Do you ever have a moment when something just clicks? I did today. I recently ordered three books. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker (don’t even get me started on all the ‘moments’ I’ve had with this one), The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith (beautiful), and Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. Usually when I get a new book I finish it in mere hours, shutting out the real world in exchange for this new, imaginary one. The exception to this is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Despite my best efforts, this took me months to finish. MONTHS! But in the end, I did it. You cannot defeat me, Tolstoy!
This time, I’ve forced myself to only read a little at a time and to continue to interact like a normal person. It’s really hard, guys. I’ve had these three books for almost two whole weeks and I’m still reading them!
Today I was trying to read a little of Bread and Wine while I ate my lunch, an attempt made nearly impossible by the kids I have to care for. But I managed to sufficiently redirect their attention while I read a quick chapter. That’s when I came across this paragraph:
I was all feasting and no fasting- all noise, connection, go; without rest, space, silence. I was all flash and text and motion, but inside I was so tired. I was so tired I could only hear really loud music and taste really strong flavors- more, more, more. Intensity, intensity, intensity.
I reread and underlined and highlighted, because whoa. That. That is how I’m feeling right now. I’m feeling this need to consume food, coffee, media, books, noise. I need noise to sleep, but I wake up unrested; noise to fill up the silent spaces in my day to keep me awake and going. When I watch TV I’m also looking at Pinterest and Facebook and different blogs.
Then she adds:
What I’m finding is that when I’m hungry, lots of times what I really want more than food is an external voice to say, “You’ve done enough. It’s OK to be tired. You can take a break. I’ll take care of you. I see how hard you’re trying.” There is, though, no voice that can say that except the voice of God. The work I’m doing now is to let those words fall deeply on me, to give myself permission to be tired, to be weak, to need.
In 7, Jen Hatmaker defines a fast as “an intentional reduction, a deliberate abstinence to summon God’s movement in my life. A fast creates margin for God to move. Temporarily changing our routine of comfort jars us off high center. A fast is not necessarily something we offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves.”
So, what if I gave myself permission to just. . . stop. Sit in the silence. What would God fill that space with? How would He move? It seems obvious that I’d find rest in the stillness, but in reality I feel more restless, like I should be doing more, being more, cooking more, cleaning more, buying more.
But Jesus tells us
Are you tired? Worn out?. . .Come to me, get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
–Matthew 11:28 The Message
I don’t know about you, but could I use a real rest.