Finding A Rest, That Rests

During a catch-up appointment with a young leader, I noticed how tired his eyes looked.  Toward the end of our time, I asked him how he was doing.  He responded that he was beat, having just passed through a rigorous season of travel and ministry.  He had tried to take some time off, but things got in the way. “I think you’ve passed through tired, and are touching on weary,” I suggested.  “What do you mean?” “Weary is a tired-tired,” I explained.  “If I’m not mistaken, I think you might be feeling that.”

There’s a hidden danger in getting into a cycle of partial recovery because it creates a false bottom, which keeps us from finding a deeper repose, a kind of rest that rests.  When was the last time you felt thoroughly rested?  If you’re like me, you’re still scrolling through your rolodex* of memory to find it! Of course, the simple antidote is an invitation from Jesus in Matt 11:30, “come to me, all who are weary….”

How come simple feels so hard sometimes?

When we need a pause but succumb to ‘on-to-the-next-thing,’ we can find ourselves beyond tired, straining in a briar patch of weary. It’s hard to move out of there, hard to trust what’s next, because movement feels painful, almost not worth it. When we look ahead at landscape unchanging and dreary, it feels like a long pull, without a push, a weak sigh that suggests that at least for the foreseeable future, hope has gone into hibernation, and sleep feels better than it should. 

So, how do we move through weary and into a rest, that rests?

First, pray for the gift of a sentient faith.  What we offer to God is our true self, not a fabrication, or illusion of what we hope to be.  We express with directed emotion what we feel, because oddly, if we don’t feel and express our truest emotions to Him, we are playing a form of spiritual hide and seek.  Pour it out, and let it fall on ears that care. This kind of honesty matters.  Even though sometimes that place is hard to see out of, or hard to bear under.  In those raw expressive moments, God hews from the timber of our spiritual desires what we would never have thought we needed. It’s a coming to Jesus without the garb of spiritual bravado, that acknowledges the weary, and trusts him for the rest only He has promised.

Second, wait on God to take the first step.  Do you mean do nothing?  Quite the contrary.  To wait in Scripture (Is 64:4) means to get into position to receive, much like a wide receiver does in finding the open space to make a catch.  We strain with every faith muscle in us to be in the place where we can make a connection.  This may take the form of contemplative prayer, where we saturate our minds with Scripture.  The living word is the living hope we lean upon.  It may look more like lethargy, a spiritual discipline that smacks the face of our cultural malaise to be always ambling into something, anything!  Waiting with faith builds hope in the promises of God’s relentless pursuit of us.   We can count on him to do the heavy lifting in making our wait, worth the waiting.

If we never get past a partial rest, always pulling out of the place God wants to restore us, then that will become the false bottom to the depth of our experience of the presence of God. God wants to meet us and restore our strength.  His fuel is joy, and we receive that by finding ourselves at his table at rest, in a rest, that rests.  

For next time: What will bust through the false bottom, and take us further? 

Great planning that connects great hope.  

Great rest that exhausts weary.

A Great peace that silences the tyranny of the urgent. 

Until then…rest well!  

*An ancient organizational tool used to store addresses and phone numbers.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. daylerogers says:

    I loved how you had to define Rolodex. And I felt the finger of God pointing at me with this blog of yours–I genuinely do not remember the last time I felt truly rested. We even took our first sabbatical ever and that didn’t do anything. I love the idea of busting through the false bottom to find a rest that rests my heart and soul. Thanks, Kev.

  2. Will Daines says:

    It seems we need to unplug everything and wait to hear from our Lord. We may think there has never been a tougher time to do this, but the world, the flesh, and the devil continue the spiritual battle. Can we find a place that is a garden for our souls?

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