Struggling to Rest

charm5While I try not to overpack my schedule, I’d classify my approach to time-management as “focused” and “efficient.” I’m usually fairly accurate about how long something will take. I can look ahead and see small steps I can take in order to prepare for the completion of something, which is also another way of saying I rarely have nothing to do.

But I think I rest well, too. I am intentional about the rest that God says I need, and I’ve come to believe Him. I’m not just talking about a nap (which I don’t do well) or a day off but consistent rest even in the chaos. Rest isn’t just the lack of something. It’s a step into His presence. It’s a pursuit, not a retreat.

A little while back, I looked ahead and determined two weeks that would be “rest” weeks for me. I would still have things to do, but I wasn’t planning any major writing or house projects. I wasn’t going to schedule any lunch dates that weren’t already in my book. I was going to take it easy, get refreshed, and listen for God’s direction.

But first I had to quiet myself, and it was more challenging than I thought. I had given myself such kudos for resting on an ongoing basis, that I hadn’t thought this was going to be a problem. I’d even taken a vacation in the last several months, and I had no trouble relaxing during it. But this was a different kind of relaxing. It was something I couldn’t fit into my schedule. It was the conviction that rest doesn’t always come easily. Sometimes, it’s because we ignore it for too long. But sometimes the struggle to rest is simply to point out that we don’t control rest.

Rest is something God gives us. He longs for us to experience it. Yet we have to struggle to experience it at times. We have to set aside the obvious “to-do” lists, and we have to set aside so much more–our thoughts, comforts, assumptions. When we’re seeking His provision of rest, it has to be all about Him. We step toward Him, into His presence, and willingly leave ourselves behind.

It’s not easy. It’s a process. Don’t try to simply put it on your calendar and expect it to happen on your timetable. Find rest in Him one step at a time in every situation throughout each day.

Begin today. Right now.

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