Tag Archives: rest

Finding rest

I read this the other day and found it to be incredibly insightful, complex theology with good news for the weary.  Reprinting this with permission from Kayla McClurg at Inward/Outward Ministries and hoping you find rest in the Lord:

Finding Rest

Reflections on the Lectionary, Kayla McClurg

For Sunday, July 6, 2014 – Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

 We are rarely satisfied. We tend to be continually busy yet jealously guard our down time. We are both generous and self-serving, overly confident and doubting. We are buried in things and see more that we want. We want to join the dance; we want to be a recluse. We judge ourselves and yet are slow to change. We want, we know not what. Anything other than the way it is.

 We are a bit like those spoken of in the scriptures: “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn. John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard.'” We are rarely satisfied.

We even change our ideas about God to match our current moods. The God of our making rarely gets to be simply who God is, any more than we get to be who we are. Jesus knows us well. He knows what we want and what we need, and he knows what a heavy load we have made of our lives. So he says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary of carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

How will he do this? Oddly enough, by putting something more upon us-his yoke, which he says is easy, and his burden, which he says is light. Not weighted by a lack of satisfaction, a tendency to criticize and want always more, his burden is made light by being carried together. Yoked to him the weight is evenly dispersed; we walk in balance, steady, no longer swayed by mood. We begin to know what it is to be satisfied. We find rest for our souls.

Fatigue

I’ve been hitting my snooze button a lot lately.

A fellow passenger off the overnight train from China, catching some shut-eye in the early morning by Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi.

About a year ago if I’d been letting my body sleep in like this, I’d have probably launched into a stream of self-criticism and guilt and then willed myself to get about life and the business of working on my dissertation research here in China and all that entails.

But with just a few short months left, my perspective has changed.  

It’s not only that I’ve learned to adjust to the rhythm of life here in China, allowing the week to take shape by way of others’ last minute phone calls rather than relying on my best laid plans.  I’ve learned to sleep when I find the time, work when the time is nigh, and throw all that American work-balance stuff out the window!  But I’ve also submitted to a certain desire, a need even, to sink into life here and relish these moments with foster mothers, trusted friends, and brothers and sisters.

Chinese ladies dancing in the square.

This life in China, this life of mine is about to change dramatically, and I don’t want to miss the goodness and the blessings it has provided by worrying or planning the time away.  Nor do I want to add to the fatigue and the fear of change by hurrying its process.  In due time, I keep telling myself.  Because truthfully, I don’t know how to gracefully exit a life where I’ve made such deep friendships, where I’ve been so changed and challenged by another culture and others’ faith.

And so I muddle on, slightly fatigued, but my spirit deeply satisfied with all that I’ve learned and all there is to continue to learn.  And I let my eyes rest a little bit longer in the morning, knowing that the days will be long, but full, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Holding a foster child.

All photos by Evan Schneider.

 

 

Gentleness

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:4-7

Last night as I was reflecting on this verse and preparing for some silent prayer, I was recalling three words I had scrawled in magic marker on pink construction paper six years ago in Puerto Rico: kindness, patience, gentleness. That pink swatch of construction paper served as a bookmark in my Bible for many years, reminding me of God’s greatness and my own weaknesses. You see, kind, patient, and gentle are three things I was not (and probably still am not), but three things that I had committed to praying for, to becoming through God’s work in me.

It is quite recently, however, in this past year, through weekly talks with a soul friend of mine, that I have been learning that truly experiencing God’s grace requires dealing gently not only with others, but first with oneself. After all, how can I impart grace to others if I do not embrace that promise of grace first myself?

Reading through my devotional last night, it reminded me that a prayer word in silent prayer serves as a gentle way of coming back to God. “Free from thinking,” J. David Muyskens writes, “we enter a profound rest.”

It is a small thing, but I recalled a moment during yesterday when I was genuinely fatigued, but I couldn’t figure out a way to rest. I felt convicted that I should have been doing something, and so I was restless, which I am becoming convinced is an unnatural state for humans created by a God who made a day for rest! A friend of mine also recently sent me this article on clergypeople who are not taking time to rest, and for whom it is causing great consequences.

It sounds simple, but I think learning to rest, and being gentle, are two qualities which usher in the fullness of the humanity for which God intended for us.

In what ways do you resolve to deal gently with yourself, and how does it bring you nearer to experiencing God’s peace?