Monday, October 01, 2007

Rest and Restlessness

It was such a good weekend on so many levels. We had time as a family, time as just the two of us, time with others, time to give and care for someone who was hurting. We enjoyed simple foods and rich foods. We puttered around the house and got little things done.

But there is a weird lie that seems to always come when we have calm. When the weekend is restful, I begin to self-doubt and worry that we aren't doing enough. When it's peaceful, I find myself freaking out that we have down time. I enjoy it... but I worry about it.

Where does that come from?

I talk about wanting good rhythms of work and play, effort and rest. I know that there should be time of strenuous output and times of happy celebration. But inside, I feel better about myself when it's busy and even stressful.

We are still in the process of adjusting and settling in this new place. We are learning patterns and ways of existing, surviving and thriving. I know that we want thriving to be our normal state of being. In knowing that, I am aware that rest, quiet times to putter and to dream are good, needed and desirable. In fact, I strongly resist hectic ways of living. I am, at the core, one who needs space for God's voice to break in. I don't like being so busy that He has to wait in line, hoping to get a word in edge-wise.

And I'm not just talking about the traditional "Quiet Time" here. I'm talking about just having a rhythm that allows for some slower times in which his dreams can invade my brain. I want us to keep dreaming his dreams for this place. I don't want to lock into my feeble little ideas.

So it's breathing room I long for. It was such a nice breathing room kind of weekend. Yet I find guilt chasing my quiet breaths and telling me we should be running from one thing to the next.

I resist that. I take big breaths of love and grace and friendship with God.

This Monday morning, with a full week ahead, I stretch out my arms and open my lungs. I breathe.

4 comments:

andym said...

I think that so many Christians, especially those who have a ‘missional’ leaning, get stuck in a pattern of ‘busyness = holiness’. It’s somehow a proof of our piety that we run round ‘doing’ things…

We still live in the spirit/flesh duality (however wrong we pretend to know it is), so we fail to see the ‘normal’ times, the quiet times of life as spiritual. And if they aren’t spiritual, then surely they are wasted? So we make ourselves busier, cramming more people, more meetings, more work into our diary…

It’s the guilt of the protestant work ethic ;-)

Enjoy the quiet. Because sitting relaxing with your family you are as spiritual as when ministering to the broken and, maybe, more open to God…

lisa said...

thanks, andy, for your good words. yes, i agree that we want to say busyness=holiness. we also tend to think that busyness=fruitfulness.

learning to abide is a life-long lesson...

Tina Mason said...

Lisa, just what I needed after a crazy week. Thank you.

Carolyn said...

Hi Lisa:

I think you came up with your own solution: "I take big breaths of love and grace and friendship with God.This Monday morning, with a full week ahead, I stretch out my arms and open my lungs. I breathe." Sounds perfect. One thing I thought of: In what ways do you think God dreams of you being able to find that rhythm on a regular basis? (If you haven't already found it). For me, it used to be going down to the ocean and watching the water.....now that I'm here, I'm still trying to find that "place", but I haven't quite yet found it. When I read this today I was struck by your phrase, "breathing room". I have often played with the notion of writing a book "someday", and just lately, I've been thinking this would be the title. Funny how God works sometimes....