“Rest does not come from SEEKING…but SURRENDER. And from taking a good nap!”
Learning to travel light (well, lighter) while I do life faster is a challenge. But we all seem to run at high speed these days, don’t we? I mean, do you ever find yourself daydreaming about a nap?
The wheels to my suitcase are leaving creases in the carpet as it sits open like a rolling closet. Lately, I’ve wished to be a few decades younger and learned to wear my heels a few inches shorter. For sure, it’s all one BIG adventure until you drink four cups of coffee to drive the nine hours home from a business trip. Then you fall into your own bed only to stare hyper-caffeinated at the alarm clock. After all you might oversleep, and so you solve the world’s problems in your head…aaaaall niiiiight looooong. By this time it’s not a big adventure—it’s big exhaustion.
Exhaustion similar to the day we stepped into the door with an 8 lb. 3 ounce bundle of pink. I watched her sleep in the sunlight and rocked her in the moonlight. I didn’t need rest. Nope. I had hormones and adrenaline, plus all that gushy love. The type of love that runs a current through you and props your eyes wide open with excitement, because you sure don’t want to miss a thing.
Although the expert moms told me to sleep while the baby slept. I ignored the experts. While my husband rested after work I nudged him, “Hey honey, did you see the silly face the baby just made?” While Jerry tried to take a brief nap on the couch, I tapped him on the shoulder, “Hey Jerry, she’s making the cutest motorboat sound, if you keep snoring you won’t hear it.” And then during the night, “Hey honey, wake up. The baby is making cooing noises in her crib. Honey, you are missing it.”
The switch to nurture someone outside of me may have been flipped on, but after a few weeks my whole self started to flip off. And out. I was so overwhelmed I cried constantly and used my sweatshirt sleeve as a Kleenex. While I suspected postpartum depression, Jerry knew it may be something else: that while I tried hard not to miss a thing, I was missing what I needed most—sleep! I fought it, but finally surrendered and melted into the mattress for almost a whole weekend. I woke back up with my hair pasted to the pillow feeling refreshed and inspired. What a difference a rested day—or weekend—can make. I had come alive.
I tend to overcommit, overdo, and walk away tearful and undone. I know when I’m depleted. Unfortunately, so do family and friends. I might sniffle and complain to my honey, or blubber senseless syllables on the phone to my best friend. They’ve seen and heard this side of me before and offer the same insight, “I think you’re just tired.” And they’re right.
That sense of exhaustion and soul dryness creeps in when I deny myself the respite I need. Because…I might miss something. It seems life holds so much. Responsibilities. Time with family and friends. Ministering and caring for others. I stay busy and resist rest, when I just really need to surrender to it. What I truly want is God to pick me up and carry me as my head rests heavy on His shoulder. My body, heart, and spirit long to be ministered to while my stubbornness and strong will fight to do it all by myself. I am a DIY girl after all. (Chapter one of Fix-Her-Upper). Being a do-it-yourself girl can be a problem. Yawn.
Recently, while in Saint Louis, I stopped at the side of a highway to take a picture of a clover field filtered in purple. It was wide and beautiful. With no way to take the whole sight in, and no time to capture a million viewpoints, I popped several pictures with the panoramic setting. Don’t you just love panorama? It’s awesome to stand still, yet experience more than what can ever be soaked in at a glance. And to see more than I could ever see with my own squinty efforts.
We have a panoramic God who offers a landscape of peace. Not a limited view, or the full of what we can carry around in the cup of our hands, or even see in the sight of a single day. God gives eternal life-giving rest to a tired heart.
I’m encouraged by the story from Ezekiel. Scripture tells us that Ezekiel himself was set down in the spirit into the valley of dry bones. Verse 1 says, “It was full of dry bones.” Lifeless. Ezekiel says, “And he (the Lord) said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O Lord God, you know.’ Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.'”(Ezekiel 37: 3-5). I couldn’t help but notice the several references to the word dry in such few sentences. So I looked it up. Although the word “dry” is self-explanatory, when I recognize its correlation to my depleted self, these definitions say it all. Dry/adjective/ to mean free from liquid, characterized by exhaustion, lacking freshness, stale, severe, wearisome, uninteresting, unproductive and obsolete. Exhausted, dusty, and lifeless bones were brought to life and flesh with a restored breath from God.
And I sure don’t want to miss this: God told Ezekiel to tell the lifeless bones to “hear the Word of the Lord.” God wanted the bones to hear what He had to say. His word is alive, yet how many times do I read the bible as if reading dead print from a page. God’d Word can carry me from dry dust to living rest. God’s word a breath of life to dry bones. So much better than a good nap.
This Easter may you celebrate and see the whole view of life offered through the resurrected Christ. Jesus is alive. He has risen. Don’t seek Him in the tomb, but surrender to Him in life. Happy Eater, my friends!