Our vacation time this summer turned into an unexpected sabbatical of sorts, which has me feeling refreshed and focused - and wary of getting sucked back into chaos and noise.
God has been working in me such a desire to know stillness amidst the busyness of life - a journey that already has been many years down the road. This year I have begun a new chapter in exploring this "be" versus "do" existence. Although I have chosen not to be defined by what I do I still struggle to swim against the current of our culture that tells me, day in, day out that to be more I have to do more and that busyness will give me purpose and significance. Busyness for that end makes me feel drained and uninspired - insignificant and inadequate.
And sometimes even our vacations feel busy - a long list of stuff to do and people to see that makes us feel like we need a vacation from our vacation! Thankfully, this was not the case for my husband's and my time away this summer. On this happy reprieve from daily pressures I restarted and finished reading a book called, "The Rest of God" by Mark Buchanan. He investigates what Sabbath is, what we have made it to be, and the delicious design of this "rest of God". And most of it I read while I sat on a pebbled beach, on the edge of a sparkling lake bordered with majestic mountains. It was a blissful experience. As I read and meditated, sketched and wrote and mused, I was so grateful for the perspective shift - and frankly, a confirmation in my spirit of how things should be. Unfortunately, since returning home I have experienced a culture shock of sorts. It is so difficult to silence the list of "should's" in my mind but I am looking forward to continuing to press in and explore the stillness and rest and freedom that God intended. I am working on a series of photographs, paintings, poems and songs on this theme of rest.
This week I am battling "taskmasters". Can you relate?
"Taskmasters despise rest. They create a culture where rest must be stolen, savoured on the sly, and of course then it's not rest: worry over getting caught plunders rest's restfulness. Even if they never lay a hand on you (hard to do, since they're imaginary), they mount a ruthless psychological war, a propaganda campaign at once cunning and artless, that defeats you more than whips....
The lie the taskmasters want you to swallow is that you cannot rest until your work's all done, and done better than you're currently doing it. But the truth is, the work's never done, and never done quite right. It's always more than you can finish and less than you hoped for.
So what? Get this straight: The rest of God-the rest God gladly gives so that we might discover the part of God we're missing-is not a reward for finishing. It's not a bonus for work well done.
It's sheer gift. It is a stop work order in the midst of work that's never complete, never polished. Sabbath is not the break we're allotted at the tail end of completing all our tasks and chores, the fulfillment of all our obligations. It's the rest we take smack-dab in the middle of them. without apology, without guilt, and for no better reason than God told us we could." - Mark Buchanan, "The Rest of God" (emphasis mine)