Sunday, March 12, 2017

Photo credit: Zach Betten via Unsplash

In college, when I’d ask my friends how they were doing on any given day, they’d usually respond with one of the following: “I’m busy,” or, “I’m tired” – the latter of which was always followed by a proud declaration of how few hours of sleep they were getting by on. Over the course of four years, I don’t think I ever heard anyone answer that question by saying, “I’m extraordinarily well-rested, thank you!” …And not just because that particular variant sounds like something straight out of Jane Austen. Busy is just such an expected part of our lives.

In the “real,” post-collegiate world, I find it’s much the same.

We live in a society that glorifies busy-ness and productivity because we’ve been taught to measure our worth by achievement – by blue ribbons on science fair projects, trophies in athletic competitions, A+’s on papers, congratulations and pats on the back. We have to achieve to make a name for ourselves in this world.

Personally, I find it hard to rest because I feel I have to earn it. After I clean the bathroom, or vacuum my bedroom floor, or dust my bookshelf or meal prep for the week… then I guess I can rest.

Other times, when I have lots on my plate, rest just feels like procrastination. I have deadlines to meet, people! I have no time to spend on something as frivolous as rest.

It is so, so hard to give this gift to myself, and that’s exactly what rest really is: a gift. It might, in fact, be the best one out there because it allows us to savor all the other gifts – time with family and friends, a delicious meal, a warm blanket and a cup of tea, a good book or the TV show we’ve got saved on the DVR, a walk around our neighborhood, time for prayer and reflection and recalibration.

Rest is the means -- the blessing -- God gives us to enjoy all of His other blessings.

But still we flick it aside. Because if we’re just resting, there’s no room for doing. And that, of course, puts us back at odds with that inherently human desire to achieve.

God doesn’t obsess over our achievement. He won’t admit us to Heaven based on the lengths of our resumes, or all the boxes we ticked off our to-do lists. We’re already loved, simply for being who we are. Resting puts us back in touch with that. With our enough-ness and belovedness.

Rest in that today.

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