Daring to Rest in this Wild, Busy World
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
~ Ephesians 2:6 (NIV)
Friend to Friend
The sparrows sing from branches, perhaps telling of love or war, winter ending, hope and the weather. I come to our patio table, the one with the wide khaki umbrella, and take a seat in my favorite woven chair. I have raspberry tea in front of me, a book in my hand. I am reading Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller.
Shelly says rest is a gift, a blessing from the heart of a loving God. And yet even in this moment of quiet I fidget, tap my toes, swing my legs, put a hand up to shield my eyes and search for the red-headed woodpecker tap-tap-tapping like the thoughts in my head.
It’s so easy to be endlessly moving, distracted, slow to settle into peace even on the rare occasions where it’s right in front of us. “How are you?” we’re asked. “Busy,” we often answer with a sigh. Yet, perhaps, we also secretly feel a bit of relief. Because surely “busy” must mean we are worthy. We are wanted and useful. But busy doesn't have to be the boss of us.
“Shame is the fear of being unlovable,” says Shelly. And to fight this fear we might fidget with another project, hustle for another compliment, raise our hands to shade our eyes and scan the horizon for proof that we’re enough. I have lived this and I am learning to lay it down as one does any addiction. There are still withdrawal symptoms sometimes. Like this afternoon when the glory of creation is all around me and I’m invited to join it, to just be, but instead I only want something productive to do.
In the holy Scriptures I read, "God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6). It’s the word seated that echoes in my mind and heart. To be seated is a position of rest and dependence. When it comes to the eternal parts of us, the ones that will outlast all the laundry and the cartons of milk in the refrigerator, the striving is already over.
I think when Jesus said, “It is finished” He meant it not just about His work but ours too. Oh, yes, of course we will act out of love all our lives. But when it comes to the try-hard treadmill of our own efforts the “off” button has already been pushed. As humans in a busy, broken world we're forever discovering how to let all of ourselves sit down so that every part of who we are, from our souls to our painted toenails, are in alignment for a bit.
We think when we are working hard and wearing ourselves out that we must be most reflective of heaven. But it seems this is not so. Even when we are in motion on the outside, we can live like we're sitting down on the inside. In other words, we can place our confidence in knowing we're loved, chosen, and God is working all things together for our good. What He has done, what He is still doing, can be the “chair” we set our whole selves upon.
The birds call to each other and I wonder again what they’re really saying. Perhaps it is simply this: “God took care of us yesterday. He is taking care of us now. He will take care of us tomorrow.” And I pray, quietly, that I will live and rest and set myself in the center of this truth too. Like a woman who has found her true home. Like I'm in my favorite woven chair on the patio. Like a sparrow on her nest, singing the story her heart has known all along.
God, it’s so easy to strive to prove our worth. Thank You that we don’t have to—we can rest fully in what Jesus did for us on the cross and through His resurrection. I choose to do that today, to believe that I’m loved, accepted and in Your care.
In Jesus’ Name,
It’s Your Turn
Every time you see a bird today pause for a few seconds and take a deep breath. Whew. Let God’s creation be a reminder that you’re in His care too.
More from the Girlfriends
You can find more encouragement like this is in You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect by Holley Gerth and in her free weekly devotionals at holleygerth.com.
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Girlfriends in God
The birds call to each other and I wonder again what they’re really saying. Perhaps it is simply this...