I am seeing a clear difference in who I was before and after my entry into life in the United States. When I lived in Europe I remember sitting in my room enjoying writing in my journal or simply listening to music. I was not in a hurry, and life was not crammed with things to do.
I can distinctly remember that among my many observations of American culture I realized that there is a certain pressure (that I began to give in to) to fill my time. It is good to be busy, was the message. Now before we go on- I want to clarify that I am not going to blame the States or my school for my issues with overcommitment and stress, that is my own responsibility, I am just saying that rest is not valued in these cultures as it was in Europe. A lot of this change might also be greatly attributed to simply growing up and becoming an adult with more and more opportunity and responsibility.
I love opportunity and since so many amazing opportunities and good things have come my way it has become hard to say no.
I have become an incredibly gifted overcommitter and have neglected and completely underestimated the need and even the concept for rest. So God had to spell it out to me.
This is what I have been learning and have begun to value: REST. This year I have really out done myself on the overcommitment level, and as much as I can sit back and laugh at my stupidity and can also see some of the awesome blessings that have come from my various responsibilities, I am also reaping the consequences and am learning that this was never meant to happen again.
So this is this is where I now stand: the 7th Day is essential and meant for good.
Psalm 32 hit home the other night… I felt like God was telling me to look it up and I did, and the entire Psalm was something I needed to meditate on, but for the purpose of this blog these last couple verses applied perfectly:
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD’s unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him
I have found that along with busyness comes much worry and I never thought that I would be that horse or donkey when it came to rest, but I can see myself turning into that ass that needs that bit pulled into a place of rest! Why is it that I need to be forced into rest? It is something I feel we long for, and yet refuse to sit in. Along with the worry and the lack of rest, I have found that I begin to take life more and more under the control of my feeble hands – instead of entrusting God to stand beside me and help me carry my burdens. So all in all this lack of rest destroys my mental capacity, it keeps me from processing even the blessings that are coming from my involvement, friendships are compromised, and exhaustion and burn out begins to take control.Worst of all however, through this busyness I end up spending less and less time with my Savior.
There is hope though, because as the last verse in that passage says, those who trust in God are surrounded by God’s unfailing love- and that message in itself is incredibly encouraging.
So I am trying to not fall into this incredible busyness over and over anymore, and to TRULY rest, regularly. It is not easy though- I must fight this addiction to opportunity and hold myself accountable to this stillness… this peace.
Heck, if the GOD OF HEAVEN needed rest- what in the world makes me think I could or should do without it?