The Lord is teaching me new things all the time about what it means to rest in Him. Each day I make choices between striving and resting. Each day I try to make at least one choice to physically and/or mentally rest, rather than working. Because here is what I’m learning: the rest is part of the work. The resting is where the absorbing and processing happens, where what I am learning becomes part of me.
Creativity happens in the resting times, when you aren’t pushing, when you aren’t thinking about anything in particular. Did you know that? It’s the way our brains are wired. Most companies renowned for their creative endeavors (think tech and communication companies) build relaxing into their employees’ days. Employees are expected to take walks, play darts, take a nap (seriously). Stephen Sondheim, one of the most brilliant lyricists of all time (who also writes his own music, a rarity in theatre), does all of his writing lying on a couch. He often falls asleep and wakes up with the answer to whatever current problem has him stuck.
And what about prayer? How am I to live in harmony with my Lord when I’m so busy I don’t have time to communicate with Him? Most days, I get up in the morning and spend some quiet time, starting my day in a leisurely fashion where I have time to concentrate on God. I feel good about it. Then the pace of my day picks up, and I have so many balls in the air I entirely lose track of the thing I should be centering my life around. I’m not praying without ceasing, because I don’t have the mental or emotional space to do so.
Or, at least, that’s how it used to be. But this year I’ve heard the Lord calling me to rest, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m getting up early to study and pray in the quiet, and with my remaining solitude I’m doing whatever I wish that day – sometimes that’s chores or work, but more often it’s reading something for the joy of it. I’m saying no to things that are too much. I’m choosing to sit and read when I could do a chore. I’m sleeping more. I’m giving time to pondering, and even to spacing out. I’m doing things the easier way. I’m spending time concentrating on the kids, and not trying to make it up in productivity later. I’m just resting. There’s a rhythm to our days, but no rigid schedule.
In the rest I’m finding freedom. Choosing rest is my way of refusing to pretend I am in charge, that I am enough. The attitude of rest is a constant reminder to seek the Lord in everything I do. Everything, even the drudgery, feels more like peace when I live this way, and I love it.