So, let me start by saying I am a huge fan of the artist Audrey Assad. It seems I am always listening to her music, and often enough a song will pop into my head with just the right words I need to hear. So thank you Audrey. Today those words are:
“I’m Mary and I’m Martha all at the same time…Why is it easy to work and hard to rest sometimes?” (Audrey Assad, “Lament”).
I have been so soooo so so looking forward to finishing graduate school. And now that it has been a week since graduation, I am finally. starting. to. rest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still waking up with the birds like clockwork, but I don’t think that was a #gradschoolproblems issue so much as a habit I inherited from my dad and positively reinforced when I would wake up at 5:30 in the morning to watch him shave before he left for work. Ah, the little things.
No, I’m not sleeping more just yet, and still drinking plenty of coffee, but these don’t necessarily track with the kind of rest I’m talking about:
I went for a massage on Wednesday. That didn’t really do it. My mind was racing about all sorts of unnecessary things as I lay there. Even sleep and a couple of days of doing absolutely nothing haven’t quite brought me to feeling rested. Soul rest is different than the kind of rest than sleeping in on a Sunday will get you. In fact,
it is another thing entirely.
Soul rest correlates with letting go of the anxiety of the next thing and the thing after that and the thing you forgot and is due in 2 hours. At least, those were my little pieces of disquiet for the last three years. And even though they were never the end of the world, even a constant stream of marshmallows can leave a bruise. All those little tasks and deadlines, they weigh on a person.
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened…”
Do I still have a lot on my plate? Sure, in some ways. The house has taken the brunt of my neglect (although the hubs has done an amazing job of picking up the slack in most cases) so there are a backlog of chores and errands to do. We’ve been overloaded with the joyful occasions of spring in weddings and graduations and parties. Life is full! There is always something to do or somewhere to be.
And it’s not like I have nothing to worry about. I’m still in the midst of deciding whether or not to take a job I’ve been offered or wait for another promising possibility to firm up. In many ways I feel that our family is at a crossroads and I’m honestly not sure which path to take just yet.
But, for some reason, it hasn’t interfered with this:
“…I will give you rest.”
Through much of graduate school I felt like my relationship with Jesus was one of holding dearly onto the reason I was there in the first place. It was a desperate, help-me-get-through-this sort of prayer.
Now, as I prepare to enter back into full time ministry, I can feel my conversations with this good God shifting. I will follow you. You know the way. Jesus, I trust in you.
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
I trust this word. And I think that this trust is what is giving my soul rest.
I want to grow into this rest, keep it, not let it slip away whenever the next tumultuous season we encounter brings its joys and challenges. I hope and pray for a heart that has this trust, has this rest, no matter the circumstances. Perhaps I’ll get there. But first step first. I now know what it feels like. I know what to aim for. I know what to pray for.
Knowing that Jesus is a sure guide, that no matter what step I take next God will not leave me to face it alone, it is this trust that brings me soul rest. We get a taste of it here, always interrupted. But our hope is soul rest everlasting and for that, well, that takes ultimate trust in this God who never ceases to be the light for our path.