If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you'll see a common theme emerging - the idea of rest, and what it has and hasn't meant to me over the years (see examples here and here). At the beginning of the year I wrestled a lot with how to even go about resting. My friend Chelsea and I spent hours mulling over what it looks like to have a healthy work/life balance, and keep Jesus at the center of it all.
These times were so good for my heart, because they forced me to sit down and really think about everything. But then the busy season hit, and there were just a lot of things I had to do. From editing to blogging to personal things like filling out mounds of paperwork for our adoption, rest wasn't my top priority, and in a lot of ways it couldn't be.
What I'm learning now about rest is that it has its seasons, too. Truth be told, I can't always be in a restful state of working 8 hours per day and having each weekend off. That's just not practical for me when I'm in the middle of shooting weddings. But the important thing to know is that it truly is just a season. I also can't expect to continue running at 100mph every single day and not get exhausted, sick, and burnt out.
So now I'm entering the 'slow season,' and thinking again about rest. The most helpful thing I have heard came from Tim Keller, a pastor in New York. He opened my eyes to what rest means. It isn't just doing nothing, or even doing few things. True rest is something that only happens in your mind. And that's where my real problems lie.
I can plan days or weekends where I do no work, and yet feel completely unrested. It seems obvious, but I didn't realize until I listened to his sermon that my mind is the key to true rest. If I have down time, it often just gives my mind more permission to spin and think about all the opportunities I could be taking, or what I could have done better, or what's coming next. He calls it "the eternal inner murmur of the heart."
That sounds deep because it is. Most of America doesn't know what rest is, and yet the average person watches 5 hours of TV every day. Even if that isn't you, that's pretty shocking - we are all burnt out, busy, and exhausted, yet we can make time for a daily dose of television?!
What I'm learning is that rest happens first in the heart. Rest is as much about being content where you are as it is about physically resting. One cannot happen without the other. So I'm committing during this season to intentionally work on resting my mind. I want to know deep down that I am good enough right where I am at the end of the day. Tomorrow I can work on where I want to be but when I shut down my computer and go prepare dinner each night, I want my heart and mind to know that the work I've done is good, and good enough. I hope you and I can go towards that goal together - because then, and only then, will we truly be able to rest.