I already shared about this quite a bit earlier this year, but I have some plans to do a mini series about rest in the midst of the bigger series of miscellaneous posts, and so I felt like I should share an "introduction" post, even though it may sound like a rehashing of thoughts I have already shared here in bits and pieces.
As many of you know, my word for 2018 has been "Rest". At first, my idea was simply that I was going to choose to rest in fact that the Lord knew what I needed in my life, and not to stress over when things would happen; I knew I could fill my resolution list with things I *wanted* to do, but wasn't sure would be brought about in my year (life?), or I could admit that I don't know everything and could rest in the Lord's path for me. This is something I constantly have to bring myself back to... but I know for sure that I made the right choice. It is so much better to purposefully be reminding myself that God's timing is better than my plans, than to realize that the time is not right for something I was reaching for, and feeling like I have failed when, in reality, because I believe I am where the Lord wants me at this time, I am not failing, but obeying.
Slowly, I began to realize that resting took work; and that there were practical ways that I could encourage myself to rest. Sometimes, resting actually means working harder for me... the truth is, I am prone to procrastinate because I feel like I have to do everything perfectly in one session. This is not really a good thing - it means I constantly have something nagging at the back of my mind, and that means I never really feel done. I made a decision to purposefully keep on top of my to-do list, even when it was hard, so that I would have moments of being "done", when I could mentally rest, as well resting in God's plan.
Then, as I looked at how I was using my extra time, it dawned on me that resting didn't mean that I didn't have anything to do. Being ahead of my to-do list often meant that I had extra time for extra work - work that I seem to find extremely refreshing. I truly believe that we are meant to be creative and productive, and I found that it was very fulfilling to me to use that extra time to cook, to garden, to learn, and to invest in others. As I started being more purposeful to fill my spare time with things that would last, I found that it was simple to do things like pull up a sermon or do an extra bible study, but it was truly the most refreshing thing that I could be doing at those moments when I was ready to give up for the day.
And once again, this word began pointing me again to grow closer to Christ. I started finding little rabbit trails to the word rest - trust, surrender, worship. So many other things were wrapped up in the word rest as I was striving to live it out.
Within a matter of weeks, I realized that I wasn't committing to not worrying as much about my future. I was committing to a totally different mindset. One that looked ahead to eternity, not to the here and now. One that was lived with purpose, not to fill up the day.
So it's been an interesting balance of the practical and the eternal.
It's meant that when I can tell that I have worked so long that I am becoming frustrated (usually on technical shop things), I make the choice to put up the work and do something else (even if it is more work). When I have some free time, I work ahead of my to-do list. When I feel like my brain is scattered over a dozen problems and it's weighing down my spirit, I purposefully fill my mind with God's truth in some way or another. When I feel led to do something, I do it no matter how uncomfortable it might make me (this is honestly the hardest resolve to keep - but it has been so rewarding!).
And it does take some balancing. A friend sent me these lines last week, and I loved them:
"When things go wrong, as they sometimes will:
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill:
When the funds are low and the bills are high:
And you want to smile but you have to sigh.
When all is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don't you quit
Success is failure turned inside out:
The silver lining on the clouds of doubt:
And you never can tell how close you are:
It may be near when it seems far.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things go wrong that you must not quit."
(John Greenleaf Whitter)
Rest - in the Lord. Not to give up, not to turn a blind eye to things that might be hard, not to pretend all is well. But to obey, to surrender, to live for eternity. Rest. So you can better run the race with endurance.
Rejoicing in Hope,