When Rest Is Hard

Rest. I never used to have trouble doing it, but somewhere along the way, with the addition of four kids, five zillion loads of laundry, and the realization that I am the adult in charge here…rest has become difficult. I find it hard to sit still in my own home because when I do, I’m usually just staring anxiously at all the things that need to be done and fighting the sense that with every second I sit there, everything is devolving further and further into chaos. Sometimes, I feel like that little boy with his finger in the dike, the one small barrier holding back a complete eruption.

And yet, we are commanded to rest, to cease from our labors, not when they are done because they are never done. There’s always another load of laundry, another dirty dish. The floor we mopped yesterday is already covered in crumbs and sticky spots again. There is no finish line to our work. There’s only more work. So, the command to rest is meant to be a gift, permission to stop trying to achieve what we can never achieve. It’s a gift wrapped in humility though. It’s hard to receive because it ultimately means relinquishing our illusion of control and trusting that there’s someone else holding it all together besides us and our little finger.

Isn’t that what the Gospel ultimately is? An invitation to rest? A gift we can only receive if we cease striving and start trusting in something outside of ourselves? In the same way we lay ourselves down in bed at night, trusting that the bed will hold us up, we lay ourselves down in the grace of God, trusting that the work of Jesus will hold us up. It will atone for all our unfinished work and all our futile strivings. He finished His work once for all and sat down at the right hand of God. Now, because He sat down…we can too.

And so today, I’m setting aside the to-do list and turning a blind eye to the random mess and baskets of unfolded laundry. They will be there tomorrow…and every day until the day I die. I’m trying to be better at receiving this humbling gift…“just from Jesus simply taking life and rest and joy and peace.” 

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