I’ve been struggling to finish my series of blog posts on insecurity and pride. I have 2 half-finished files just waiting to be wrapped up. I can’t seem to do it. No matter how many times I open them up, the words won’t come.
I feel as though my writing brain is fried. Or at the very least, over easy.
That got me to thinking—I need rest. Not ‘a rest’ but ‘rest’. What does rest look like in today’s mile-a-minute world where everything happens at the speed of lightning and the world is at our fingertips? What does it mean to rest when you’re running in different directions, trying to accomplish goals you’ve set and serve people you love?
Sometimes you can be too tired to formulate a coherent prayer.
Sometimes you open the Bible and words just blur together on the page.
How do you find rest in God when you hit that type of tired? (And is it ok to admit the balls you thought you were so good at juggling are crashing to the floor? Is it ok to admit you’re too tired to be who you think you ought to be?)
An ironic question for me considering the fact that my open file (you know the one I can’t finish?) is literally stuck right in the middle of a paragraph about being okay with transparency.
So I put my kids to bed and sat down in front of my computer to try again. The taskbar blinked with 3 different open projects and my mind pulled in a hundred different directions. Hoping I’d finally get something done with all my children in bed, I chose one and tried to focus.
But once again nothing. No words. No ideas. Just the buzzing of an overstimulated, overworked mind.
I sighed and prayed, “God, help me rest. Bring my brain peace.”
And then I heard a sound. Not the sound of an earthquake or fire, or even a still small voice. I heard my 3-year old crying in his bed. My kids have ‘mommy-has-some-time-alone’ radar. They can smell an undisturbed mother from miles away. It was hopeless.
Closing my laptop, I set it aside and trudged up the stairs, realizing I wasn’t going to get any work done. The weight of all my unfinished projects made the climb harder and I just wished he’d stop crying and go back to sleep. God mustn’t have heard my prayer after all.
I went into his room, too tired to try to argue him back to sleep. So I just climbed into his twin bed with him and asked if he wanted to cuddle.
He stopped crying and nuzzled up beside me. “Mommy seep wif me? We friends?” And in that moment I realized God had answered my prayers. What would bring me peace was stopping and resting in the moment, without continually focusing on my to-do/to-learn/to-improve list. He just wanted me to ‘be’.
The world calls this practicing mindfulness and it’s caught on in popularity recently. They don’t know what we know though. And that is the source of all good things. God calls it being still and knowing he is God.
As I laid there with my baby and listened to him giggle about our ‘sleepover’ I practiced being thankful to the God who made that moment possible. Instead of wondering how I would get everything finished on my to-do list, I just rested in the moment and meditated on God’s work in my life. I let His love, His blessings, His creations, and His humor ruminate in my mind. I smelled my son’s neck and contemplated God’s wisdom in making babies so adorable.
I think a lot of unrest comes from our American work ethic. We think we always need to be going and doing and achieving. Resting is viewed as lazy. So maybe this will resonate with someone other than just myself. But maybe—though there is a time for focused prayer and casual prayer and a time for Bible study and Bible devotion—maybe when you’re tired and run-down the missing part of the equation is you’ve forgotten to rest and just be fully present in the moment, appreciating and thanking God for what He’s done.
Verses to think about:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3)