Good morning and happy Friday! This morning, I'm thinking about rest.
Do you go through those seasons when the predominate feeling is simply "I'm tired"? Maybe there are a lot of activities and people filling up the tiny squares of your calendar. Maybe work is stressful and your mind and body are worn down from it. Maybe your children have decided that 5 a.m. is a good hour to wake for the day. Maybe the emotional and psychological weights you bear are making your physical limbs weary. Whatever the cause, we reach the point when we say, "I'm tired. I just need to rest."
Confession moment: I have trouble with this. The lies easily pull at me - that my worth or the worth of my time lies in what I do. Why would I not be "doing" - flitting around, doing one more chore? This lie - that my productivity and performance levels reflect my value or the worth of my contribution - it just brings guilt and exhaustion. It makes me a slave to a to-do list.
Fortunately, I know this tendency, and I'm slowly but surely recovering from performance-driven perfectionism. Sometimes I can stop myself from rushing on ahead. I can pause with a stranger in the parking lot, watching in wonder the natural light show in the night sky. I can sit in flickering candlelight, sipping a mug of steaming tea, listening to the jazz melodies of a rhythmically spinning record. I can just be.
I was remembering this week a piece I wrote about a year ago, about a little boy named Joseph. I knew his foster parents, and I'll never forget their story. You can read the whole post here, but it's the lines below I've never forgotten:
"He could give me nothing, could do nothing for me, but I loved him just because…he was. I would hold him in my arms, pleased to just look at him and hold him...That’s when I realized that I am just like him. I can do nothing, say nothing, give nothing really at all to my Father except to just be. But he takes such delight in me..."
So much rest comes when I remember that my value before God is not based on what I do. It's based in the love He's lavished on me. I don't need to jump through spiritual hoops. I don't need a check-list or a prayer to-do list. He wants me.
I love Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message:
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly."
Friends, I pray you know the rest that comes from "keeping company" with Jesus and His "unforced rhythms of grace."