Typical Saturday. David is working and the kids and I had a birthday party to go to, which is actually the better kind of Saturday than when he’s working and there’s no party. With lots of sugar in them and no husband to help, bedtime was surprisingly smooth. All three big kids in bed by 8:05, only half an hour after their “official” bedtime. Then I just needed to convince the baby his nap at the party wasn’t enough sleep, and I could finally sit down to rest. Rest for me tonight looked like this: pumping milk to replace the bottle I fed Ethan at the party while deleting all my unwanted emails. I scrolled past Old Navy and World Market (delete delete), kept the two messages from church, then there was this one I stopped and stared at. The subject was:
Here’s Where You Can Find the Rest
Such a bold invitation. Something inside me thrilled at the prospect, even though I knew deep in my bones it couldn’t be better than what I already know. Still, I was excited. I didn’t recognize the sender’s name but clicked hopefully, imagining her secret oasis.
Maybe you read that with the right definition of “rest” in mind. What I didn’t expect to find was a few links to “the rest” of her helpful information about reading to your homeschooled children. Ugh.
I was intrigued in that disappointed moment not by the homeschool book expert but by my own longing heart. What is it in me that is so tired? Why did her mirage look just exactly like water and turn out to be pavement? Why did I dive into that shimmery pond when I am supposed to have a living water source splashing out from inside me?
Love. Freedom. Rest. Power. These are four promises Jesus gave us, four promises I’ve been trying to understand for the better part of this year. Especially rest. I’ve lived a striving life, from my tiny beginnings to this very moment, always expecting to hear a gavel pound and some voice declaring, “You’re just not good enough.” I told my Dad once that I never feel like I’m enough (also simultaneously knowing I’m “too much” most of the time). He told me, “I’m not sure why that is. I don’t know many people who are more than you.” Loving words from a dad who has poured water into a cracked vessel my whole life, never filling me up. It’s hard to fill broken things, that’s the problem. There either needs to be a tsunami of affirmation (which is why falling in love is the happiest of all seasons for us cracked ones) or the love can’t outpour the leak.
This is where you can find the rest.
The problem with rest is, it sounds so passive, like a pillowy cloud I can leap on and experience sleep and joy simultaneously. A place of doing nothing but getting everything. I imagine one of those fancy theaters with reclining seats and a feel-good movie that ends with a long nap. Rest. But maybe rest is more like that email was talking about. Maybe it’s the rest of the story, the part we can’t get to unless we keep on reading. Maybe rest is active, the way my body feels 10 pounds lighter after a run. The rest is after weariness. It’s “come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest, ” not “come if you’re lazy and tired of sitting on the couch.” It’s a verse for us strivers, because no one needs to tell us to try hard. We’re hard-wired to do that. But someone does need to tell us to rest, and Jesus took that one himself. He is rest. He isn’t still, though. He’s inviting me to love orphans and widows and give generously and watch heaven open up and pour storehouses out, and turn the other cheek, and invite the ugliest people to the party, and stop to help that guy who got robbed and left for dead on the side of the road. He’s inviting me to be just like him, and he’s this guy who can sleep in the middle of a storm, because deep in his bones he knows rest. God has the rest. All I have to do is come and after whatever striving I’m doing he’ll give me: rest. He’ll give me himself. And every time I go there, I find my cracks are being mended and he’s making me whole.