Sunday, October 23, 2005


Is it truly possible to rest in a world that doesn't?
Think about it, how many people do you know that really know how to rest without trying? Without feeling guilty, without doing something. Watching t.v., listening to ipods, emailing, working in their yard or their home, running errands, going somewhere else to rest because they can't do it at home etc. I know you can "discipline" yourself or "teach" yourself. But isn't that more work. Isn't that adding more to your To Do List. I find it utterly sad that in our culture and world today we have to pencil in time to rest. It doesn't seem to come natural anymore. And let's face it if and when you do stop how many of us feel lazy for doing it. I think one of the reasons we don't rest is expressed in this quote "If I am not working, who am I? If have free time, will my demons return - those thoughts and fears and possibilities that I am able to sidestep by being busy. Will I feel useless, uneasy? Will something new be expected of me?" Martha Whitmore Hickman in a A day of Rest.


The Suburban Nomad said...

Can't say I'm tracking with you on this one... No doubt we need to rest, but rest is a gift to restore us from and for our work. People are created to carry out the on going creative work of God in this world. Sure places like McDonalds wants us to believe "we deserve a break today" but maybe that's because we don't beleive in the "work" we are doing. I think God has designed and blessed us with the ability to enjoy the work we do. Sure a days work might occasionally let us down this side of heavan, but the blessing is in a job well done. Rest comes at the end of creation not before. Taking your friend Hickman's comment in context, I can't help but wonder where we'd all be if God decided to just find His self-esteem in resting and never bothered to create the world.

Lira said...

I think you're right about the demons or voices or shadows of fear or whatever you want to call them. Trying to stay one step ahead of them robs people of rest--and ultimately of peace.

Have you read "A Wizard of Earthsea"? In that story, I think Le Guin gives the only real solution to the problem of rest.

Work and rest can actually become simultaneous at times. And of course, resting and working alternate with each other--or ought to--regularly. But I've yet to hear of an instance when busy-ness and rest go together at all.

When we can't rest, sure, it becomes work to learn how to rest. But that is real work, not merely overwork. And once the task of learning rest is incorporated into one's workload, the weight of that workload lessens.

I've been thinking a lot about this over the past couple months (being the unrested creature that I have been during those months). I think that rest is very possible. All our guilt, real and self-inflicted, died with Christ. Now there is no condemnation for those who hang out in Him. That is the horrific truth we have to face. We can't authentically define ourselves by what or how much we do or don't do. But it takes raw trust and courage to define ourselves as the beloved.

In such a case as this, it is too risky to rest. We might just discover in the stillness that all our work and activity is nothing--nothing, meaningless, vanity. Or we might discover that the work of one loved by God is so tremendous and powerful that all of Creation is impacted by it. Or we might start thinking that the work of being just who we are really is enough.

Sometimes, it seems easier to rush about, restless and rest-less, than to consider the possibility that we are loved for who we are.