Longing for Rest

I say a prayer over both kids instead of praying for them individually as I do when I take my time. I rush through my usual night script: “IloveyouDaddylovesyouButwholovesyouthemost?” and they yell back, “God!” My “good night” barely slips through the door I’m already closing behind me, and my whole body sighs. I’m done. I’m tired. It’s time to get started on some writing, but all I want to do is sleep; I want rest.

I plop down at my desk to open the computer, but my hand automatically reaches for the phone and without missing a beat opens up Instagram. I numb the loud demands of work with mindless scrolling and tapping through Instastories because what better time to get nosy with other people’s lives than when I need to meet deadlines?

My procrastination exacerbates the mild anxiety rising in my heart, and I silently accuse everything else for my exhaustion. The deadlines. The kids. My schedule. Housework. That time of the month. I play victim when I’ve chosen this for myself. I’ve chosen not to have rhythms of rest, not to take a Sabbath. I’ve longed for rest, but I haven’t ceased from working, ceased from scrolling, ceased from producing.

My shoulders and my soul take the toll, and my lack of peace tells me I’m missing the point: I’m pining for rest when rest is what I’m offered already. Not one day when the work stops or when the deadlines are done or when the holiday frenzy is finished. Rest is a reality I can enjoy today, a glimpse of heaven I can taste, when I remember to keep the Sabbath holy.

Advent is beckoning me to Sabbath. It’s a time to slow down, to stop my uncontrolled patterns of busyness and center myself back to Christ. I didn’t see the connection between the two until I started to hear it from the pulpit on Sundays. Our pastors are teaching us Advent is a preview of what is to come; it’s an invitation to experience now what’s been promised in full in the new heavens and new earth- true and complete rest.

I become the worst version of myself when I forget to rest. I’m cranky and angry, and I feel fully entitled to be so because I’m tired. I call binging on Netflix or treating myself to sugary coffee drinks as self-care, but I’m not actually resting. I’m just taking a break and indulging. If I’m honest enough, it feels more comfortable to stay busy building up my life- my platform, my writing, my family, my good deeds- instead of having boundaries, saying no, and trusting God.  

Advent reminds me the story of my life isn’t about me. My life in Christ changed my narrative to be about his story. His is about the restoring of the vision of Eden- a place where man and woman, every beast and living thing knew peace and were whole. In the frenzy of end-of-the-year responsibilities, expectations, reflections, and planning, I often get lost in the story of more- be more, have more, do more- instead of resting in my identity as one beloved by God. In forgetting who I am, I then forget what I’m called to- showing others they’re beloved as well.

Even as I write this at the end of another long day, I need the reminder again. I can look forward to the day when I will rest without the anxiety of hustling and the unending bustle of the holidays, but I can create a space to experience it now. I can schedule fewer playdates and coffee dates to keep my days open. I can listen to songs and to the reading of the Word to feed my soul and remind me of truth. I can change my pace to a stroll instead racing through my to-do list so I can walk with people, look them in the eye instead of itching for my phone, and love them well. I can choose to Sabbath and enjoy it now even as I long for the eternal Sabbath to come.

Photo by Jack B on Unsplash

Grace P. Cho
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6 thoughts on “Longing for Rest

  1. Yes to now.
    I imagined that when my children left the nest, I would have more time, feel less rushed. With three flown and only one remaining, the hours are still full and breaks are still rare.
    May we find grace to come to a full stop because we need to — not because it is easy. It will never be easy on this planet.

  2. This is every bit me. Like Michele – I thought circumstances would change me. I still feel the hours are fleeting and I still deny myself real rest. I feel guilty when I hit the yoga mat instead of doing something productive. I watch tv and say that I am spending time with my husband. I am hitting deadlines down to the wire. And the guilt is draining. Oh friend, I feel you and I pray you find Sabbath.

  3. I’m doubting my capacity these days and maybe I just need to recognize that my story is not about me, as you said so well. Maybe my rest is avoidance and not real rest. You’ve provoked some deeper thoughts, Grace but first, rest. Wise words. Thank you.

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