Every so often I travel alone. I pack my bag with only my things. Anticipation takes over greater parts of the days leading to my departure. The expectation of caring only for myself looms on the horizon. No one to dress but myself. No one to feed but myself. No time to eat but when I hunger. Before the horizon zooms into reality I stock the fridge and imagine what might bring my husband some comfort for the task of all three children, all day, all alone.
Then, I journey. Traveling alone means stretches of silence interspersed with bursts of speech…to the check-in agent, to passport control, to buy food, to the one who sits beside me. But more silence accompanies me than usual on journeys alone. More silence than children talking over each other talking to me. More than the constant communication that makes home life run, soothes hurt feelings, or delves into deep issues of the heart.
I welcome silence…for a time. I open books, ponder deep thoughts, fill pages in journals, watch movies. Then I approach the seeming end of my thoughts or stack of books and my heart grows restless. Like a mountain to be tackled with the promise of rest on the opposite side, I climb increasingly anxious to summit.
Activity fills most of my days. Preparing food, giving direction, teaching, answering, asking. The abrupt halt throws me forward like a passenger into a taut seatbelt. Responsibilities pause yet I keep moving. I require longer to slow down. The mounting rise of restlessness washes over me. I now know to wait and be still. God has more for me than restlessness.
Given long enough I overcome the peak and enter the meadow of rest. True rest. Allowing inactivity and not labeling it “lazy” or “selfish.” I see life marching on without my voice when I call home. I know He values my voice but the knowledge that God does not need me frees me somehow.
I observe more of nature and life around me. New, quiet thoughts come to me. I feel lighter. He upholds all, maintains all, sustains all. I sustain small pockets of valuable life as He permits and because He sustains me, but He sustains all.
Rest acknowledges God is God. I am not. True rest puts me in my place and God in His. He is Father, I am child again.
What do you learn about God when you rest? What do you learn about yourself?