Friday, October 9, 2009

Fear of Rest:

Genesis 2:2
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

There was a time when this little morsel of scripture could have been identified as the bane of my existence.  I could hardly fathom the idea of rest, much less find time for it.  In fact, the seventh day had become the day to catch up on the things I had failed to do during the week.  I had to keep up.  Always fighting to get ahead.  I would have never believed you if you’d told me that there would be a day when I would actually go so far as to enjoy it. 

You see, for me, the concept of rest was synonymous with laziness.  The word was loaded with negative connotations and unrealistic expectation.  For me, rest was the polar opposite of what I believed to be the definition of diligence: working hard for the Lord.  There was no place for it in my equation of life.  There was no place for it my equation of Christianity. 

Looking back, I remember the day that God got a hold of me.  I remember that day because it had profound impact on the rest of my life.  I remember hearing God’s voice, barely audible, shining through like a piercing ray of sunshine in the midst of my haze.  “What are you afraid of?”

He called me out.  Just like that.  Not with a diplomatic, “Are you afraid?”, which leaves room for error on the part of the one questioning.  A convicting what.  After working through my initial self-righteous and defensive responses, I came to the conclusion that He was right.  He was right in calling me out.  He was right in identifying my deepest fears.  He has such a beautiful way of getting to the roots of who we really are.  Exposing the truth.  Challenging us to be real with ourselves, real with Him. 

I was truly afraid.  Afraid of rest.  Afraid of the stillness.  Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of the reality of being alone, alone with myself.  Afraid of facing my true worth- without the accomplishments and the endeavors and the successes.  Afraid of being vulnerable, of having the things that I had worked so hard for stripped completely away in those moments.  Afraid to just be.  Afraid to rest. 

The Lord has accomplished a great healing in my life in the area of rest.  In fact, He has transformed the equation of my life.  He has revealed himself more to me in those moments of rest than in any other moments, reminding me that only when I rest can I really be free to trust Him.  Trusting Him with my accomplishments, my endeavors, my successes.  Trusting Him to be the source of my worth and security.  Trusting Him to protect me from the brutal expectations that this world has placed upon me.  Trusting Him to strip away the things that I have worked so hard for, and instead clothe me with His gracious works. 

Yes, I have learned to find my God in the moments of rest, and meeting Him there has had divine impact on my life.  Meeting Him there continues to have impact on my life, exposing the truth, allowing me to come to terms with who He truly is, and who I truly am.  So I leave you with the same question that so challenged me: What are you afraid of?  What is keeping you from rest?

Lord, even with our masks of denial you expose our deepest fears.  Grant us the courage to walk out of the demands of our life, but rather, to walk into the demands of yours…to walk into your rest. 

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