Sitting here, I can’t seem to keep my eyes open.
Rest. It is something I am so bad at so much of the time. But I know I need it. When I can feel the heaviness of my eyes in the middle of the afternoon. When I can’t read for more than 20 minutes without falling asleep. It is time to rest.
But rest is so hard to come by. The weeks fly by without me even noticing at times. My days seem to get filled so fast with work, running, cleaning myself up, making food, spending intentional time with Lyric, and time spent with God. I do it all just to wake up again the next day and do it all over. It is a never ending cycle. How do I find rest and refreshment amidst all the craziness?
When Jesus died on that cross, He brought shalom to all of His creation. Shalom is something so much greater than our earthly assumptions of peace or the like. Shalom is God’s kingdom coming to earth.
One of our core phrases at the Bridge Street House of Prayer (BSHOP) was beauty in the brokenness. Living on the Westside (…is the bestside), we were forced to acknowledge both that beauty and brokenness and to reflect on how they coexist at the same time in the neighborhood we were blessed to call home for six months. The Westside is not the holiest, perhaps not even the bestest, side of Grand Rapids. But it holds a special place in many of our hearts because of how we witnessed God’s transforming power time and time again. Whether it was BSHOP’s local free coffee shop, The Pavilion, where neighbors feel welcomed and accepted and loved, or Campus Life at Union High School where so many different ethnic groups come together to learn more about the God they serve, or in the Mission School, where twelve students from different backgrounds all came together and found a family by the end of their eight months together. Yes, BSHOP, and the Westside, is a special place.
But the Westside also taught me, and is still teaching me, many lessons about what it truly means to rest and live in the tension between beauty and brokenness.
I have always been a go-getter. I see what needs to get done and I’ll do it. That is great, except when it comes at the expense of my own sanity. The struggle is real, as they say.
Something a friend said recently really struck me. They said you should work to rest, not rest to work. It is a simple re-wording, but it makes a huge difference. When you work to rest, instead of resting to work, it changes your whole mentality. It means you give your one-hundred at work. But then you leave work at work and allow yourself to rest. I’m not saying it is easy. Most evenings I end up worrying about all the deliveries I have the next morning and the stress of work.
But God calls us to rest. I mean, he gave us a whole day for rest, for crying out loud. I am blessed to work Monday through Friday. That means the typical weekend to do what I want and get ready for another work week. Sometimes the days and weeks go by so fast and I forget to slow down. When I realize God made me to put in work, to give my one-hundred, so that I can enjoy the times of rest, it puts everything in perspective. I no longer take two days to rest so I can go back to my draining job for another long five days. Now, yes, God did create us to work, to do what we have to do to make a living. When I realize that I was made to work so I can rest, not the other way around, it gives my work purpose. When I start with why, I recognize that there is a reason to the work I put in.
Taking the time I need to rest not only allows me to give my all at work, it also allows me to pour into other areas of my life that need just as much attention as what I do to bring home the bacon. Resting allows me to pour into the love of my life, my fiance. It allows me to read good books. When I rest, I can pursue my other dreams and passions.
I have realized the hard way how much more I enjoy my rest, when I actually take it, when I work hard. It works in reverse as well. When I rest and allow myself to not be consumed by anything else, I actually enjoy doing a long, hard days work. This lesson hasn’t been easy to learn. As with most things I’ve learned, there is a 70-30 chance I’ll have to learn it again. But I’ll take it.
God calls us to rest. To love. To live. In all areas of life.