05 DEC 2017
One Christmas a few years ago, I had gotten caught up in the racing around and stressing out that too often characterizes the entire month of December. It was a few days before Christmas, the last day the kids were to go to school and I desperately wanted to find a moment: a moment to simply relax by the Christmas tree with a crackling fire in the fireplace and Christmas music in the air, sip my hot tea, read the Word and talk to Jesus. Not a bad desire, right? It was my last chance for a moment like this.
I got everything ready. The music was playing; the tea was made. I made sure the damper was open and lit the fire. That’s when everything began to unravel. Smoke decided the path of least resistance was the living room instead of the chimney. I blew; I fanned; I checked the damper. Did you know there’s no way to put out those five hour logs? I eventually got the smoke to go the right direction, but not before the room had a nice coating of soot, my tea was cold and my eyes were watering so that I couldn’t see to read. Hacking, frazzled and disheveled. Moment over.
I have this dichotomy working within me: I want to rest, but I love to accomplish things. My personal philosophy is, work first, then rest. But I find that I set myself up so optimistically with all I think I can get done, that “rest” turns out to be a mirage that I never quite reach! When I decide to take a rest anyway, I have this strange guilt that haunts me and I receive no pleasure from it. The worst is when I actually have “earned” my rest and it gets sabotaged! That’s when I start asking, “Okay, Lord, what’s up? What are You trying so hard to get through to me?”
Oftentimes when I’m praying, the Lord will encourage me to rest. (Doesn’t He know all I have to get done?) What exactly is He saying to me. As I’ve walked through trying time and again to learn this lesson, I’ve come to a conclusion. (Keep in mind, I know what I’m supposed to do – I don’t always do it!) My rest is not always something I am supposed to do; it is supposed to be something I have. No matter what is going on around me, I have the ability (though I argue otherwise) to choose to have a restful spirit. Does God want me to just sit down every once in a while and just do nothing? Of course, but He wants something even better for me than that. More important to Him is that I am a restful person. I think so many of the curveballs I am thrown are nothing more than tests. Am I going to trust that God orders my day and choose to keep my heart at rest?
It seems God gives me plenty of opportunities to learn this lesson all year long, but December is the final exam! I don’t think I’ve ever had so many curveballs thrown at me as I did yesterday. I could bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, it all comes down to my own choice (doggonit!), whether I remain at rest amidst the hubbub. Do I trust God enough with my life to let Him take my day, turn it upside down and shake it out? I still hope to find my “moment” this Christmas season, but I want more than a moment, I want a lifestyle. A lifestyle of trust and the rest and peace that result from that trust.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3