Thursday, May 24, 2007

Relearning rest

Rest doesn’t look the same as it once did. It used to be that when I needed a break or a vacation, I did whatever I wanted. Slept in. Watched a lot of TV. Took extended times with the Lord. Went to movies. Funny how having three children under the age of four will disrupt such simple and self-focused patterns.

It has taken me a while to accept that rest looks different now than it used to, and I have found that the more I embrace where I am, rather than wish for where I was, the more rest comes.

A few weeks ago we went to the beach (and whoever said “getting there is half the fun” did not spend a full morning loading a Toyota Sienna with luggage, toys, a portable potty seat, and enough finger food to stuff a preschool class), and for the first day I was really frustrated. My kids needed and wanted to spend time with me. My wife needed and wanted time to read a book and relax. And I needed and wanted to rest, which I thought entailed my being alone, doing whatever I wanted, and playing with my kids when it was convenient for me. That expectation was being shattered, and for a while I resented and resisted learning to rest in a new way.

Thank goodness for the love of God for me and in me, as He began to lead me in letting go of my way and submitting to the season of life that He has for me right now. My children won’t be this little for very long. Precious times of playing in the sand, reading books before bedtime, fixing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will be gone before I know it. And in loving my wife and kids, and being loved by them, was great rest. I came back from the trip refreshed and thankful.

This week, post-Rockbridge, has been a similar experience. There is a part of me that longs for the days when, as a single staff, the “comp-week” after Rockbridge was filled with, well, me-time. But this week I have been to the museum with Psalter, to the zoo with Eliza, Psalter, Diane, and Jacob, and to story time at the library with them all. God is redefining rest, and I learn that the most rest comes when I simply cooperate and receive what He has and find Him in the midst.


justin smith said...

Well, you better rest up that disc arm. I'll be back in action in 8 days and counting.

Carrie Mullins said...

Amen and amen. I needed this reminder to enjoy the place in life where I am and to not wish it all away. (Marshall, you may not remember me but I was Kelly Kirk's roomate right before she married Alex. I was a VCU student back in the glory days when Alex was first on staff. I am now the mom of two girls who just turned 2 and 4 yesterday. Thanks for such a great post!
Carrie Mullins

Ashleigh said...

A big problem I have had w/ rest is how boxed in I feel by it sometimes; it seems to take to long for me to "figure out" how to rest and what "counts" and what "doesn't" and how it all works, which completely defeats the purpose. It's so good to be reminded that it does look different for different people at different times and that, as with anything, so much of it is listening to the Spirit.

trying2notbestupid said...

Wow Marsh, it only took me 12 years of taking my little ones to the beach to get that! I'm glad you 'got it' faster than I did.

Tell Justin that my disc arm is ready and waiting....