At the beginning of each year, I pray for one word to focus on throughout the year. I immediately received the word “rest.” I thought, Surely this can’t be right. The death of both of my grandmothers, a beloved dog, and a close friend’s teenage son had sent me spiraling into a deep depression that had made me do nothing but lay around and mourn. Hadn’t I rested long enough? Wasn’t it time for me to move forward and start doing something? I haven’t even been writing, only working part-time, having consistent meltdowns, and struggling to even get out of bed most mornings. Wasn’t my rest time coming to an end?
I kept praying for another word, but none came to mind. So I figured I’d go on and keep praying until my word became clear. I had been feeling prompted to read Hebrews, so I saved a plan on the Bible app to start later. Then another plan caught my eye: Living in God’s Rest. It was a short plan, but it quickly taught me that rest didn’t mean being lazy or inactive. Rest was relying on the power of God instead of depending on myself to get things done.
I am a fixer, and when things go wrong, my tendency is to do all I can to fix it. 2019 showed me just how powerless I am. All the loss my loved ones and I endured was not only heartbreaking, but frustrating. I couldn’t fix any of it! I couldn’t undo what was done. I couldn’t heal our wounds. Any efforts I made in trying to make things better were failed attempts, because the hurt was too much for even me to handle. It was ALL out of my control.
And that is the point of rest. I have no power. None. I am not responsible for the pain in the world. I can’t heal it, I can’t make it disappear, I can’t even handle it all. God, made me extremely sensitive to the emotional and physical pain of others. I am empathetic to the point that it can be debilitating. But he didn’t design me that way to heal or fix the world—only to love on those he puts in my life. That doesn’t mean making the situation all better. It just means being supportive, caring, and helping where I can within the scope of my abilities. The rest in this comes in recognizing the gifts God has given me, and understanding where that ends. God is God. I am not.
I have since started reading Hebrews. Wouldn’t you know it? Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 talks of entering God’s rest. Reading this showed me that rest is not just recognizing what is out of my control. Rest is being faithful and trusting in God. This is an old lesson that I thought I had already learned. Apparently, I needed a refresher. I don’t understand why bad things happen, especially in situations where I think God should have intervened. But again, I am not God. I can’t see the overall big picture. I had no part in designing the world, the universe, and all of creation. And I am definitely not the one holding it all together. So in that, I have to trust that God’s thoughts are above my own, and his ways are higher than mine. I have to trust God to be God, and rest in the knowledge that he loves his children, and will work to restore things in such a way that only he can.
Obviously, since “rest” is my word for the year, this lesson is not over. I’m extremely stubborn, and I’m sure I’ll hit many bumps in the road as I overstep my boundaries and try to fix things that aren’t mine to fix. But I know God is loving and patient, and will continue to pick me up when I fall, allowing me to rest in him and learn the hard lessons that are to come. I know I can depend on that rest to restore my tired spirit and mend my broken heart. Thankfully the weight of the world is not mine to bear. Whew. That thought alone makes it possible for me to rest.