Debbie Salter Goodwin
The "Rest" of the Story
Soul-weariness slows me down more than physical fatigue. It attacks what I thought I believed about myself, that I can make it if I just keep pushing. But it’s the push that drains me and brings me to a place of neediness. If it is only physical fatigue, a good night’s sleep will take care of it. However, soul-fatigue does not disappear with sleep. It shadows, weights, confuses.
This isn’t just a mind or emotional re-set. This goes deeper. I need to answer Jesus’ question : Who do you say that I am? Soul-weariness confuses me. Soul-weariness listens to the loudest voice and it usually isn’t God’s.
If we review the rhythm of Jesus’ life on earth, we see the constant interruptions, the needy crowds, the slow-learning disciples, the travel days. For three years Jesus led a relentlessly demanding life without losing inner peace. How do we follow his rhythm, his center, his balance? We stay so busy that we don’t process the journey; sometimes we barely experience it.
What would happen if we took Jesus’ words about sharing his yoke literally but not irresponsibly? What if we listened to Jesus’ invitation to stop carrying our burdens as if we were the only one who could carry them? What if we asked for his gentle lessons about how to live without trying to kill ourselves with overwork and under-rest?
When God created the world, He knew when it was time to stop working, tweaking, improving, re-doing and He rested. I don’t know what it looks like when God rests. Maybe that’s why we have trouble following His example. I know He is not a do-nothing God. Whatever rest means for God it is not a lounging, lazy, irresponsible disengagement from everything that He cares about. I wonder if it is when He enjoyed every good thing He created, watched animal antics and smiled, breathed the fragrance of flowers, enjoyed the vastness and balance. I wonder if in that enjoyment he experienced the deep rest from the pressure of doing more.
Do we know how to do that? We pack our days so full that even the energy of Wonder Woman or Super Man couldn’t complete everything we put on our hopeful agendas. We push, multi-task, schedule, chauffeur, organize, supervise, clean up, and fall into bed physically weary but still thinking and planning for the next day.
We need sanctuary, that safe place we can only find near the heart of God. We need to be present with God in a way our busy worlds don’t allow--mind-soul-body present. We need time to take our heart to God and let Him bathe it, rest it, renew it.
There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.
Claim five minutes to rest there until all you hear is how much God loves you. Stay until you allow God’s inexhaustible love for you to extinguish every hint of incompleteness that makes you feel not good enough. Rest your soul by laying aside your brutal demands of yourself. Let God breathe on you His exclamation of delight in who you are completely separate from what you do.
Soul-rest will take us to Easter where we will be able to understand in a new way what God’s all-power can do. Soul-rest will help us realize that our balanced cooperation with God in every area of our lives brings results our frenetic activity will never see. Soul-rest helps us see what God calls good and how to put more of his good into our days.
But it is an invitation, not a demand. God waits for our R.S.V.P. How will you answer?
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