"The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." Mark 2:27
This past Sunday, after church, Kevin and I went on a little photo adventure. Mixing work with pleasure...on the Sabbath. (a day of rest given by God - which has turned, by human hands, into another thing to do with more rules to follow.)
One of the tricky elements of being an artist is that I find such a pressure (both external and internal) to prove my legitimacy. I create because I am drawn to it, because I find joy and pleasure in it, because I feel called to - but it's almost like we're not allowed to love our work. Work is supposed to be the drudgery of our week, the thing we complain about, but from which we earn an income. And then the things that we enjoy doing become play - just hobbies and fooling around time.
This summer, I had someone inquire into what I do - when I told them I was an artist and musician I was asked for clarification, "No, I mean, what do you do for money?". I knew it came from an honest, well-meaning place, but it was quite an eye opener for me. Nothing like just cutting to the chase of this world's priorities! Money=worth. And the object of the work game is to make more and more money. (Produce and sell more art pieces, teach more students, never pass up an opportunity...) So, the battle for legitimacy is a challenge, indeed. Which means rest becomes a challenge. If all I'm doing is "playing around" then there's not really any time for rest - just prove your worth by keeping busy.
God tells us over and over to rest, to trust, to let go... and not just on Sundays but all the time. In His eyes there is absolutely nothing we have to do to have all the worth we need. We can't earn it by working, or being perfect (um, impossible anyway!) - we are loved and worthy just because we breathe in and out. But still we toil, don't we?
Reading Mark Buchanon's "Rest of God" (as I reference in the previous post) has been particularly freeing as I gained insight into God's design for rest and the restrictions we have placed on what we feel we can or cannot do on the Sabbath (often Sunday). Sure I took photographs, which is part of my "work" but it doesn't feel like "work"! It was more about restoration for our souls - getting outside in creation, exploring together and enjoying time with each other and God in peace and quiet. And later, after a nap on the couch with Kevin snuggled up beside me watching a NASCAR race, I ventured out again, this time for a bike ride. It was deliciously restful, even though I was sweating and working hard to keep my bike on the twisting single track. I don't think there's ever a time when God doesn't speak and refresh and restore when we carve out time to simply rest in His presence, in whatever we are doing, wherever we are. God is continually calling me out of the "doing" so that whatever I'm doing no longer feels steeped in obligation or with pressure to achieve.
This Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect opportunity to find the rest of God. Grateful, still hearts and a quieted mind will set the stage for a weekend of restoration. Hopefully, as designed, that restoration will spill into the rest of our week, making whatever we set our hands to more purposeful and joyful.
The above image was taken by Kevin with his IPhone in panoramic mode. What a shot!