It’s time. I can see the familiar signs: the worry about things that normally don’t cause me angst. The weariness that isn’t cured by a good night’s sleep. The lack of clarity—and lack of time to contemplate it. The irritability I feel whenever I spend even a few moments on the internet.
Yes, it’s time.
Time to pull back the words and think about them instead. To cease talking and engage in more listening. Time to process and pray as if life depends on it.
It’s time for the necessary work of rest.
For its own sake and for the growth and life yet to come.
There are many different types of rest, of course. Sleeping is one. One of my favorites, in fact. Sleeping is far more important to me now than ever before, now that I understand I am not invincible.
Then there is rest from labor, rest from striving, rest from accomplishing and building and achieving and moving. It is this kind of rest that requires you to put your drive to bed. We often think that kind of rest is an absence of productivity and growth, like fallow ground during the a cold winter’s glum.
But I no longer believe that’s true. And I no longer believe rest is unproductive, no matter how it may appear on the outside.
Rest is the underbelly of abundance. The necessary nurturing for new life and growth.
I want an abundant life, a growing life, the kind of life Jesus hinted at in John 10:10. In my youth, I believed his words a promise of goodness, of an easy and happy and comfortable life. It sounded deliciously formulaic: Follow Jesus. Get fat on the good life.
I now know otherwise. What Jesus was promising when he offered “life to the full” wasn’t an exit from struggle. But an invitation to experience all of it, to ingest the rich and complex flavors of this one feast called life. This “life to the full” is a life experienced beyond the superficial, like a farmer digs deep to find the rich soil hidden beneath the surface of the ground.
Rest, in a sense, is a search for the glory beneath the agony. And, when respected and cultivated, it offers the kind of life that doesn’t collapse in on itself when facing calamity. Instead, if builds a life that rises up to live again, maybe even more abundantly than before. Not in spite of struggle, but because of it.
But this kind of rich and abundant life can only be mined in rest. In solitude. In quiet, searing holy spaces.
That’s why, for the third year in a row, I will shut down my blog, social media and email for the summer. Although you may see a few pre-scheduled posts here and there, I will be removing social media buttons from my phone and logging out of all apps on my computer. These are my reasons why:
- A New Book: My next book is set to release mid-2019. Currently, I’m writing it. It’s subject matter is tender, weighty, and worth a deeper measure of respect, study and focus. All of my writing and thinking and processing will be taking place on those pages, for now. Make sure you’re subscribed here to be privy to those details when the time comes for their release.
- Space for Prayer & Study: In case you haven’t noticed, some significant conversations are taking place in the Church right now, in person and online. These conversations are uncomfortable and confusing at best, hurtful and controversial at worst. I want to be prepared to speak into these conversations, if and when God asks me to do so. But the truth is without solitude, intentional prayer, and further study any attempt to speak into this conversation will be premature and reactive at best. I must allow God space to deal with my humanity and blind spots before I can ever attempt any leadership of others through theirs.
- Leadership Development: One of my main priorities in this season of work and ministry is mentoring and equipping Christian women leaders. In August, I will begin my fourth semester of my Inspired Life Mastermind. Part of this season of rest will be invested in the heart, soul, mind work of preparing for it. (NOTE: Want to be a part? We’d love to have you. Apply for the next Inspired Life Mastermind here.)
The truth: I will not be satisfied with anything less than abundance. Thus, I’m investing in rest for this season in anticipation of new life in the next one.
How about you? Don’t skip past this question with flippant disregard. It’s important. You are important. Would you describe your current life as “abundant?” If not, why not? And what are you willing to do about it?
For me, I’m willing to do the opposite of what the culture and market says I “should” do. I’m willing to risk misunderstanding and lost opportunity. But I’m NOT willing to risk myself. My faith. And the one life I’ve been given to live.
QUESTION: What is ONE WAY you can invest in rest this week? This month? This summer? Leave your commitment in the comments, and we’ll do it together.