I am tired.
Bone weary, wake up planning my nap, “I now understand what boot camp must feel like,” (the military version, not the squats-in-the-park type… though I will avoid both like the plague) TIRED.
I started this year praying to find joy in my children, praying for REST. And as often happens, that spiraled into my own spiritual boot camp of sorts. Months of sick babies punctuated by houseguests, job changes, and our first surgery have drawn me down to the basest of survival modes. All of this tacked on to the end of several years of desert wandering, has left me in an endlessly restless state.
Days mesh into a glob of tantrums and coffee and wondering when I last showered. I look at the clock to realize the hubs will be home in 20 minutes and my appearance (and odor) is unchanged from the moment he kissed my groggy face goodbye eight-ish hours earlier. The idea of rest lazily oscillates around in the fog of my mind- sometimes stirring obsessive longing, sometimes guilt (like when you see that stack of dishes that didn’t get done AGAIN—what did you do all day?) And in this, it becomes just another four letter word- because how on earth am I to keep up with that Proverbs 31 broad AND rest. Unpossible (see, brain so broke it makes up words.)
Yet, the Bible talks about rest… A LOT. Like, commands it. Sets a day aside for it. Sets weeks and months and years aside for it, and requires even the land to be given rest. And Ms. Proverbs Three One- she’s not exempt. So how on earth do we walk in obedience in the area of rest, when all of life with its expectations and tiny, non-sleeping people, seem to be single-mindedly preying on it?
The beauty of scripture is that every story, command, and seemingly insignificant tittle, is a lovely glimpse of the broader meta-narrative of redemption. In the beginning God creates, it is good, there is rest. The world goes to chaos, Noah builds an ark, storms come, the ark rests, God promises future rest from his wrath. (PS Noah’s name comes from the Hebrew verb meaning “to rest”—mind. blown.) The Israelites are told to order their lives around a calendar punctuated by rest. Jesus calls people to his rest out of weariness and heavy burdens. A final rest is promised to all who believe. “Rest is the goal and culmination of the original creation, so it is also the goal and culmination of God’s work of re-creation.”**
Psalm 23 bids us to sit beside quiet waters, lie down in green pastures and enjoy restoration of soul. Psalm 46 tells us to be still and experience him. He has not only commanded, but has given you permission to lay down those burdens and be pampered in your enjoyment of him. While rest in the temporal may just sound like a really good nap, rest in the Infinite is an arrival into the Promised Land. Seasons of restlessness make us feel inadequate, lost, and empty. But rest in the Almighty makes us whole.
So, mama, stop striving for the appearance of togetherness, let go of the weariness of soul, stop trying to keep up and be enough.
Because true rest, the kind that our deep gut-cry longs for, comes only in the presence of the King. Each time rest is mentioned in the Bible it is a calling into the throne room. Anything more or less than that will never satisfy. But the beauty of it is, God rested from his work, so that in him you can rest from yours and enter confidently into his green pastures.
Now your job is to lie down, sit beside, drink in, do the seemingly unpossible… slow down. It means you have to say no to something to say yes to Him. Time is not rushing past you, it is flowing toward you- in gift form- receive, enjoy, and savor.
So stumble your sweat pants laden self into the throne room of the Beloved and let him lavish you with the rest your weary bones need. (Even if it requires you to hide in your pantry next to the half empty sleeve of Oreos and cup of coffee you’ve been looking for since last week.)
**Dictionary of the Old Testament Pentateuch. "Rest, Peace"