We are starting to recognize the heart issues that keep us from finding rest. And it doesn’t look at all the way we thought it would. Because as much as we want to point to the outside circumstances like work and responsibility and the needs of others, the Holy Spirit keeps pulling off the half-truths we wear…keeps gently revealing the fragility inside.
It’s satisfying to think that we are busy because we are capable, self-sacrificing women. (And we really are, in many ways.) But rather humiliating to admit that I am also busy for fear of disappointing others. Sometimes busy with the endless needs, no matter how stressful, to avoid the hurricane roar of God’s love. Pursuing performance to cover up the shame for all the ways I feel not-enough. Swallowed up in the mind-numbingly trivial so I don’t have to feel the loneliness and disappointment and boredom of this world. Busyness can be like an armor we wear to hide our weaknesses, protect our hearts. Busyness can be a banner to proclaim our worth, to give us a reason to get up in the morning. And women can end up owning this crazy busyness like a super-power, all the while it threatens to suck the life right out of us.
Yeah, there’s any number of reasons busyness is more appealing than rest, and none of them healthy. No wonder God calls us to His rest gently and persistently, like a parent who knows what is best for a child. It’s kind of a relief to admit to one another that our reasons for doing things are often flawed. It helps to realize that we are so much the same in this, get to the point where we can shake our heads and laugh at ourselves, and help each other look for something better. In her book Rhythms of Rest, Shelly Miller points out the bald truth that busyness is a bully, pushing us to fit into the world’s patterns of thinking– whispering to us about who we need to be, and what we need to achieve, and what our lives should look like in order to be happy and loved and safe. And the more we go along with it in order to fit in, the more we lose of our true selves and our true purpose in life.
All the while Jesus is holding out His arms, calling us to rest there and be loved just as we are. When God calls us to Sabbath, He is giving us opportunity to detach from the world’s values and come into the light of His reality, let it re-shape our thinking. He wants to comfort our weary aching hearts with His love, refresh our hearts as we focus on Who-He-Is in worship. This is Sabbath, when we step into God’s holy presence….“and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) It can be just a few minutes to breathe deep and give thanks in an office cubicle, or a whispered invitation to “Come, Lord Jesus” in the heat of a stressful moment. It may be a joyful gathering of like minds, or a quiet morning on the back porch over coffee and your tattered Bible.
Whenever we step aside to listen for His voice we are finding Sabbath rest, and God says it is the secret to that abundant life He offers. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” (Isaiah 30:21) And we find our worth and our purpose here in the Creator’s presence– discover who He made us to be, and that we are beautiful in His eyes. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)
There’s nothing like a capable, self-sacrificing woman who isn’t afraid to stop and listen to her heart beat, in the presence of her Maker. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:25-26)
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (Proverbs 31:30-31)
“You hold my every moment;
You calm my raging seas;
You walk with me through fire,
And heal all my disease.
I trust in You, I trust in You.
I believe You’re my healer;
I believe You are all I need…
And I believe You’re my portion;
I believe You’re more than enough for me;
Jesus, You’re all I need.”
(Healer, Kari Jobe)