How not to rest:
Bring your laptop in your bed with you.
Think of all the things you could be doing instead of laying down,
Think of how much money you would be making if you were working.
Decide to get out of bed and count all the cash you have in the house.
Plan your meals for the week.
Google “how to use more coupons.”
Review your financial plan for the next five years.
Look for jobs to support said financial plan.
And on the 7th day, he rested.
I, clearly, did not.
I’ve been here before, this tug of war our culture plays between work and rest. The trick of balancing how much is enough, how much is too much, and at what amount am I supposed to be satisfied.
How exactly do we know when to quit the race in a culture that glorifies the man, the woman, who seems to be able to do it all, instead of the man or woman who was home for dinner every night with their kids, there to tuck them into bed and read them a story? How do we stop in a world that praises the man who makes a promotion while his marriage falls apart, the woman who hustles between her regular and side job while collapsing from exhaustion every night.
We don’t make dinners, we buy them pre-packaged or taken-out, so our nation-wide health is on the decline.
We don’t see friends, so we tweet them and say it counts- making us the loneliest generation in history.
Resting then, I think, is counter-cultural. To say no to a world that says that we are nothing if we can’t do it all is certainly not normal, not anticipated. And there is a chance that others won’t know what to do with us. To a world that wants us to be all that we can be, we stop walking, turn back and pause for a minute to ask:
At what expense?
What does it mean to be “all that we can be"? Is that an impossible question, a standard meant to be achieved?
And what does it mean to be satisfied in the midst of all this achievement?
There has to be a better way, I think.
“There is,” He whispers back.
I have no to-do list to a less complicated life, no step-by-step guide of how to proclaim my life as mine again- most of those lists that some deem themselves so helpful add only another thing to my life, another burden I feel the need to take on.
All I can come to is that He rested, and so should I.
I have heard it explained that man was made on the sixth day, and God rested on the seventh, meaning man’s first full day on earth was one of gathering energy, not expending it.
My husband and I spent some months in Latin America assisting with mission trips for students who came to visit a tiny Cuban town, and these trips always ran Saturday night-Friday morning. Christian Cubans practiced a Sabbath regularly, meaning the first full day that these students had on their mission trip was a day of rest for them. Coming from an “earn it, get it done” culture, these students (and sometimes their leaders) often struggled on their first day, and I couldn’t blame them.
Rest? They asked. But we haven’t even done anything yet. We haven’t helped or served. How can we rest?
Neither had man in creation, and still, it was a day of gaining, not expending. We are created to begin with rest and work from there, not work all week trying to earn our rest.
We maybe have gotten things backwards. I know that I have.
And so He meets me here, and I ask again: Help. Teach me to set it down, my need to earn, my need to prove. Teach me to begin with rest. To begin knowing that He already worked, to start from a place of confidence.
“...and he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had done.” Genesis 2:2
“It is finished.” John 19:30
“It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 21:6