Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rest (continued)

A few days ago, I wrote about rest.  About needing rest.  About not knowing how to rest.  About the way I strongly feel God calling me to something so simple - and yet so bold - as rest.  And while I don't normally subscribe to the idea of blog as journal (or diary, as you might prefer to call it), I do believe in living out loud.  That post struck a chord with so many, really unexpectedly from my end,  and I think if I am that much not alone in this battle over rest, it's important to do what I can to wrestle out loud in the hopes that maybe those who are wrestling alongside me will find strength to do the same.

Because you see, it's happened again.  And that's how this wrestling thing is.  When God wants your heart, He wants it.  When He is pursuing something specific in you, He is dogged about it.  He's not going to give up; He's not going to let go.  And once your heart is clued in to what He's trying to do in your life in this moment, every whisper screams louder.  Every invitation wails.  Every missed moment grates at your very core until you know.  You just know.  Your life screams in disobedience and tears in torment as you're pulled toward this thing that you know God wants of you (and you want to, but are so intimidated by) and ripped away from what you previously knew as comfort, security, safety, steadiness, strength...whatever it is you have known.

So here it is.  I'm sitting in church on Sunday morning, just as any other Sunday might be except that this time, there is an after-church, "if you are able" project: moving all of the chairs to the outer walls in preparation for holy carpet cleaning.  As I sat there, working on another piece of my heart during communion, something I'd been holding out on that is going to become a communion thought at some later point, I noticed I was visibly tuned out.  Tuned out from the worship.  Tuned out from the sermon.  Tuned out from the fellowship.  Just tuned out.  Then I noticed that I was also very tuned in...to what was going to happen after services.  I was scouting out the rows, calculating the spaces, looking ahead to of all things chair stacking while the congregation worshiped around me.  Their eyes were on the heavens, and my mind was playing church chair jenga.

Work is in me.  Like I mentioned in my last post on rest, it's where I know I can find my God.  It's where my questions are answered.  It's where I feel like I'm something - when I'm busy.  When I'm doing.  When my hands are dirty.  When I'm in there.  Sitting in the back row this past Sunday morning, I had this heavy feeling that my worship experience would not be complete until every chair was stacked, my brow dripped with sweat, I felt that satisfying burn, and I got to look up at my God and say: This is it!  

Then I had this even heavier feeling that my true worship experience was passing me by, and the whisper of God screamed through my heart: THIS is it...and you're missing something here.

He wants me to rest.  He wants me to trust Him enough to rest.  He wants me to love Him enough to rest.  To engage in the moments where I don't feel like I'm offering anything because I don't have anything to do and to know Him in those moments, too.  More than that, to believe in Him in those moments as strongly as I do in the sweat and the blood and the ache and the mission.

The truth is that though I can't put my finger on it (quite literally), I do have an offering to bring in those moments, as well.  I give Him something my hands never could; I give Him me.  In all the work I seek to honor Him with through my hands, I can't hand me over.  I can't pick myself up and plop myself down in His arms.  I have to simply put my hands down and let His take me.  So that is my offering - the fullness of me.  Not what I can give Him, but what He can take of me.

The problem is that though I've found this place where my questions are answered, where I know who I am and am certain who He is and that is enough (more than enough), the truth is that I'm still living in unanswered questions.  That's what is intimidating about rest.  Rest, for me; for you, it's whatever that situation is that He's calling on your heart to answer but you hesitate, because you don't know about that place.  It's intimidating because I know He's right; that is still a place of unanswered questions.

That is the place that, though He is calling me, I am scared to go because every question I think I have figured out in this place will come streaming back into my heart in that place.  While here, I know that I am enough, will I be enough there?  Here, I know that He is enough.  Will He be enough there?  Will anything about my worth, my image, my gift, my opportunities, my calling, my mission, my purpose, my promise mean something in that place as I've finally found it to mean something here?  Will HIS gift, mission, promise, answer about me mean not just something but everything in that place as I have found it to mean here?  I'm holding on to here because I like these answers.  They encourage and inspire and strengthen me.  I know they are enough.  If I am in that place that I just don't know and am surrounded by the questions, will I find the answers are enough?  I don't want to be asking again.  I'd rather just know.

And unfortunately, I can't.  I can't know until I go there.  I can't know until I ask the questions again.  Until I let them overwhelm and surround and burden me and I let my heart cry those painful words again, those questions that I've finally gotten Him to answer here and I'm just praying, Lord, that You will answer them in a new place, too.  Because the more I think about it, the more I'm willing to say that I don't want to be stuck here.  I don't want to have only this one place where I know.  I don't want to be stuck in this rut, as nice as I find it and as confidently as I live here right now...because right now can change and then where will I be.  This is a good place, and I like what I have here.  But it's not forever.  At least, I hope there's something more for me, too.  If I want to know that, then I guess I have to ask the questions again and invite my heart to live in whatever that is.

Even if it is rest.

In my previous rambling, I concluded that the answer to the question "Am I anything if I'm not doing something?" is clearly, "I am His."  And now here I am stuck on this place called work, this place called doing, still not sure about rest because this place, as I define it, is the one where I know.  The one where I know God, trust Him, believe in Him and what He's doing in me, and simply know.  And God answers this by telling me it isn't this place.  This place makes sense, sure, but it isn't because of what I think of as here.  

This place that is answered, this place that knows....this place where I make sense...is nowhere more than in Him.  Not in work.  Not in dirt.  Not in sweat.  Not in the garage.  In Him.

So the answer to the dilemma of my heart, as God invites, calls, and insists me to rest and my life screams in disobedience and hesitation is simply this: what am I?  I am His.  And where can I know?  In Him.  His answer...is "be Mine.  And be in Me."

Can I do that?  Can I really just do that?

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