In an Anne Lamott book I just finished reading, Lamott included a quote from her pastor that said, “Peace is joy at rest.” I underlined it, and wrote it on a note card to stick someplace. What a perfect way to describe the perfect peace that comes from God – it feels as full as joy and as comforting as rest. Peace is hard to come by without rest. We were created to rest, we are commanded to rest, and yet still we act surprised when all our busyness catches up to us via bronchitis or a nervous breakdown or something.
Often when I’m busy I’ll slap on a “rest band-aid.” I’ll read part of my book instead of doing the dishes while Madeline naps; I’ll sneak an episode of show I like, or take a long shower. And while it might sound like those are all excellent ways to take a break from the craziness, the truth is they aren’t. They are just band-aids. Because no shower, no matter how long, or how hot, or how much rosemary mint soap I use, can fill me back up. No TV show, no secret indulgent chocolate snack, no new shade of nail polish can revive my tired soul. When I take time to do all those “restful” things, I’m really just pushing the pause button on life. And as soon as I hit play again, I pick up right where I left off - every bit as exhausted and frazzled.
The only thing that can revive my tired soul is Jesus Christ. When I take time away from my to-do list to take a bath, I return to my to-do list just as weary, only cleaner. But when I take time away to get into the Word of God? Or to pray honestly? Or to worship? I come back all filled up.
In the midst of this very busy season, take time to rest. Don’t settle for slapping on rest band-aids that can’t fill you up and can’t exchange your weakness for strength. Take time to rest in the Lord - thank Him for who He is and what He’s done for you. Breathe for a moment (for a lot of consecutive moments) and open your eyes to the good gifts He sends your way, that go unnoticed without the discipline of rest. Hugs and kisses from family and dear friends, the smell of the candles and pine tress and baked goods, late-afternoon light and white winter skies, and the few of your favorite Christmas carols that never get old.
I pray that you are filled and revived today. I pray that you find joy in your rest. Peace is joy at rest.