Rest

Come and rest in me. Find the rest you need. Go get some rest. Can I have the rest of the pie? This and the rest of those. Rest a while from your struggle.

Rest.

It strikes me today, in the midst of sleep deprivation and fatigue, that I feel that I not only need rest, but that the rest of me is missing. I am not whole because I have not gathered the rest that I need. I have not been able to rest in ways that grant me strength and rejuvenation.

Rest is one of those things, that the harder you try to attain it, the more elusive it becomes. It is as if I was a five year old chasing after butterflies, or a skittish cat. The more I run, the more my antics rise, the more that I grab after my goal, the more it seems that my goal disappears. The more that I strive and work and anguish over the lack of rest or sleep that I have, the more likely that I will not be able to find it.

Rather, I should be like that five year old, who, when instructed, sits down quietly, with a bowl of warm milk, and the skittish cat comes to feed, at rest at her feet.

What can I do to allow rest to come and overtake me like that? Instead of grabbing at rest, fifteen minutes here, a few hours sleep there, what can I hold in peace, and allow rest to come and feed me?

Like sand, the more I try to grip it, the more it slips through my fingers.

My mind is a rushing river of thoughts, revolving and whirlpooling through my head when I lay down or wake in the night. And I even try to come and accept them, in an attempt to allow them to be noticed and then laid aside, rather than ignored to rear their angry heads again. I focus on my breathing, running though different ways of holding by body, and allowing the image of the stress of my form to release with each exhale.

And yet, hours of the night are spent in unrest.

Unrest. It is the term for a country not quite at war, but definitely not at peace. And so my body is not at war with itself, though sometimes it does seem to be that way. But my body is also not at peace. In times of stillness, there is still furtive action ongoing.

Instead of immobility, perhaps my mind needs to be guided to another stream of thoughts.

Meditate on the Word of God.

Focus on the way that I carry my body.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Allow emotions to flow over me, and through me, rather than squelching unpleasantness. Take each moment as the gift it is, embracing the opportunity to see the glory of the Lord in each aspect of creation.

For those who want to keep their lives will lose them, but those who lose their lives for my sake, will have eternal life.             –Luke 17:33 (paraphrase)

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.                                                                                                –Matthew 11:28-29

Holy Sprit, lose me into you. Take over when I try too hard. Guide me, protect me, and keep me from harm. Let me rest in you.

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1 thought on “Rest”

  1. Lauren Winner wrote an article once that spoke of good rest as a counter-cultural act in today’s world. Thanks for the reminder of the spiritual dimension of this daily practice.

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