There is something to be said for the ability to rest. The ability to place oneself outside of whatever current issue is front and center in your world and just be.
My body craves rest. My mind craves peace.
No, not a feet up, wine in hand, Netflix-binge kind of rest. I mean a beautiful day by day kind of existence.
I want a life filled with rest.
I want everything I do to stem from a position of peace.
Is that too much to ask?
Let me walk you through a tiny piece of my ongoing journey with rest.
My kyros moment regarding peace was realizing I was 23 and unhappy. By unhappy I mean deeply discontent. This feeling went deeper than my unfulfilling job, my broken relationships, or even my ongoing battle with self-love. There was something within me that was constantly on edge. I mean I physically could not relax.
I could write a million hypothesis as to why I experienced this. Why my stomach was perpetually in knots, why I couldn’t digest my food properly, why my skin broke out in eczema patches all over my face. (Yeah, it was a beautiful year for me).
But the only reality I’ve come to terms with is that something innately inside of me was being ignored, stifled, and pressed down.
My soul was without peace. Without the lightness and freedom that comes and beckons one into a slumber each night, that quiet whisper affirming, “You had a big day.” There is nothing quite the same as falling asleep completely content and utterly exhausted. I’m not speaking of the “I stared at a computer screen until my eyeballs ached” exhausted or the “I stayed up 48 hours frantically navigating my way through foreign airports” exhausted or, “I spent all day nauseatingly stressed about finances and family life” exhausted. Those kinds definitely leave you collapsing into bed, but it’s a wrecked, drained, discontent, crumpled up and used kind of exhausted.
There is no denying that humans require sleep. We cyclically crave certain things; our bodies demand them of us. But what if we also require rest for survival? I’m speaking of the beautiful kind of rest, the kind my soul needs. And the kind, I would venture a guess, all of ours do as well.
Maybe some of us have only experienced it on vacation, after an all day love affair with the waves in a particularly wild ocean. Or zipping into a cozy tent after a long day of hiking, fire embers still crackling. Perhaps it’s found in the still silent mornings, the only sound being a coffee maker steadily dripping. Maybe its on a mountain top, or a river valley, or on a paddle board in the middle of the ocean. Or perhaps it’s been so long that true genuine blissful exhaustion is a hard concept for most of us to grasp. Maybe in your mind it is only an offering for children in fairytales.
I think you’re wrong.
I think we need rest to live.
Real, honest to goodness, peace.
Hear me out.
If you give dieticians or nutritionists a listen, you’ll notice rather quickly they seem to spout similar things. To boil down the most basic health advice into general blanket statements you’ll end up hearing something close to: less processed foods, more exercise, and listen to your body.
What if we’ve filled our lives with so much background noise, so much busyness, so much spiritual junk food, that we cannot hear our soul’s desperate cry for rest?
What if we are treating and diagnosing deep-seated depression, anxiety, social, mental, and health disorders without first recognizing the distinct lack of peace in our daily lives?
I don’t know about you, but I crave that. I remember as a kid, pretending to fall asleep in the car so I could get carried inside. Occasionally I could overhear my parents quietly smile and whisper, “She had a big day”.
I think Papa God desires that for us.
What if His greatest hope for our every day is simply that we learn to tap into the beautiful potential of our brief and magnificent lives here on earth? What if it has absolutely nothing to do with how much we accomplish or how many things we’ve failed at? What if everything in our life aside from rest is simply background noise?
“When I am striving, it is difficult to find love, but when I am at rest, love finds me.” – Jack Frost
I realized while writing this that my single and greatest achievement ever will be the day my time on earth ends, and I get to walk into my Papa’s arms. I’m pretty sure He will smile and say, “She had a big life”.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14: 27 NIV
(photo by @water.gypsiesphotography)