Somewhere along the way, rest got a bad rap.
I often wonder when this happened.
I speak to many people who are uncomfortable and unable to rest. They go, go, go, do, do, do…in a constant, dazed, often caffeine-fueled frenzy. Until they can’t go any longer. The body breaks. The mind crashes. The world crumbles.
I know it, I’ve been there. I’ve twice cycled through initial excitement, over-working, burnout, emotional crumbling, physical manifestations of stress-induced illnesses and its associated zombie-like sleepwalking.
It’s not pretty. I don’t recommend it. I’ve done what everyone else is doing. I’ve busied myself to not have to deal with emotions, fears and insecurities. I’ve drank, bought, performed and achieved myself to an illusory satisfaction and contentment.
I’ve thought the answer was more. Always more. More doing, more buying, more hoarding, more gathering, more storing, more achieving, more meetings, more titles…more, more, more. Until somehow, for some reason, my eyes were opened to the fallacy of it all. The illusions of the chase. The failings of the temporal. I’ve needed more of everything, chased the wind, tried to build my house on shifting sands. In the end, it all failed. It was meaningless.
These days, with it all flipped upside down, rest & relaxation are of paramount priority in my life. Quieting, sitting, calming, quieting, listening, being, connecting deeply with the voice & wisdom & truth & reality within. I read. I rest. I slow. I listen. I walk. I hear.
I’ve given up the striving. I’ve given up the trying. I’ve abandoned the chasing. I’ve released myself from the shackles of comparison. I’ve surrendered to the fact that I am not my performance, my job, my car, my house, my bank accounts, my authority, my power or anything else that I used to measure myself according to what everyone else says we ought to be or achieve.
Today, I rest. I rest in the physical, and I rest in my Creator. I rest in who He says I am. I rest when I’m tired. I wake when I’m rested. The priorities of this world are not my priorities. What other people think of me or how they qualify me or identify me is not who I am.
I am who I am says I am. I rest in the Truth. In a world that can’t stop going, I’m counter-culture. In a world that needs more, I focus on quiet thankfulness & gratitude for the peace I have and how I love and serve others.
Most people don’t get it. And that’s OK. Because I didn’t get it, until my life imploded in traumatic crushing fashion leading to dependence upon what cannot be bought or achieved or earned or done.
Until there was nothing left of me, I could not rest. And living in that place is the only thing my heart yearns for.