This post was first shared as issue 8 of These Sacred Words
I’ve written about rest before. About the importance of slowing down and noticing the beauty all around. And here I am writing about it again, because apparently I still need to hear it (maybe you need to hear it too?).
The last time I wrote on this topic I focused on how a life of hurry can steal from our noticing of the mercies and graces and joys that are surrounding us. I encouraged us to stop, to slow down, and to see the exquisite beauty of our ordinary lives.
This time I’m approaching it from a slightly different perspective – from an understanding of how resting reminds us of the Gospel and how important stillness and slowness can be for our faith and our identity.
At the end of the day there are several things I want in life. I want to be a good wife, a good daughter, a good friend, a good writer, a good pastor’s wife, a good [insert another role].
These desires drive how I live my life, how I spend my time, and how I structure my days. These are not bad desires. These are obviously good things. But I think I’ve realized an inconsistency in these beliefs and my belief in the Gospel.
I’ve realized that I can easily slip onto the hamster wheel of doing and (even more dangerously) of believing that being a good [insert role] is accomplished by my doing.
That being a good wife is accomplished by regularly cooking delicious healthy meals for my husband.
That being a good writer is accomplished by publishing regularly scheduled, well-researched, beautiful and encouraging blog posts.
That being a good pastor’s wife is accomplished by providing counsel and regular accountability to all of our church members.
That being a good believer is accomplished by having daily quiet times and not struggling with the same sins over and over again.
And I’ve come to wonder…what does my incessant striving…what do these beliefs about my accomplishments… say about what I believe about myself? About the Gospel?
Do I think that what I do shapes who I am or what God thinks about me? Am I trusting in the work Christ has accomplished on my behalf? Am I relying on myself and my own efforts instead of the grace offered by Christ? Am I able to separate myself from what I do?
At the end of the day (especially at the end of this day when I am scheduling what I see as a poorly-written, incomplete, rambly blog post), I’m realizing I need to be reminded that I am not what I produce or publish. I am not how I pastor or serve the church. I am not what people think of me. I am not what I do.
And I hope you see that the same is true for you. Who are you? Are you trying to find rest or identity in what you can accomplish? Do you need to be reminded to rest in the identity secured for you by Christ?
It is exhausting to live on the hamster wheel of needing to achieve and accomplish things. But there is deep soul-rest to be found in ceasing from striving and resting in the identity that has been bought for you by Christ.
I hope today you can see how the beauty of the Gospel compels us to rest. I hope you can see and believe. I hope… even in this moment… that you can pause… take a breath… and just rest.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; those that love thee shall be brought into rest.”
A PRAYER FOR YOU:
May you REST in the Gospel; in the truth that all has been accomplished for you in Christ; that all righteousness, all goodness, all hope, is secured because of his work on your behalf; that you are able to truly and fully cease striving and know that he is God.