Twice in the last few days friends have looked at me and said, You need to chill out. You are working too hard.
Really? What do you do when people tell you stuff like that? Especially when it seems like you've already slowed down to a snail's pace and what you've done with your day looks rather lean. But when two people you respect say the same thing, then it's time to listen. And I wonder if God's trying to add a third voice.
The closing lines from yesterday's scripture from Isaiah are familiar ones. "Those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary,they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31).
In the shower this morning, I realized that once again I have to ask myself the question, Is
what I am doing empowered by the Spirit of God, or am I just barreling along on willpower? I'm not sure right now if I can answer that question. There are seasons in life that are just downright hard, and it's nobody's fault. If you're stuck in a desert, you're going to have to focus pretty hard if you want to survive.
On the other hand, maybe what looks like a desert is truly a mirage. Maybe oasis after oasis has slipped by because you're focusing on the sand, and protecting yourself from the heat. I don't know. I do know, like the Israelites whose shoes didn’t wear out in those 40 years, God has kept providing exactly what I’ve needed. And I also know that it's time to rest. To learn how to play again and unlearn how to care overmuch. (Thankfully a vacation to Florida is only days away.)
Jesus was often frustrated by those who didn't have faith. He wasn't able to do the healing in their lives that he was sent to accomplish. I can understand why. Resting when there seems to be so much still to do requires faith. It requires giving up the daytimer, the desires, the to-do-lists and dropping them at the feet of a loving God, to take them up again when the time is right. And to trust that things will be OK in the meantime, and that you won't miss out on something important while you're away
But when I start wondering if this is really a good idea, I'm reminded of another passage from Isaiah, this from chapter 30:
For thus the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing.
Rest is offered. Rest is what I need. Am I willing?