Tuesday, June 12, 2012

rest and margin

I feel that the theme of "rest" has become a recurring theme in my life. It's something that I struggle to find, but it's something that I desperately seek. I'm not talking about the "sleepy" kind of rest- I enjoy plenty of that. I'm talking about an inner peace, a resting of the mind. A resting of the worries of "what may happen". A resting of all of the thoughts that bombard my brain. I feel like my mind is constantly racing. There is just so much going on, so much that I'm trying to let sink in. The first few weeks of my summer internship, I really wanted to find peace. Last week, I started seeking rest (we are only on the fourth week of the summer- so rest needs to be found-quickly!).  I feel like every conversation I'm having, every devotional I'm reading, every thing in my life keeps pointing me towards rest. Rest isn't just intentionally setting aside time to yourself. I'm pretty good at that. It's also not just taking time to sleep- though I'm pretty good at that, too! It's putting margin into our lives. It's putting space between where we are and the breaking point. It's taking the time to process and evaluate what we are doing. C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity that “if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer […] progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road.” If we continue down the wrong path, then we just get farther and farther away from our intended destination. If we continue to head the wrong direction- towards the "other side" of our margin, we aren't doing ourselves any favors. But, I've found that stopping periodically and evaluating where I'm at tends to keep me in a healthier place. It's how I find rest.
 All of this work to find rest may seem a little counter intuitive. I mean, when I think of rest, I tend to think of doing nothing. I tend to equate resting to relaxing. But, the soul doesn't find rest by laying in bed trying to fall asleep. The soul doesn't find rest when it's relaxing by watching television while also letting millions of thought race though your mind. I think sometimes the only way that our souls can find rest is to take time to process what's happening. Something that I'm really enjoying this summer is taking time on Sunday afternoons to have lunch by myself. I used to refuse to eat at a restaurant by myself. It just seemed weird and anti-social. But, my Sunday lunches are my time. After a morning of Sunday School and big church, I need that time to process what happened that morning.
  • What did God do this morning in worship? 
  • What did I do at church today?
  • What were the good things that happened?
  • What would I do differently if I could have a "re-do"? 
  • What do I need to work on?
  • How did God speak to me this morning? 
  • How did I respond/ how should I respond?
Sunday lunches are a special time for me to spend with my creator. If you come across me, you might find me reading my Bible (or another book). You might find me doing my devotional reading or writing in my journal. You might find me on my computer reading blogs or checking/ sending emails. You might even find me on Facebook (but, I promise it's only for ministry-related purposes!). I love the time that I get to spend processing what happened. I've discovered that by taking this time, it's easier to find rest later. I'm not continuing to dwell on the planning side of things for hours and days to come, and it's easier for my planning/analytical mind to move forward. After I take this time, I'm able to find rest. While reading yesterday's Jesus Calling, it struck me how important it is to give my mind a break sometimes.
Rest in Me, My child. Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen. Pray continually, asking My Spirit to take charge of the details of this day. 
Take time in your day to be still and cease striving. Let go of your worries and allow God to transform your mind and give you peace and rest. I truly believe that this is so important. Yes, "time off" of work is great. Fridays and Saturdays that I can sleep in and stay in bed reading books all day are wonderful. But, I think that setting aside time to process is an important step in the process. I've found that the only time that I can "shut off" my mind to sleep at night is when I've taken the time to resolve all of the day's events. I need that time to correct my errors in my margin. I need that time to say "Oops. I messed up. I need to work on this." Otherwise, I get caught up in rambling thoughts bombarding my mind and it ends up taking me hours to fall asleep- even when I'm totally exhausted. Take time to process and take time to find rest. Seek to keep that margin space nice and empty- and try to avoid pushing yourself to the breaking point. That's what God's been teaching me this weekend/week.

1 comment:

  1. I love your new Sunday ritual. What a great way to be intentional about 'hearing' from God through worship. I am so proud of you --can't wait to see you Friday!