Finding the Rest of My Faith didn’t actually meet last Thursday night due to Snowpocalypse, but three snowed- in days did give me some insights into rest.
I found that, unlike other holidays and vacations, Snowpocalypse was quite restful for me because there was absolutely no expectations of doing anything or going anywhere. My house was expected to be messy. I was not expected to change out of my pajamas, shower, or clean the house. I was expected to make cocoa, drink coffee, do puzzles, watch the Olympics, and run the dryer full of wet mittens. And I did. And it was lovely.
Granted, by Friday, when the thaw began, we joined the throngs of Waxhaw who ventured out to the CVS and Harris Teeter. . . .but for those hours between Tuesday and Friday afternoon, I RESTED.
And, because we also just had Valentine’s Day, I got to thinking about love, intimacy, and rest and how all these ideas are intertwined.
Here’s a story, which I will try to carefully tell without TMI.
On my wedding night, I did not sleep ONE MINUTE. Before you think I have already broken my TMI promise, I will assure you that after the customary I-will-not-tell-you-about wedding night activities, my new husband fell fast asleep in the huge King sized hotel bed, while I stared at the ceiling.
Awake. I can’t believe I’m married. I’m actually married.
Stirring left. He’s breathing really loud. He said he didn’t snore.
Stirring right. I wonder if I’m annoying him with all this tossing around.
Returning from bathroom trip 1. I hope people didn’t notice that we faked communion, since there was no wine in the glass.
Returning from bathroom trip 2. Perhaps coffee punch fountain was a bad choice for reception?
Tossing. Did everyone at the wedding have fun? Why can’t I stop thinking about the wedding??!!
AWAKE. Oh my gosh! It is 2 AM! I am going to be exhausted tomorrow. Why can’t I sleep? HOW CAN HE SLEEP?!
Returning from bathroom trip three. WHY IS HE FAST ASLEEP!!!! Look at his beautiful EYELASHES!
Then my long-lashed husband FINALLY stirred, noticed his bug-eyed, creepy staring bride, and suggested I turn on the TV. In subsequent years, I have learned that for him, TV is a sleeping potion, which results in a comatose state, whereas I have almost NEVER fallen asleep during TV as I am fixated by it.
However, dutifully newlywed and submissive, I turned on TV and watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Forever more, I will remember sharing my wedding night with my husband and Jimmy Stewart. How many of you can say THAT!?
Finally the sun came up, and we started off on our honeymoon to the mountains. In retrospect, I’m sure most of that insomnia was due to simply not being able to rest after the most exciting day of my life, reliving every moment that we’d so painstakingly planned and dreamed for. However, the fact that God brought this memory up during this study has made me think about the ideas of intimacy and rest. Therefore I have developed an elaborate metaphor, as I am prone to do.
Part of my inability to relax and sleep was simply the fact that I wasn’t TOTALLY comfortable and at ease falling asleep with another person in my bed. I wasn’t used to him.
You can be in a relationship that is meant to have intimacy but not really HAVE developed it yet.
(I could make a Pinterestable or Tweetable link for the above statement, but that would take 5-10 minutes of my life that I would never get back, so . . . .sorry.)
Spiritually, I know that the same undeveloped intimacy happens to me with God. I am SUPPOSED to be able to rest in the shadow of his wings and hide in his fortress, but sometimes, I CAN’T.
When I haven’t spent time with my Father, in His Word, building intimacy and trust, I cannot rest and be still. I toss and turn, pretending that all is well, but really, I’m completely squirmy and unsettled. His wings and fortress are all scratchy and weird. His yoke is strangely light. I opt for my familiarly gigantic, toppling burden.
Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
My conclusion, then, is that in order to grow accustomed to the Lord so that we can indeed FIND REST, we have to LIVE WITH HIM and LEARN FROM HIM. We have to ABIDE with him continuously, just as we do with people with whom we feel “at home.” Now, 11.5 years into marriage, I seldom have trouble falling asleep because I am “at home” with my husband. Three snowed in days “at home” are about as restful as it can be.
John 15:5-8 (MSG) I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
Do I love that this version says, “intimate and organic” and “at home”? Yes I do. I’m adding ABIDE to the Finding Rest Shortlist.
1. GIVE THANKS
3. DO NOT WORRY
Here’s a another passage that uses the words ABIDE and REST in the same passage, so I couldn’t leave it out.
Isaiah 32:16-18 (ESV) Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
For those of you coming to the meetings or anyone who still wants to join (I promise it is not too late; we are EXCEEDINGLY laid back.), this Thursday evening, we will watch a video called Be Still, which features teaching by Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Richard Foster, and Max Lucado. The video is 93 minutes long and I’d love to have some discussion time afterwards, so I am going to start it promptly at 7:15. BE EARLY so you can get a coffee and get settled.
Do you ever feel that you are not “at home” in your relationship with the Lord? What keeps you that way?