and give him my undivided attention. We play, have fun, and the hours pass as if they were minutes. I notice what's around me. Just as it is and not as it should be.
Resting is not praying the words, “God show me what I need to do next,” but praying the words, “Thank you. All ground is sacred. Everything is gift. I’m not a slave. I am enough. This is enough. Today is enough. These couple of minutes are enough.”
I leave you with this poem:
Just sit there right now
Don’t do a thing
For your separation from God,
Is the hardest work
Let me bring you trays of food
That you like to
You can use my soft words
As a cushion
Go and be still. Rest in all that you do or don’t do.