Rest. This is something I have been needing lately. I have jumped into the deep end with this blogging gig- learning about all the modes of social media and figuring out how this world of technology, social networking and writing mesh together. It’s been a blast catching up with twitter and facebook, scouring blogs, and learning from other bloggers who are doing it so well. It’s all great…it’s all interesting…it’s all addicting…and I have realized that it’s all quite noisy, to be honest.
Beneath the tyranny of the urgent messages, posts, tweets and beeps, and the world of motherhood that brings with it restless nights, constant noise and endless needs there is a quiet groaning. This groaning speaks for the most honest part of my being that longs for something more, for true, spiritual rest.
This longing is for more stillness in my soul, more contemplation, more reflection, more gratitude, more connection to God. I crave more awareness of Christ within me, Christ around me, Christ before me, Christ behind me…more of the rest God intends for me to have.
It’s not that I think social media is immoral, or that I will escape from the demands of life, because in reality as a mother of three kids under four, I cannot. I do not want isolate myself on a mountain top of spirituality because that is not a part of the mission I have to love my neighbor, to make disciples and to be a steward of grace and healing in my family, in my community, in my world.
What I do want is to rest. Rest in the midst of my mission. Rest in the chaos of everyday life. Rest while trying to go to the dentist with my two preschoolers. Rest when the chocolate milk spills everywhere at McDonald’s and happy meal toys are hurled clear across the restaurant because my kid has a huge melt down. (McDonald’s was their treat for going to the dentist…haha…ironic, right?…don’t tell their dentist:) Rest in the midst of caring for a congested newborn who isn’t sleeping well. Rest as I learn how to be a better blogger. Rest in the process of finishing finals for grad school. Rest while preparing for the holidays. Rest in everyday life. Period.
The foundation of true rest is to constantly be aware of God’s presence and love in the midst of our daily rituals, schedules, social networking and job commitments. I trust God’s good heart to take me to the place of rest and internal peace in the middle of my noisy life because that is what He is like. His nature is to give rest to those who seek Him and to fill their souls as they come to Him with spiritual hunger. In fact, we see this provision of rest in the Bible. One of God’s commands for us found in scripture is to PRAY ALWAYS. It sounds arduous and unrealistic, but really, He is offering us an invitation to rest and it is very doable, even with today’s high-tech noise, constant demands, and full schedules.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
Henri Nouwen says it well:
“The literal translation of the phrase “pray always” is “come to rest”, from the Greek word hesychia. The rest which flows from unceasing prayer needs to be sought at all costs, even when the flesh is itchy, the world alluring and the demons noisy. Prayer is about coming to rest in constant awareness of God’s presence as an undeserved gift.” (Henri Nouwen)
For me, one way to be aware of His nearness is through offering prayers as simple as a breath, exhaling words like,
“Thank you Father” or
“You are with me” or
“Your love is all I need” or
“I am Yours” or
“You are so good” or
“Your mercy is new today” or
“I want to know you more, Jesus”.
I say these “breath prayers” as I buckle the kids into their car seats, run errands, play legos, write papers, wash dishes, manage bath-time, or attempt to cook an edible dinner. Simple prayers like these throughout the day are a great way to become aware of His presence and find true rest. He is in it all, and we can find Him to be our rest as we are aware of Him and open our hearts to Him through prayer.
I am going to end this post with a prayer written by Saint Patrick, whose life gives us a wonderful example of how to practice the presence of God in everyday events and happenings, being aware of His goodness and His nearness in all things.
Christ within you. Peace within you.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.