That’s the best way I can describe the past 2 weeks. I have been “in the midst” of loss, migraine pain and many demands/deadlines at work.
How non-coincidental that my dream last night consisted of being in the midst of dust-bowl-type farm land with at first small mini-tornado dust clouds popping up around me. Increasingly they came closer until I was in the midst of a tornado-type dust storm. Did I seek cover or refuge in the dream? No. I just kept trying to drive through until I felt suffocated by the dust getting into the car and blinded by what was swirling around me.
Hmmmm …. might that be a picture of how my heart is feeling after a co-worker whom I greatly respected, admired and enjoyed died suddenly last week? Tuesday he was at work with us, Wednesday he was not. Add to that emotional pain, the physical pain of more days with migraine than without recently; and, multiple major deadlines at work that didn’t allow time for either of the first two things to be transpiring in my life.
To be transparent with you, I need to confess that I turned to my organization skills to try to put some distance between me and the pain, i.e., the storm around me. Organize, check it off the list, and repeat. That allowed me “to do” my life rather than having “to live” in the midst . It wasn’t a conscious choice, but nevertheless it was a choice. But just as in the dream, the storm was catching up to me and I was feeling suffocated.
While at my acupuncturist Friday he made the comment “you are bumping up against the edge of your capacity. You need to find a way to rest.” Let’s just say I did not receive that advice very well. It did not match up with organize, organize, organize to keep everything in its place and manageable.
That’s was my mindset while walking Saturday morning. My conversation with Jesus went like this:
“Jesus, I feel like it’s the end of the 4th quarter, 4th down
and the goal line seems a long ways away – what do I do?
I heard you say “rest”.
It actually made me angry.
I actually guffawed at it – like Sara did about having a son so late in life.
Hmmmm … why did I respond like that? What does rest mean to me?
How do I be me and rest, because to me rest is you just stop;
just take up space; you add no value when you are resting.
OR – maybe it’s more like
I have no value when I am resting because I just take up space.
I think my problem might be my definition of rest. 🙂
I need to look up the word rest in the original Greek.
Before I could do that, I heard Jesus say,
“let me create the space in you for rest”.
Jesus, if You want to create space in me for rest, that tells me You intended rest to be part of who I am, rather than rest being what I do or don’t do. How do I be restful, so that I am at rest? It’s got to be in there somewhere in Matthew 11:28. “I will cause you to rest, I will ease, relieve and refresh your souls.” Yes Jesus! Create that space in me to ease, relieve and refresh my soul. That definitely has value!!
Look what I found in studying the Greek for Matthew 11:28.
The answer is – “REST” is not a noun, it’s a verb in the Greek in this verse. It is the actions Jesus (in the first person “I”) will take in me (first person) when I come unto (“come to the advantage of being near” is the literal translation) Him. The actions contained in this Greek verb “rest” that Jesus will take are:
- to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength
- to give rest, refresh, to give one’s self rest, take rest
- to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation
By Jesus taking these actions, it creates space within me in the midst of being in the presence of my enemies to sit at the table He provides for me that includes His presence, provision, protection and guidance (Psalm 23) upon which to feast. It is God’s way not man’s way of thinking to rest and take advantage of being near Him in the midst of loss, trials and demanding circumstances rather than employing our own resources of fight or flight. I am able to take rest for myself. It is my choice to operate from a place of strife or rest. How is that possible? Because Jesus also takes the action to provide/create quiet in my soul of calm and patient expectation … also commonly referred to and known as “hope”. I don’t think I have ever realized before, that in order to be able to rest, I/we must have hope.
It is out of this space within us, filled with His presence, provision, protection, guidance and hope we are to act and live rather than from the familiar place we so often inhabit of being weary and heavy ladened when we are “in the midst”. Operating from the latter only depletes us more.
How blessed are we that we are of such great value to Jesus these are His intentions for us and that He acts in this way towards us.
So my prayer for you is may Jesus bring revelation to you of whatsoever you have turned to other than Him to help you “do” life rather than “live” life in the midst. May you make the choice to turn from the whatsoever and come take advantage of being near to Him so that He may create the space for rest in your life!