He Makes Me Lie Down

(After the story, there is a question and opportunity for local gals.)

When my husband and I applied to become missionaries about 8.5 years ago, we had to take LONG psychological evaluations. I suppose these are meant to reveal whether or not you are ALREADY crazy since there is a fairly good chance you might wind up crazy after a few years in ministry.  (Sorry for the cynicism, but seriously, anyone in ministry knows I’m right.)

Anywhoo, we took the evaluations, and then sat down in a tiny office to talk over the results with a counselor.  She joked initially, that we had done fine and we weren’t psychopaths.

But then she turned a bit more serious.

“We did notice that your results show you both tend toward being low energy.”

We looked at each other and smiled, assuming this was a compliment.

She continued, explaining that when faced with a daunting task, the two of us tended to retreat somewhat and exhibit lack of energy, rather than bounding in to tackle it.

We giggled. This is what happens when two second-borns marry.  We know this shows us to be AWESOMELY MATURE.

The counselor went on to explain how low energy could potentially be a problem for a missionary.  But I know I wasn’t fully listening because of my glee.  You see, “low energy” was about as close to “easy going” as anyone had ever called me and I was eating it up.

**********************************************

I’ve thought back on that conversation, many, many, many times.  Low Energy is now synonymous in our marriage with our brand of apathy, lethargy, and passivity.  You probably realize that my husband and I are no longer on the mission field, so we’ve joked that we just weren’t energetic enough.

Did we fail because we were low energy?

Is low energy really bad?

Maybe low energy is what sometimes protects us from burn-out and running ragged?

************************************

Lately, I keep feeling the itch to write again, but it is shortly followed by a giant sigh of exhaustion.

I keep meaning to write a post explaining what the heck has been happening with my family, our frugal living, our eating, our ideals, etc.

I keep delaying writing in order to first discover purpose and clarity with regard to my writing.

I keep meaning to have epiphanies–you know, GOOD ONES.

Furthermore, I kept meaning to take all these epiphanies that I think and transform them into pithy, tweetable things.

I fruit around the interwebs, reading other writers, absorbing profundity from brilliantly wise bloggers, successful, inspiring bloggers, and I think . . . .I’m tired. I don’t want to do that. That sounds too hard. That will take EVEN MORE than I have from my kids and husband.

I’m feeling low energy.

Meanwhile, food bloggers are passionately angry at the “industry”. Homemaking blogs are energetically bustling. Christian blogs are inspiring. Frugal blogs are enterprising.

10 Feb 011

It’s a NEW YEAR! Resolutions shall be made! Goals shall be accomplished! Writers will write! Bloggers will blog!

Meanwhile, I want Silent Night back and an excuse to guzzle eggnog and stare at twinkly lights. I feel low energy. I feel blog hibernation coming on strong. (Which is saying something, considering the woeful lack of actual posts produced on this blog in 2013.)

*****************************************

Maybe I’m passive aggressive. Maybe I’m histrionic. Maybe I’m melancholic.  Maybe I’m all of those things.  I just know that my big epiphany lately has been that sometimes I am not really willing to rest, take a break, or step down when that is really what I need to do.

The world, ministry, missions, and American culture seems to whisper “Low energy is bad.”

I was thinking about the 23rd Psalm and the idyllic, restful scene described therein.  My eye kept being drawn to the phrases, “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.“ 

*****************************

Sigh. I would like to be near still waters, not a preschooler churning the bathtub into Class 5 rapids. I want to feel restored. But often I feel very empty and depleted and shallow.

Then I noticed the previous line. The second line of the passage. The line BEFORE all the restful, peaceful, life-giving promises.

He MAKES me lie down.

I don’t know if the original translation means that God has to FORCE us to lie down, but that is how I read it.  That prior to all the soul-restoring, cup-overflowing business, our Shepherd knows that we need to be laying down. We need to be STILL. But often, HE has to MAKE US because we find it so hard to STOP.

In the remainder of the passage, the speaker is PASSIVE throughout, doing nothing, just dwelling in the house of the Lord. 

Maybe God is making me step back, step out, shut-up, and just listen. More. But not in the zoned out, numb way that I tend towards.  I’m starting to hear Him say that I shouldn’t use low energy as an excuse to always be lazy and tired.  When my energy is low, He wants me to REST.

Y’all, I think He’s makin’ me lie down for a while to LEARN to rest. This year, I want to REALLY rest. I want to be quieted and refreshed.  I want to find the promised peace and contentment that seems to slip by, all vapory.

What about you? How do you know when it is time for a rest?

Speaking of all that above stuff—>I’m thinking about doing a Bible study on REST. It would be 6-8 weeks on Thursday nights, but it could possibly have an online component depending on interest. This would be a “workshop” style group where we’d work together through the Bible’s teaching on rest and discuss it.  Would you inbox me at katrina@katrinaryder.com if interested?

21 Responses to He Makes Me Lie Down

  1. Mandy January 5, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    Katrina, thank you for voicing these things that are so critical and yet are not spoken of much! I find that in Christian circles there is so much emphasis on ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’ and those of us in need of rest might feel ashamed for admitting it. Thanks.

    • Katrina Ryder January 5, 2014 at 3:49 am #

      This is the no shame zone! :)

  2. Joye January 5, 2014 at 4:15 am #

    My “one word” last year was Rest. When I asked God what my word would be, he practically screamed “Rest!” So I went with it. :) I let the house get a little messier. I dropped out of ministries at church. I didn’t let myself worry (at least, not as much as I normally do!). I took to restorative yoga and relaxation like it was my job (Jen Hoffman’s Stay at Home Yoga). I relished doing nothing. Of course, it is super hard to rest sometimes. But making rest a priority really helped me be aware of how “busy” I always was- And how much of that busyness was unnecessary!

    • Katrina Ryder January 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      I definitely am making it my word for the year–learning how to get REAL, restorative rest. Not just some random leisure that goes away the minute that I stand up. Thanks for the tips. :)

  3. Rachel January 5, 2014 at 4:38 am #

    Hard concept to grasp, I’m stuck in type A mode, constantly trying to get stuff done until I collapse at night. Rest, deliberately, would take some effort. I might need that study.

  4. mary January 5, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    I’d been wondering where you’ve been! :) This was absolutely beautifully said and so very true. Thank you for putting it out there. Peace and rest are gifts He is willing to give us, but we are often unwilling to allow ourselves to receive. It’s our inheritance from our Father…something the world (our culture) tries to steal from us. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Katrina Ryder January 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      Yes, I have to figure out the rest that RESTORES–not the numbing, foggy laziness that the world offers. :)

  5. sandy January 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Just today my little flip-scripture for the day reads:

    Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

    The “Be still” is in the imperative.
    I wonder if God being exalted depends on me being still.
    Mmmmmm??

    • Katrina Ryder January 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

      Yes, I think you are right. I think there is a kind of stillness that allows us to sit there and be lazy and a kind that restores us. I have to figure out the second one because the first one isn’t doing me any good. :)

  6. Rachel January 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    Well I didn’t get much rest last night, I’ve had a stiff neck for 3 days now that gets worse when I sleep. It didn’t stop me from spending all of yesterday cleaning like a mad women. Maybe I do need to rest today, the kind that means actually sitting down for a spell and just reading or cuddling kids. A part of me thinks the laundry & dishes will never get caught up but this neck just keeps nagging me. Maybe it’s a sign to take it easy for a day. Will try. Thanks to you for your oh so wonderfully random yet timely posts.

    • Katrina Ryder January 5, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

      There’s got to be something in the fact that God planned in a day of rest for HIMSELF and for us, right? I will pray your neck feels better soon. I hate that for you!

  7. Kelly January 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    Hm, I think I may always have been low energy classified in lots of things, unless I really get my mind into getting something completed. (As far as being low energy, I was physically until I cut out gluten, now I feel great!) This totally speaks to me, I’m taking a free online class throughout the year, haven’t started yet. Want to do a blog, can’t come up with a name to fit it (need an epiphany), haven’t started yet. I think of both of those a bit and then also think of the work involved and want to sigh. Since leaving work and becoming a homemaker, I have a lot more time to rest, but sometimes get more done by 10 than I could’ve accomplished with work, where I know the higher-ups thought bc I’m laid back I’m low energy, they just didn’t see my daily activities and how I took care of the people I supervised. Anyway, you’ve given me something to chew on today, and thank you for letting me know I’m not the only one (and not the only one in a good marriage) that isn’t always “high energy”.

    • Katrina Ryder January 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

      I definitely think low energy can be good and bad. I think I’ve been using it as a crutch, but I want to use it as my red flag to know that I need serious HEART change. :)

  8. Liz January 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    As one who is on a constant spiritual journey and openly lost on more than a few occasions. I have felt the closest to God during meditation. A brief look into the history of Buddhism proves that Buddhism is a philosophy, not a religion, and thus the Buddhist practices can be cherry picked for any Christian, Jew, Muslim… etc. Anyway.. “Be still and know that I am God” has a believer in me. Best Wishes for your year exploring the pains and joys of “rest.”

    • Katrina Ryder January 5, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

      Liz, your comment totally reminded me of this passage in Psalm 1 that my dad “made” us memorize as kids.

      Psalm 1

      1 Blessed is the one
      who does not walk in step with the wicked
      or stand in the way that sinners take
      or sit in the company of mockers,
      2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
      and who meditates on his law day and night.
      3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
      which yields its fruit in season
      and whose leaf does not wither—
      whatever they do prospers.

      The Bible talks a lot about meditating on God’s law and the fact that he gives us the peace that passes all understanding to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I think when I’m tired and in need of rest, I tend to “meditate” upon TV or books or writing, when those aren’t the things God promises to use for my restoration. Meditating on “law” sounds boring, but I know from experience that I’m always rewarded for the time I spend listening to God’s words to me. Thanks for the reminder!! AND, of course, I’ll be praying for your spiritual journey too.

  9. erin January 6, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    I love this! It is funny you bring up the idea of “rest” – for that is what everyone around me has told me to do. I have heard it about a dozen times, that I need to settle back and let things be and rest in Him.
    Interesting…mmmm… very interesting.
    miss you!
    love
    erin

  10. Amy January 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    As always, such great writing.

    One thing I started this year is writing for myself over at 750words.com. I basically just do a brain dump every morning. If you’re feeling the itch to write and maybe not blog, it could be a good alternative. I’ve found it to be quite cathartic and puts my mind at rest for the day.
    Amy recently posted…Adding a Lost and Found BasketMy Profile

    • Katrina Ryder January 6, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

      Oooo, good suggestion. Maybe I will try that.

  11. RaZella January 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    I read something last year that has stuck with me, it was about the importance of balancing work and worship. How we are called to love the Lord first and love one another. And how too much of either leaves us empty for the other (all worship with no works/serving others or all works/serving others with no worship). I think sometimes we forget that being Godly wives and mothers is work/serving others. We add on and add on because we “need to do more”. Then we get totally depleted and feel like failures as we compare ourselves to others, forgetting that the only person we compare ourselves too should be Christ. I speak from experience in all this, and yes, I believe the Lord will MAKE us lie down if we get too out of balance. His calling to us for rest is a blessing, because there are many season that He calls us to work. I try now to heed His calling to rest in Him, because I realize how important it is that I do. Really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this. :)
    RaZella recently posted…The Lie of the FightMy Profile

    • Katrina Ryder January 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

      I think I am definitely guilty of discounting my service and ministry at home, even failing to take it seriously. As a result, I don’t find it rewarding AND I pile on other stuff that exhausts. I am actually getting excited, now that I hear you talking about his “calling to rest.” I like thinking of it as an invitation.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Finding the REST of My Faith | Katrina Ryder - January 8, 2014

    […] but with two more less-sleepy children, rest is more elusive.  As I stated in my previous post, He Makes Me Lie Down, finding rest is not my forte.  Maybe I lack trust in My […]