When God Makes You Stop

I've been thinking about resting a lot these days.  I wrote a post about it several months ago but did not end up changing too much in my life. And now I find myself forced to rest.  Forced by my body that just has reached a point of being unwilling to be pushed anymore. I have pushed through years of sleeplessness with small and big kids, years of low iron and the subsequent treatments, years of adjusting and readjusting to the demands of being a parent.  And the other day, my body decided the that it would push no more and I am being forced to think about and practice rest. 

Apparently the hyper-always-working-never-resting state that I had adopted in my life was not a long term way of living.  

And so here I am.  Forced to have weeks where I have nothing to show for it.  We joke around here that my new motto needs to be "Everyone's fed and nobody's dead". And other than that I am to do as little as possible. Errands can be left to the evening, meals need to be simple, projects and work around the house are kept to a minimum and mostly not done, the children will learn to help with the laundry and mostly I just need to rest. 

I have to work pretty hard to rest. It seems like an oxymoron but after these intense years of little kids and babies  - I have almost forgotten how to rest.  I am learning to acknowledge that projects and plans that arise are just not that important. I am adjusting to stopping myself when I find that I am wandering around my house endlessly picking up things and cleaning and tidying and organizing and working.  I am having to work pretty hard to put up boundaries about what I can and cannot do. And I am having to accept who I really am rather than who I expect myself to be.

It is hard. 

When this all started a few weeks ago - I desperately wanted someone to blame and I frantically searched for the reasons this all happened.  I wanted to know how I had taken such a wrong turn. How did I end up here?  How had I exhausted my body so significantly that it needed a serious break?  How could I let this happen? I should have been more aware, I should have been more on top of whatever it was that was happening. 

I was sure that if I could find the answer, I could get back to doing things and working and living life. 

And here is the answer I found.

My life is God's.

It has always been His.  It was never anyone else's. 

My life is God's.

It belongs to Him. He hasn't forgotten about me and He sees my family. He knows what is going on and He is telling me to rest.  He is telling me to pay close attention to what my body is telling me. He is the one that is in charge of my life.  

My projects, errands, tasks, organizing, and cleaning can wait because I belong to God. He loves me and I need to love myself. And right now, that means that I need to rest. 

I've always found it interesting that Jesus says, "Love your neighbour as yourself." It is spoken under the assumption that we treat ourselves well.  That we care for ourselves.  But how on earth can I care for my neighbour if I do not know how to care for myself? I am able to offer grace and compassion to my neighbour when I have learned to accept my own weaknesses and limitations.  Only when I have learned to allow myself to rest can I lift off the burden of production and usefulness from people and accept them for who they are rather than what they might be able to do for me. Only when I can find peace in resting can I truly trust that God is taking care of the world outside my door and not act like I need to save people. Loving my neighbour as myself means that I have to also love and care for myself. 

This lesson is harder to learn than I had expected.  It seems to be going against every fiber of my being. I have been living in a different way but I am trust that I am learning a better way. 

My life is God's when I am strong and my life is God's when I am not.  Nothing has changed in that respect. My ministry in this world has always belonged to Him - whether filled with 300 people or 3 little people. And it has always been for the same reason - His glory. He has asked me be faithful with whatever has been put in front of me and right now, it seems, He is putting myself in front of me.  

My life is God's and I am learning that my resting is a way of glorifying Him. It is acknowledging that I am not in charge of the world nor was I ever the one keeping things in my life running. It has always been Him. 

When things are stripped away all the ways God is showing His love for me are more evident.  All the ways He is caring, all His tenderness and grace that He extends to me and all the ways He is sustaining every single last one of us.  You. Me. Everyone. 

So, I have no other option but to slow my days. I will be weeding my garden and reading books in the shade and watching the summer sky. I will still do dishes but I am learning to sit down after I have finished them rather than rushing to the next thing. I am leaning into my supports and trying to remember I am not a burden. I am trying to remember that the world will not fall apart if I am not getting all my errands done. I am trying to read and draw with my kids and be satisfied with a simple, quiet life. And though I am finding it extremely hard to do - I am working to rest my mind from trying to solve this problem and find the silver bullet. I am learning to rest in Him.

I am realizing a different kind of life. One where I attend to the here and now because I am living one day at a time.  Every single day is a gift from God and they all belong to Him, as do I and as do you.