It should be a simple thing. It is a simple thing, but somehow I have made it difficult, seemingly impossible. I have been consumed with doing things. I have been consumed with busy-ness. Notice I did not say productivity, the obsession is motion, but motion does not mean that I am getting anywhere. Overachievers reach for higher heights, new platforms on which to prove our worth, new lessons to master, but I have discovered in my achieving I have somehow lost my rhythm, I have lost my ability to recognize victory, and so I continue to run and pant, never finished.
I have seen this weakness and I have heard it from the lips of friends… “I can’t keep up this pace”, “something has to give”, “We are too busy, but what can we do?” I’ve heard myself and others dismiss this with, “this is just a busy season in life” and I think of farmers busily planting in spring. I think of the care they give during the summer months, checking on crops and cattle. I envision the harvest, the back-breaking labor of bringing in an entire year’s worth of work. Yes, busy seasons are necessary, but farmers know how and when to rest, that if they don’t, they cannot bring in the harvest.
But I am still struggling because I have allowed my blessings to become my burdens, my duties. I have allowed myself to rush through days without recognizing the simple joys of my life, my innate need to rise and praise my Maker and to sit in wonder of Him. I don’t recognize what He is doing in me, I focus on my faults, my weaknesses and what needs to be conquered. I’ve been wanting to write this all week, but I haven’t been able to. I feel convicted writing it because I haven’t walked in the truth of this lesson consistently. I am worn and fatigued. I am too busy, but I have no idea where to draw the line. Do you know what I’m saying? I’m saying I’m over-committed, but I don’t know how to stop, I don’t know how to rest.
Cease striving and know that I am God… (Ps. 46:10, NASB) He is my refuge, my refuge from my desperate urge to finish a dozen projects. I don’t truly know how to cease striving, how to be still. I cannot complete everything I desire to do, but I feel my Father smiling at me, asking me to trust Him, to rest in Him. I could try to earn His pleasure like a little girl drawing picture after picture for her daddy, trying to show him how she loves him, frustrated that she can never make it good enough. The point is never how good my efforts are for Him, it they were, Jesus would never have had to come die for me.
“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.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
I am tired, and I want to let Him hold me, teach me how to live in His will; following His plan, resting in His grace. My forward motion on each project; the Bible challenges I can’t wait to launch, the sequel in the trilogy I am working on, the curriculum for upcoming lessons… progress would relieve me momentarily, but there will always be another project to finish… the real question I am needing to answer in this moment is, am I living in the grace of the Good News that I am saved, I have nothing I can or need to earn? I should be working out of the joy of my salvation, a place of confident rest, I know I need only rest in the worth He has already given me.
Are these things you relate to, have heard yourself saying? Then, I am praying for you, too! I am going on a journey, each day spending some time in reflection of the work He is doing and recording some of it. It takes discipline to sit still when you are convinced that motion and pushing means progress. But God’s ways are not ours, sitting still before Him and praying and quietly listening is teaching me more than I thought possible.
Do you practice resting in the Lord? How do you recognize what He is doing in your life?
For further meditation: Psalm 116; Ecclesiastes 4:6: Matthew 11:28-12:21