So you can come along

A girl with stories

On Hard Rest February 15, 2014

Filed under: Anti-trafficking,Freedom,Grad School,His truth — Amanda Lynn @ 11:07 pm

Do me a favor? Would you rank these words by how you value them before you read on?

Hard Work.

Tenacious.

Rest.

Persistence.

Diligence.

Stillness.

Move.

Achieve.

 

 

How’s it look? Where do “rest’ or “stillness” rank?

There’s a reason why we value hard work and action. We want to achieve something. We do things and act as motivated by one thing or another (ourselves, others, money, grace, recognition). The Word says that our Creator “placed eternity in the hearts of men”. We work at things and stay active to achieve because we were made for eternity. We were made to not see the end of things. I value hard work and perseverance as much as the next girl (maybe a little too much).

But “rest” and “stillness” just sound so passive, so insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Rest: (verb) to be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position.

Still: (verb) to quiet or hush, to calm, appease, or subside.


They might sound passive, but the dictionary told me they’re both verbs. They’re actions.

By and large, Americans don’t value rest and relaxation. Nope, we’ve made a virtue  out of unceasing labor; we even brag about how busy we are, as if the hectic pace of our lives is proof of our significance. We feel guilty when we’re not working, and we’re suspicious of anyone who comes off the hamster wheel for too long. This value is evident in little things, like vacations. In Europe, the standard is 5-6 weeks off per year.  Here in the U.S., we’re looking at nearly a third of that at 2 weeks. The number of public holidays in the U.S. is 7, in Europe it’s 11.

I understand that any “vacation time” or even a job are luxuries. However, this serves as one glaring example of the what our culture thinks about rest. It’s simply not a priority.

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So this “hard rest” that I’m learning is exactly that…hard.

See, this rest is not a synonym for “lazy” nor is it passive or easy.

The Word says we “labor to come into his rest”.

 

 

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,

for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works

as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest,

so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

:: Hebrews 4:9-11 ::

 

 

A friend and I were talking through some of what it means to “labor in order to come into His rest”. We were talking about how these verses speak of someone coming to a place of rest AFTER having worked. There is work found in phrases like “I surrender all” or “cast all your cares on Him”. This trust of surrender, of dependence and of letting that nagging sense of responsibility go is not easy, but it is always best. The “striving” or “laboring” to come into His rest for me is the surrender of control, the letting go. There is not true rest for the soul-weary until this happens.

In family, work, church or in school He asks me to surrender a sense of ultimate responsibility for making and keeping peace, the happiness and/or well-being of loved ones, the healing work, the restoration, the perfection, the reconciling, the approval…the list goes on.

In all of this, there is a call to rest and to be still – a call to dependence both on Him and on His people.

 

 

All of this requires a level of brave vulnerability. The vulnerability I’m talking about isn’t the pseudo-uncomforable-Sunday-school kind in which we bear just enough to get by. No, brave vulnerability doesn’t mean showing the areas in which we are most comfortable and calling it “transparency”. That’s phony.

Vulnerability is a show of weakness, not of strengths. It’s a leaning on or leaning into a trusted someone.

There is a circle in which I trust people and a smaller circle in which I trust people enough to brave vulnerability. Then there’s an even small circle in which those people who were trusted with vulnerability are also trusted to help guard my resting heart and hold me accountable.

We need those guards in times of hard rest because the very definition of vulnerability means “easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally, open to attack or damage.” These sisters of mine are there to remind me not to shoulder too much, to let that pride go and live in such a way that believes God is enough.

In response to my hesitation to ask for prayer and admit this sort-of-drowning feeling, one of those guards said…

Don’t regret being open and vulnerable. The enemy would love nothing more than to make you want to retreat and keep everything in. It is good to ask for prayer. It is good to be uncomfortably vulnerable. It is good to be prayed for. It is good to admit that you’re overwhelmed. That being said, I don’t want you to regret it…I think it’s wonderful you’re being vulnerable with people especially when you feel in over your head and don’t have everything together. It’s a big step of faith.

In thinking through this struggle of rest and why it’s so difficult to reach out, to sit down, to surrender responsibility and only take up what he’s entrusted to me; knowing this really comes down to pride. Pride, the sin that just won’t go away is the root of it all. This pride too often keeps me from the real rest found in my truest identity – His.

I’ve been struggling to master my thoughts. Struggling to press in to accountability. – See more at: http://sayable.net/2014/02/crouching-at-your-door/#sthash.BaHXqgqz.dpuf
I’ve been struggling to master my thoughts. Struggling to press in to accountability. – See more at: http://sayable.net/2014/02/crouching-at-your-door/#sthash.BaHXqgqz.dpuf

This identity as being hidden IN CHRIST is the rest that drives the work. Knowing my position in Christ is the strength I need. It is how I can be “at rest” in the middle of chaos. It is the direct reason for any good work, it is constant despite the work. And keeping in mind that I am the righteous of God in Christ Jesus with or without the filthy rags of good works I string together, WITH or WITHOUT them! I can rest in the confidence of my position in Christ. He is my hope and my righteousness.

Keeping this Truth front and center in times of weariness is hard.

This is my hard rest.

It is a continual reminder that I am a child of the Father who is making all things new!

I am a beloved child of the Father who is says “It is finished!”

He says, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

 So, “This is how we know we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence. Even if our hearts condemn us we know that God is greater than our hearts.”

Even if my heart condemns me and says I’m not measuring up to the work, even when my heart condemns me and says to do more, to be more…..Even then, He is greater than my heart. And He is my Rock, my hard rest.

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