I am a stay-at-home mom and everyday, I get to watch my daughter be her carefree three-year-old self. The fact that she has absolutely no concept of time is fascinating to me. She lives and stays in the moment, delighting in everything around her. When something strikes her curiosity, she takes the time to see it, smell it, feel it, and experience it until she gets her fill and is ready to move on. At the end of the day, she succumbs to deep, peaceful sleep, and wakes up refreshed and renewed for a brand new day.
I, on the other hand, wake up to an overflow of yesterday’s to do list. It is a conscious effort for me to stay in the moment and not think ahead. Somehow, this fast-paced world has wired me to think that I may not slow down, pause, or catch my breath. I need to be constantly rushing, multi-tasking, and hitting the ground running. I uphold the standard that self-worth is anchored in productivity. All too familiar lies repeat themselves in my head: If you don’t do enough, then you are not good enough. And if you don’t do enough, you will never have enough. As a result, there is a constant tension between having so much to do and not having enough time to do it. Busyness has settled into my life as a daily normal.
But Jesus invites us to rest (Matthew 11:28). He left us with the gift of peace of mind and heart (John 14:27). Rest is available right here, right now, regardless of what right here and right now looks like. But for a long time, it was gravely unfamiliar to my weary mind and body. David’s knowledge and experience of “lying down in green pastures” and being “led beside quiet waters” by the Good Shepherd were foreign to me.
At one point in my life, things spiraled out of control. My days were beyond full with tasks big and small, revolving around the affairs of my life and my family’s life. I was exhausted, restless, and anxious about everything. I foolishly chose the chaos of busyness, relied on a calendar and a checklist to keep things in order, and prayed to God to help me.
But God didn’t give me more time or more energy. Or wisdom to manage my time better. Instead, God called my weary body to rest in a painful way. I became sick and could do NOTHING. Then God’s word convicted me:
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat —
for He grants sleep to those He loves. (Psalm 127:1-2)
In vain. Futile. Useless. God hit the pause button on my life in order for me to realize that apart from God, everything I do is meaningless. All my efforts amount to nothing. As much as I hate to admit it, I was living life in a manner that wasted my life. As I was driving myself crazy doing more than I could handle, I was in fact driving myself away from trusting God. The build-up of stress was reflective of my depleting reliance on God who has everything under perfect control. I was unyielding to God’s authority and care, as if I could do a better job at managing our lives.
Truth crushed the lies. I have come to realize that everyday, God is enough. More than enough. In God, I lack no good thing. As my heart softened, God’s words flowed into my being like refreshing water…
Stop your pointless stressing. Stop your fruitless toiling.
Come to me and find rest. Come to me and be filled.
Come to me and let me satisfy your needs.
Come to me! Taste and see that I am good!
For I know you fully and deeply.
With Me, you lack no good thing.
With Me, you shall bear much fruit.
I long to bless you and prosper you.
Let Me fill you with the light of my presence.
Let Me build your home and watch over your affairs.
Let Me nourish your being and sustain you each day.
Let Me satisfy your parched soul.
Let Me fatten up your heart with all good things.
Trust Me and I shall take you from chaos to peace… from stress to rest.