I'm addicted to getting things done.
My greatest sin is that I never pause enough to truly rest.
I believe every sin is sin, so when I say "my greatest" I mean my most frequent sin.
It's the sin in my life I am very aware of, but do little to (repent and) change.
Sin, to me, is disobedience to God and what He intends for us. I believe He invites us into a whole and full life, one where He commands things like rest...because it is for our better good. It is for our best life.
I continue to live in constant disobedience of the commandment to rest, to enjoy the Sabbath. A commandment given out of love, a gift of grace. It was commanded not out of control, but out of love and gentleness.
We were created to rest.
I work so hard to love well, like Him. I oddly find comfort in being uncomfortable. I like being humbled to see how I can love others better. It makes me feel like I am on the right path when I uncover subtle and subconscious biases needing uprooted. Growing is something I always want to do, and growing is uncomfortable. If I do anything in this life, I pray it is to love well and love fiercely. Like Jesus. I want to be like Jesus.
But I don't pause.
And Jesus paused. Jesus rested. Jesus valued Himself enough to rest. He also valued the world enough to rest. He knew as a human, He needed rest.
My greatest, most frequent sin is that I do not rest how I was created to rest.
Birthed from this sin are idols of working and getting things done. I perpetuate the workaholism engrained into my family. Engrained into our American life.
My friend Seth asked the questions: "What does it mean for you to rest? Why or why not is that a part of your rhythm? If you could change your rhythm what would you do and why and what's stopping you?"
I've been mulling this over in my mind all week because my spirit is tired. My body's been tired for awhile...but when my spirit gets tired, I know I've forsaken the Sabbath.
Before I became mama, I spent at least an hour in the silence with Jesus—nearly every single day. I gave us—Him and I—an hour to chat and pray and read His word. I would sip coffee in the silence and feel His presence sweep around me. Every day, we dug into His word together and I counted that daily hour as my resting space.
Those moments each day—Jesus and I alone—those were my sacred spaces of rest. Of true pausing. I set my mind on Him, peace engrained into my whole self. I learned to operate out of this place.
We were working in vocational ministry and I knew there was too much going on to not rest and pause with Him.
I knew those sacred spaces of resting would change and look entirely different when I became a mama. I knew resting would be different.
Here I am, 20 months into this mama-journey. I'm just shy of three weeks from releasing my first book and my photography business is doing better than ever; Loren is finishing his Masters Internship and has night classes. And I have not stopped moving in months. My brain, body, and spirit are tired. I am exhausted.
I am in a rut. A rut without rest and I'm stuck in an unhealthy pattern that is difficult to uproot and change. A pattern I've cycled through time and time again.
I have become addicted to my phone: checking emails, answering emails, answering FB messages, posting about photography, posting about my book, posting about my adorable boys.
Often I wonder, do I sound authentic or salesy? Do all my friends think I'm stupid and annoying? Are people embarrassed for me? Did the words I rewrote 46 times come across as I intended, with grace and truth? Do people think I think I'm better than them? My fear of man and approval has picked up its speed and I am confident this very much has to do with my lack of Sabbath.
I have become addicted to meeting deadlines (which I don't even meet). Writing guest posts, writing on my blog, staying consistent and building trust with my readers, guest podcasting, editing photography sessions and delivering galleries on time, online webinars and free trainings.
I have continued to make idols out of production and hustle. It's embarrassing. It's a thing of control: if I can just answer enough emails, edit enough photos—not get too far behind—maybe I will feel a bit more in control of the chaos of responsibility I've put onto my plate.
I've tried to pin point what rest looks like for my life, in this season. It's been difficult. It's layered. But I think I have figured it out.
You know what rest looks like for me?
Rest looks like going on a walk or adventure downtown with my boys—just me and them—without my phone on. Except maybe to play worship music.
Rest looks like playing in the back yard with my boys, without worrying about all of the photos I'm not editing or the emails I haven't answered in days.
Rest looks like going to the beach with my husband and babies-turning-toddlers, without feeling the need to edit photos or write an article on the drive there and back.
Rest looks like sitting in the sanctuary on Sunday morning, my phone turned off and in the diaper bag, my hands open in surrender and tears streaming down my face as the room fills with worship and my heart cracks open to our Father. My brain no where but surrendered.
Resting looks like going on a long run, gardening, and cleaning my home with the only sound being worship music and babies.
Rest looks like setting down the expectations I've placed on myself to meet the needs of anyone outside of my husband and babies.
Resting—for me—is far less about physically resting (which isn't really available to me right now) and far more about spiritually [and mentally] resting.
It's about relearning the art of true surrender, of not clinging to The List of all of everything needing done today, tomorrow, next month.
I believe the Sabbath is so much more than a single day set apart to not work: I believe the Sabbath is a way of life.
Rest is about opening my hands and emptying them of everything. Palms up has always been my freest posture but lately I have been so hunkered, downtrodden and overwhelmed.
I've been so caught up in not falling behind. But you know what I continue to find? I still fall behind.
I haven't disciplined myself to work rest into my rhythm for a few reasons, reasons I reprocessed this week:
- This sin of never truly enjoying a sabbath—rest? It seems to only affect me. This is a lie I continue to buy into: this sin isn't as detrimental as the sin of, let's say adultery, because it only affects me. But the truth is this: my decision to not rest and pause—ever—affects my marriage and my parenting.
Sin is sin but it's difficult for me to see the idol of work equal to the idol of adultery. But they're both idols. My sin of never resting as He commands—because He is a good, good Father—is the same as disobeying any other things He invites us to.
- Deep down, I continue to believe the world needs me to do all the things I am doing. I still seem to think God needs my help and if I don't answer an email or say yes to a photography job or answer every last inquiry, everything will crumble. Somehow my husband feels zero pressure to answer anyone's anything...and I seem to overcompensate by answering every single person's everything. Which becomes a lot.
- Even deeper, I still believe my worth comes from what I do. Or don't do. I still have this messed up version of earning my keep. It's terrible. I have approximately one billion unread messages this week regarding guest posts and book release day and photography sessions. In my brain, if I don't respond within a day or two, I will lose the photography clients and then I won't be able to pay our bills and I have failed.
I have failed my family and those around me. I have failed to do what He asked of me. These are the fears.
- Lastly, I continue to buy into the twistedness of deservedness: I don't deserve to rest. Resting is for people who make more money, resting is for people who have bigger houses, resting is for people who have more children, resting is for people who don't own a small business or whose husbands aren't in grad school or who aren't authors...yada yada yada. Lies lies lies.
I'm a real mess.
I want to change this. I want to become passionate about uprooting this really deep-rooted sin in my life and family. I want to value myself and my family enough to rest. To put my phone and computer down...but even further, to not worry when I put these things down. Loren often talks to me and I am just staring at him thinking of all the things I should be doing. I don't even hear him. I'm super awesome, I know.
I believe when the commandments were created, it was out of love and grace for us. I believe our best life lived are the lives He intended for us: He commanded a Sabbath–authentic rest—for a reason. We are fickle and need rest.
So here I am, confessing to my small corner of the internet my extreme unhealthy lack of rest. My greatest sin. My greatest idol.
I want to raise my boys with rest as part of our rhythm. I want them to know resting is healthy; they don't need to strive, strive, strive and please, please, please everyone. They don't need to feel the weight of their world on their shoulders.
I'm so grateful for grace. I'm grateful He is patient and gracious and so, so tender. I am confident He isn't up in the clouds shaking His finger at me, disappointed I have yet again failed to keep His command.
Instead, I envision Him sitting with me, inviting me into spaces of continual rest, but I am not batting an eye at the offer. Instead I see His tender eyes looking straight into my hidden soul, He sees all of the unseen aches and idols and brokenness...and He isn't disappointed in me. He is gracious and tender with me.
I'm so grateful for grace.
What does your rhythm of rest look like? Do you struggle with this as an idol and how have you or do you uproot it when it gets really bad?