23 Mar My Rest
I need and am passionate about finding true rest. When I was a bachelor, and even when I was newly married, I did not realize this about myself. However, when I entered the season of parenthood and took on the role of not just a husband, but a father and all the responsibilities that came with it, this part of my personality and character became apparent. Real, soul-satisfying rest was elusive and did not come naturally.
I remember one time Christine and I discussing my commute to work.
Her – “You are all alone in the car. You are not working, not taking care of kids and family. Isn’t that rest?”
Me – “But I am still doing something. I am focusing on the road, thinking about what needs to be done when I get home, etc.”
I finally explained to her that rest for me is like stripping myself from all needs on me, all expectations, any way of performing… and just being. Not forever, not running from my role as a husband, father, and leader, but for a period, reducing myself to this body, soul, and spirit, present before God, and resting in that… and that is it.
You see, Christine, she and her more extroverted self can get through more easily by recharging on the fly. A trip to Target to pick up some needed items without the kids, that is golden time for her where the stress and anxieties melt away. It can give her enough to keep getting along fine. For me, on the other hand, that doesn’t work.
I have learned that true rest for me must be three things: 1) Purposeful 2) Prioritized, and 3) Absent from doing.
To the eyes of the hyper-productive society we live in, my needs in this area seem like a weakness. Christine’s ability to operate and default way of navigating day-to-day life, seems much more of a strength. I would argue that the world would classify me in this area as weak-minded, frail, and needy. But Christine and I both have realized that what seems like a weakness, truly is a strength.
Many don’t understand how to enter into the rest the way I am talking about, and so we go about our marriages, and our lives as parents, or employees, etc., never stripping ourselves to the core. And sometimes, most of the time, that is exactly what we need to do in order for Jesus, Father God, and the Holy Spirit to do their work in us that can last a lifetime. And often, to get to the true rest that Jesus is talking about, we first have to face the uncomfortable and perhaps confront some things we have been avoiding for a long time.
When I am in the mountains, the majestic, awe inspiring geological formations that only God in heaven could think up, I feel stripped of everything.
I’m not the husband, not the father, not the worker, not the musician. I am just God’s creation, standing in the middle of God’s creation. There are no more distractions, no more demands.
If I am bold enough to let my guard down, and abide there, just as Nick and Nick alone. It is there that God can do His deep work in me. Some pruning might be required, and that might be uncomfortable as I mentioned before, but that true rest I seek, that is ultimately what he is inviting me in to.
I believe there is a reason Jesus often withdrew to the mountains. I would argue that it was purposeful for Him, a priority, and He went to be with his Father, not to do more. So, I am trusting that the things He has taught me, about how I receive true rest, aren’t so far off after all, that I can trust His model, a whole lot more than what the world gives me.
This, for me, is why I have left the familiar, to come to Colorado. And this passion is no longer just for myself, but one that I and Christine want to share with others as well.