I've mentioned that the theme of the blog this week is restoration. I believe that a huge part of restoration is rest (I mean, it's the first part of the freaking word, so that has to mean something right?) Rest has become somewhat foreign to me. I’m naturally wired in a way that makes it very difficult. When given the choice, I’ve never really been one to lay in bed and binge watch TV shows all day. I’m that obnoxious "Let’s DO something” person. The one that wants to hike, adventure, go, play, try, or explore.
I love being active, but it makes me say “yes” a lot more than I probably should. Sure, I can do yoga in the morning and work all day and meet a friend for happy hour and meet another friend for dinner and still have time to come home and write a blog post for tomorrow. No big deal. Only meanwhile, my house is a disaster (which heightens my OCD every time I walk in the door) and my pile of books to read grows taller (while I shame myself for not making time for them). I tell Siri to remind me of something every 5 minutes:
Siri, remind me to take my car through emissions.
Siri, remind me to roll my 401K over.
Siri, remind me to pick up my thyroid prescrip-- oh shoot that reminds me... I need to schedule my endocrinologist appointment. WHY do I keep forgetting to do that?
Siri, remind me to schedule my endocrinologist appointment for next wee- wait, I leave for Boulder all week on Monday. I guess it’ll have to wait until the next week, although I can’t on Tuesday because I’m going to that event with Kyle- SHIT I still haven’t paid her for that.
Siri, remind me to pay Kyle.
Does this sound familiar to anyone else? I’m guessing it does. We live in a world today that celebrates busyness. We pat ourselves on the back for maintaining the balancing act of carrying 10,000 things- even though we’re trembling profusely, dangerously close to dropping it all. We smile a nervous smile as we try to keep it all together, to keep going even though we are overworked and overwhelmed.
Last week I had one of the most stressful days I can ever remember. Work was complete chaos as I put out fire after fire after fire. I raced against the clock all day, failing to meet deadlines or finish things on time. My personal email was firing vicious reminders of bills I needed to pay or follow ups I’d forgotten to make. I didn’t have time to stop and eat lunch. Friends texted me asking questions they’d already asked but I’d forgotten to respond to. The work day was nearing it’s end and I had mountains of action items I wasn’t even close to finishing, unanswered texts, a HANGRY stomach and about 45 minutes until I was supposed to go to my personal trainer. At 5pm I closed my computer, cancelled on my trainer, threw my phone on the bed, poured the biggest glass of wine, grabbed a fistful of crackers and walked out my front door. I was literally shaking on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. Not to mention that along with everything else that was making me a nutcase, I had an extremely confusing and emotional night and only slept 3 hours the night before that I hadn’t even begun to deal with.
If you’re my neighbor, I apologize for disrupting your family dinner on the patio or playtime with baby in the grass or effort to have a pleasant afternoon stroll with your pup, because I was the hot mess in yoga pants and flip flops with mascara under her eyes and a borderline inappropriate pour of wine in my glass (yes, I carried an actual wine glass on my walk. I didn’t even attempt to hide my crazy). But desperate times call for desperate measures.
In this moment of coming apart, I took communion (which conveniently also let me justify the wine) and I started talking to Jesus. Luckily, I managed to keep that conversation in my head so my neighbors didn’t call the police and report the crazy wine lady who also talks to herself... I started telling him about all my problems, all my stress, all my craziness from the day and the night prior. “I just can’t do it all anymore" I said. "I’m so tired."
I don’t pretend to be that person that hears the voice of God all the time, and honestly- how could I, because my brain will never shut up. But on this walk, as clear as the water is in the tropics, I felt him tell me “I put you right here.” That was it. No long explanation as to why, no back and forth dialogue or drawn out conversation. For the first time in a long time, I felt some rest. I didn’t discover anything profound or have some deep realization that suddenly made sense of all my crazy. But I felt at ease, because even though I felt darkness all around me, I knew this was all part of God’s plan, and that HE was handling it all- not me.
I kept walking, drinking my wine, smiling at neighbors that politely smiled back and at least tried to mask their judging eyes. I felt more and more and more at peace- able to rest. It was the best afternoon I’ve had in a long time.
Later that night I opened my computer to play a little catch up after letting myself rest all afternoon, and I noticed the worn Bible verse I had taped to the keyboard months ago. “The Lord will fight for you. You need only be still.” -Exodus 14:14 That has literally been taped on my computer since the end of January, and it took me this long to actually stop and read it and really let it sink in.
I don’t know what you’re going through. I don’t know what’s on your list that’s different than mine- what the things are that keep you up at night or make your brain never turn off. But I do know that none of those things are accidents. No matter how crazy and chaotic life is, it’s not our job to handle everything. It’s not our job to prove our strength or that we “have it all together” by overworking ourselves. It’s our job to rest. It’s our job to look to God and let him work for us.
I'll let one of my devotionals from yesterday sum it all up for me:
“Once as I walked along the road of a steep hill, I caught sight of a boy on a bicycle near the bottom. He was pedaling uphill against the wind and was obviously working tremendously hard. Just as he was exerting the greatest effort and painfully doing the best he could do, a streetcar, also going up the hill, approached him. It was not traveling too fast for the boy to grab hold of a rail at the rear, and I am sure you can guess the result. He went up the hill as effortlessly as a bird gliding through the sky.
This thought then flashed through my mind. “I am like that boy on the bicycle in my weariness and weakness. I am pedaling uphill against all kinds of opposition and am almost worn out with the task. But nearby there is great power available— the strength of God. All I must do is get in touch with Him and maintain communication with Him. And even if I grab hold with only one little finger of faith, it will be enough to make His power mine to accomplish the act of service that now overwhelms me."
-The Life of Fuller Purpose