Branching off from the Sabbath theme of yesterday, I think it's important to mention that while I Sabbath deliberately (and yes, I assume 'Sabbath' is a verb), I do not do a fantastic job of resting. Ever.
Where to go from that statement is unexpectedly difficult. I thought I knew what I was going to say and as I try to write any of that number of words, they just aren't right. The truth is that this is something God has been working on in me - rest, stillness, quiet - for quite awhile and whatever words I'd say to "explain" myself would be more an attempt to "excuse" myself. And the last thing I need in my life (how about you?) is more excuses.
I sense very deeply that God is persistently inviting me to rest. He would love for me to rest. Not simply to stop, but to rest. And to rest in Him. To let myself nestle in His being enough and let that envelop me and be enough in my heart, too.
Earlier this week, my neighbor came to chat on my porch and brought up that she had a new light for the outside of her garage that needed installed, but she was so weary of bothering our mutual neighbor (a contractor, my boss) to do such things for her. I told her she could bother me, and about an hour later, I popped over with wire strippers, a screwdriver, and a roll of electrical tape. I breathed one heavy breath as I bent over to sort through the installation packet that came with the new light, and she, concerned, said, "You're tired. You don't have to..." And in my incessant, obstinate, disciplined fashion, I immediately responded without looking up. "I'm not tired. I'm just..." then settled on "tired" as I looked up and smiled that shy little mission smile I have. Until that moment, I hadn't considered that I would be tired and I wouldn't have considered admitting that, but she nailed it. As soon as I said the word, my heart sighed this resounding "yup" and I was overwhelmed with tired. Not the kind of tired necessarily that requires sleep; just tired.
That's been God's cue to start coming after my heart all over again, pursuing my rest with this blatantly blessed invitation.
Oh, it's tempting! I'm in this place where the sight of my heart can wrap itself around this image, this beautiful scene of my letting myself enter into His rest. Into His arms. Into this place where I can hear His heartbeat. And all is still. And all is rest. And all is enough. He is enough.
Then I kind of panic a little. Because it's nice, but it 1) is an invitation to a deeper moment, one of tears and surrender as I admit in that moment that He is enough and I am totally not and 2) feels like I ought to be doing something!
It's not that I have some grand to-do list, some endless roster of tasks to complete, or even anything all that important. It's that...it's that my life has never been quiet and even when it seemed that way, it was screaming loud in my own heart and in all the time I've known God, I've found it almost easy to know Him, to find Him, to be fully in Him when my hands are dirty. When I'm into something. Or yes, when I'm up to something. When I'm looking around and there's a little burn in my muscles and a little grease on my hands and I wouldn't dream of washing up because I feel like this is it. This is something, and I'm fully in it. And there's my God, and He's in it, too. And together, we're just...man, these moments are beautiful. Every question I've ever had - about myself, about my world, about my worth, about my God - is answered. In the noise, I know how to find my God.
But in the quiet? In rest? I dunno. I feel burdened by the moment. By the questions. By the...lack. When I'm busy, when there's noise, I am something. I am...a neighbor, a friend, a minister, a writer, a carpenter, a mason (oh, let me tell you how much fun I'm having with masonry this week!), an assistant, a worker bee, a servant, a missionary...I feel like I'm something because I can clearly see what I am at any given moment. Those dirty hands give me away. But when I'm quiet...when I'm not pinpointedly, clearly, obviously, evidently anything, all these questions come back up of...what am I? And in this heart, bruised and battered as so many of us are from this fallen world, that's not an easy question to ask, let alone answer.
Of course we know the answer is this: In stillness, in rest, without a speck of oil or dirt or grease or mortar in sight, without a project or a to-do list or a mission..what am I? Am I anything?
I am His.
And that's why He's persistently after my heart right now to rest. Because He knows - and I know - that if I can embrace that moment, that invitation to rest, it is a moment in which I am nothing but His. Simply His. He wants that to be enough for me. While the echoes in my hollowed heart scream and cry and demand that I must be more or that at least, I must be worthy, the truth is that I want that to be enough for me, too. So much so that now, I'm looking for rest. I'm deliberately looking for that place He's called me to and trying to figure out how to drag my heart along. Because I want that. And what's more - I want in that place what I have in the noise: I want rest to be a place, too, that I know is something and that I'm fully in it with my God and a place where every question I've ever had - about myself, about my world, about my God - is still answered.
As my heart cries out, "But....but....but....am I anything here?" I need, in the rest, to hear both my answer: I am His. And His answer: I Am.