We sit on the deck overlooking the mountains, my girls blowing bubbles around me in a swirl of iridescent colors. The air is damp, a breeze shifts the bubbles this direction, then that way. The evening is as close to perfect as I could have imagined, watching the sun slip behind a veil of thick clouds, then beneath the horizon, Still, the knot wedged between my shoulder blades refuses to budge. We hop locations, making time for long-overdue visits that should have happened years ago. This deck in the clouds, is one of several destinations.
I haven’t opened my laptop since I put it in the car, not out of desire to bring it, but purely out of necessity, because even when you’re vacationing, work still calls. The world spins on even as you decide to sit still. So often rest comes with a tension line attached. It’s not so easy to unplug. It’s not so simple.
I half listen to the chatter of my girls, while I’m trying to hush the noise in my own head. I’ve turned my phone to “silent” mode, but my internal noise has no such switch. I’m frustrated by my own resistance to rest. When I attempt to be still, I find the challenge to be in the world and yet separate from its ways, so far as I recognize that the rat race of activity is not intended to be a lifestyle for me. God calls His people to something different, a rhythm that includes deliberate stopping. God’s invitation to follow Him includes the invitation to rest. In rest we remember that we’re not as important as we think we are. The world can and will function without us for a few hours.
In Christ, Sabbath is a personal invitation for restoration and recreation uniquely fashioned for us. ~Shelly Miller
I watch the pink and yellow domed bubbles float in front of my face. My girls shriek and giggle, begging me to notice–look at that one, my girl says. This one is huge, the other boasts.
I exhale and admire their technique. It seems they rest without effort. They know nothing of the resistance that leeches on to grownups. They spin and dance and wave their bubble wands with a lightness I crave while I sit heavy in the chair. I’ve had seasons dancing the sabbath rhythm I’m craving, but this is not one of them. There have been times when it hasn’t felt so much like work to sit still.
The next morning, after slow conversations and time with our people, we pile into the car heading to our next destination. I still feel the pinch between my shoulders, but I notice that in the night it has released a little. Something is giving way. Maybe resistance to rest isn’t abolished in an afternoon, but in the gradual shift of priorities. Maybe rest comes into focus with each small step towards it. A silenced phone. A closed laptop. A reply to an email that says that the work will have to wait. This is how new rhythms are found, in the slow dance of learning new steps.
In the quiet car watching the lush green mountains whip past my window, The knot in my back reminds me to pray. The pinch of discomfort a metaphor for the tension I wrestle when it comes to leaning into rest. I converse with God. I run through the list of friends who’ve been gifts in my life, I say thanks for safety and opportunity, and joy. I recount my abundance and even the stillness that I’m wrestling to embrace. As I walk through my prayers in my heart, I remember the gentleness of God. I remember the ways He is always patient with me. Constantly present, but never pushy. Never oppressive. I sink into the pillow of that grace that always whispers invitation. I lean into that heartbeat that pulses against the resistance, the voice that says rest is found in Christ. And I can be in Christ wherever I am.