Three weeks into a rest period, I find myself in confusion. I am so used to operating on a schedule and knowing my goals, this pause in that life is very uncomfortable.
I am so fortunate to have family and friends–personal and professional, who know how confusing this time is for me and know that I want to race through rest to the next step. This set of family and friends just keep telling me to rest.
This morning a second visit to Rev. Jim Downing’s church filled me again. True it is a 30 mile drive, but going in and feeling comfortable among no one I know is evidence of how the Holy Spirit can make it feel like family.
For the past 10 years, I have organized my life around my work. First I was a teacher, especially in an alternative setting; but then I added in part time pastoring. The pressure to maintain all that I needed for both jobs just seemed natural. Then I retired from the teaching profession.
Now retiring from one’s lifetime career is stressful enough. I have now realized retirement really means being “really tired.” I still had the church as a part time job, but I was used to full time work. I probably used as much time now for the part time job, and worked hard to rest in the evenings. Not easy
Speeding forward through the past three years, I am now trying to rest. Not really retired, just working at resting. And naturally, resting leads one to see all the daily household chores and postponed projects now have no reason to put off. So, I am finding that rest can still be elusive.
In our Midwestern lifestyle, there seems to be a sense that one must work every day in order to achieve their goals. I did not grow up knowing how to ‘play.’ Life on the family farm meant there were always chores. We did stop on Sunday, though, and rest. Even this concept is lost in our farming culture today–now farming is 24/7.
Rest. I am learning that to rest, I have to give myself permission to rest. I have to close off my ears to the internal yelling about all the work there is to do. I also have to turn off the clock. I have no reason to rush ahead, but my internal clock says I have such a limited time frame to use for rest even though I have NO time frame at all.
So here I am in week three of my rest, and I am confused. Thank goodness my family and friends know me well enough to accept my confusion in this time of rest, but also know me well enough to reprimand me when I start tressing out over the timeframe.
One of my personal goals in this time of rest is to figure out how to listen to God. I must quieten myself enough to recognize his voice. This week I read a book by Adam Weber, Talking with God. I started it and could not stop, finishing it in one day. I separated myself so much from my typical day that I heard God. I found energy. I recognized Mom’s voice, too.
Thank you, Adam Weber, for such a clear discussion of talking with God. I know what it is to be exhausted. I know what it is to have unconditional love. I know how hard it is to wait. Your work spoke to me and speaks for me. I know God speaks through your words, too.
One of the results of reading this is a driving desire to share this understanding from Adam Weber with others. I wanted to buy a case of the books and start sending them off to others who I wanted them to know/experience this conversation.
Maybe this is what rest is. Maybe I need to give myself permission to read–without a highlighter in my hand or note papers to record on. Maybe I need to share what I read via the blog or Twitter. This is all part of my process. Rest in the moment also means being alert to how God can use me in those moments.
I may be assigned a period of rest, but my confusion still needs to be decluttered. I guess I must remember that there is no timeline other than God’s. Thank you to Rev. Downing, Rev. Weber, and my family and friends for helping me make my way to refreshment and renewal during this extended, uncertain time of rest.