My mind was spinning in a million directions today – so much so that I couldn’t get all of my words out to my assistant to tell her what to do for the day. Grad research, applications, life decisions, work challenges, the trials and tribulations of my tribe…I was thinking perhaps a little too hard about all the responsibilities and things that MUST. GET. DONE.
“Come as you are. Your breath can rest here.” That was all it said. A little post in my Instagram feed as I scrolled mindlessly while I waited for a document to upload. That still small voice, though? In whatever form it comes, it will take your breath away.
I spent much of my undergraduate work feverishly researching the discipline of rest. Ironic, I know. As a self-proclaimed Martha-girl (you know, the girl who runs about getting all the things done and not stopping for the important things [reference Luke 10:38-42]), I was determined to find out what my God said about rest. Turns out He said a whole lot, but the one bit that always gave me cause to pause was this: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NASB).
I am a lifelong insomniac, a perpetually absentminded chaotic dreamer, and a woman who, as one friend puts it, lives “balls to the wall 150% of the time.” Rest, for me, is struggle. A rare gift. Sometimes a prayed-for, wept-for, long-awaited necessity. It is a practice in self-discipline. From the God who loves and saves and who has my heart, though, it is also a command of the gentlest and absolutely necessary variety.
Because we are beings who need our rest. We need our sleep. We need our quiet. Yes, even my beloved extroverts. Y’all need your quiet, too. We need our carefully cultivated spaces to find our breath. This was my folly today. Not only did I not rest, but even when I realized I needed to take a deep breath and CHILL THE HECK OUT for a moment so I could be fully present, I still did not do it. Which made people around me antsy and wired. Deep cries out to deep, and sometimes with negative consequences.
Hence the still, small voice. I’ve been with my God for a long while now and I do not know how He puts up with me. I run away a lot. I forget what I have learned in the light when things drift into dark. I worry about my people. Lord, do I worry. But He is always there. Always. Always inviting me to rest. To take deep breaths. To take up the easy yoke and the light burden and not the motherlode I insist on dragging around. He is always present in the quiet ways that make me pause and listen.
Come as you are. Your breath can rest here. This is the only invitation I will ever need to receive, the only drink I will need to overfill my cup, the only bread I will need to savor with every bite. This is the promise of my God. You can rest here.