Friday, 25 March 2011
By Bonnie at Faith BaristaWhen emotions don’t line up with what you believe, how do you resolve rest?
One thing my boys always beg me for is “tickle time”.
For some strange reason, both two year CJ and five year TJ love being tortured by tickles until they’re racked with silent gasps for air. To keep it fairly amusing, I’ve developed a menu of tickles. Some of my most lethal moves are The Hamburger Tickle (I trap them between two pillows) and The Go-To-Jail Tickle (My limbs become the human body cuff).
They shout out their tickle requests by name, hollering into an invisible drive-thru intercom. But I do not cave in.
Because to score a really good tickle, you can’t command it to be done. I’m sure you’ve tried this before.
You can’t tickle yourself.
It’s true. A study has even been done to prove we can’t tickle ourselves. Our brain doesn’t let us. Tickling must be done by someone else.
Emotional rest works the same way.
The ultimate way to experience emotional rest isn’t fighting our way to capture or achieve it.
Our souls were designed to receive rest.
God designed the human heart hungering to be understood and accepted.
The Last Cup
We all cry out for someone when we experience emotional stress.
We don’t want advice. No I-told-you-so. And we certainly don’t need any thou-shalts.
Deep inside us lies the propensity to worry about what others think or when the other shoe will drop. We wonder how our ham-and-cheese-sandwich lives will make a difference. For some who face extra hardship, we wonder how we can best survive the pressures.
If we’re human, the needs in this earthly life will always take up our last cup of rest.
I once mistakenly thought that having witnessed my share of Red Sea partings by God, I “should know” better and not get stressed out so easily.
What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I have enough faith? I’d badger myself.
The truth was that I was unwilling to tell myself the truth. How I really felt. What I really thought. I just shoved them into a closet labeled “disbelief” and plopped myself down for a cup of tea, wearing the “I believe God can do anything” sweatshirt.
Then, I waited for rest to rain down on me.
Instead, stress continued to build.
I forgot what God really wanted from me.
What God Wanted
God did want me to believe He could do anything.
He wanted me to believe that Jesus could give me rest — in my weary and weak.
Me? I believed Jesus could give me rest, only if I didn’t struggle with being weary and weak.
This is why Jesus was so completely off the map when He came on the scene and told everyone –
“Come to Me,
all who are weary and heavy-laden, and
I will give you rest.”
Before Jesus showed up, everyone was doing just fine following the law and doing what they were supposed to be doing. Some even followed the commandments to the “S” when it came to keeping the Sabbath.
The truth was that everyone had never tasted real, inner rest. They knew how to do rest, but they never experienced true rest with a capital J.
Where fears, worries and doubts mess up the beds of rest — Jesus enters.
Jesus doesn’t tell us to de-stress or learn a lesson.
Instead, Jesus makes a beeline to sit on our bed of burdens, with a cup of rest in one hand extended to you and me.
Rest isn’t something we can create.
It is a gift Jesus gives when we draw near to Him in our stress and strivings.
This isn’t always an easy thing — telling ourselves the truth. Because we like to go into hiding.
Par For The Course
I was leading a 30′s singles ministry at the time, having graduated as a pastoral intern, when I encountered my greatest personal perfect storm.
One day, I just couldn’t pretend I was okay. I confided in a pastor I was serving alongside, expecting her to tell me to take time off ministry or start counseling me.
After hearing me unload, she was flabbergasted, “Geez. I can’t believe what you’ve had to go through. No wonder you’re so stressed!” We burst out laughing like crazy.
We went out to lunch that day, which turned into a weekly habit. Our partnership in ministry transformed into an amazing friendship.
My friend Carol didn’t volunteer advice or try to fix anything. She saw my struggles as par for the course of faith. I tasted first hand the rest that the Apostle Paul expressed to Philemon —
“Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord ;
refresh (rest) my heart in Christ.”
~ Paul, Philemon 1:20
Turns out Jesus delivers His gift of rest when we receive each other, too. Whenever we share the deep things that burden our hearts — or allow others to share — we find God’s rest through each other.
No pressure to force Sabbath on anyone. We remember that Sabbath is Jesus, the Person who is already with us.
Try it. You may find yourself laughing. After all, a heart at rest is easy target to get tickled.
How do you experience emotional rest?
How has Jesus or others brought you to a place of emotional rest?