Rest – Life’s Oxymoron

photoWhen I walked into the room and found Isley asleep on a large chair cushion on the floor, I couldn’t help but smile. Then I got a little jealous. Napping in the middle of the day, curled up like a kitten, comfortable and oblivious to everything around her, she was a picture of perfect rest. Letting everything go. Not worried about next things. Peaceful. Quiet.

Her mom would say that napping in the middle of the day is necessary for her two-year-old. It keeps her from being cranky and obnoxious. That’s a wonderful argument. I need a nap to keep me from being cranky and obnoxious. And ornery. All that negative emotion comes way too easily for me, especially without enough sleep. My dad used to tell me that a lack of sleep made me as ornery as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs with no way out. That is ornery colored by desperation.

Rest is something we all crave, yet we rarely make time to insure we have enough of it. Culturally we’re driven by busyness, by the belief that the success of everything we’re involved with is dependent on us. If it’s not work, then it’s the almost umbilical attachment we have to our technological devices. We jump into a car and crank up the radio or the music on our smart phones. Even walking or running requires ear buds to keep us connected to tunes so that we don’t have to listen to any semblance of quiet in our heads.

I question whether there can be quiet in my head.

If I stay quiet for too long, I find I do one of two things: fall asleep or fidget. Being still reminds me of how tired I usually am. So rather than be dozey, I squirm and wiggle like a five-year-old made to sit still in church with nothing to do but think about what I’d rather be doing.

Not very adult. But very real.

I’ve lost sight of what real rest is.

God rested on the seventh day, not because He needed to after a tough week, but for us. In love, He chose to give us a picture of true rest. He made us to work; Adam and Eve worked in the Garden before everything went south with their choice to disobey. And He gave us the gift of rest, that we might find refreshment and renewal on a continual basis. In Him and with Him.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

I, on the other hand, am not God. I can’t do what He does, nor am I expected to. But I can be still in Him. Quiet. Not filling my time and head with things that don’t matter in the long run. In eternity.

Will it take discipline? Undoubtedly. Is it easy? Not so much. Necessary? Absolutely.

I think I need to borrow a page from Isley’s playbook. Learn to let it go.

One response to “Rest – Life’s Oxymoron”

  1. I think one reason we avoid rest is because we think it means sitting still twiddling our thumbs. But, I think the Sabbath rest Jesus calls us to and modeled on earth is more playful. Delightful. I think God rested on the 7th day because he wanted to pause from the act of creating to enjoy all that he had created. I rest like he does when I take time to enjoy… the beauty of creation, the yumminess of good food, the sweetness of good friends.

    Dan Allendar’s book on Sabbath challenges me in these areas… it’s worth a read.


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