I am discovering that I am not good at resting. Resting feels like a guilty pleasure. Sinful. Lazy. Slothful. Not industrious. Not pulling your own weight. Slacking off.
I’m in a weird in-between place right now. Our foster daughter went home after three years with us. I am finding that all the insanity of the last three years has not been processed and it is suddenly jumping up and down in my head. And I’m not just talking about fostering (which I’m going to say is the hardest thing I have ever done). How about a pandemic, family members being sick, big streak of violence in our neighborhood that turned my kids high school into a war zone, craziness in my little kids’ schools, someone close to me dealing with severe depression, discovering that one of my kids has some neurological differences, one of my kids growing up and leaving home, another one joining the army. And then quite a few other things that I’m not going to write about.
The past three years have been about surviving each blow and then running on to the next catastrophe. This is not to say I’ve been walking around in a horrible state of mind for three years. God is gracious and I have felt his love and peace with me throughout everything. But at some point in time you have to stop moving for a minute and just acknowledge that these things happened, allow yourself some time to work through the emotions, and then be able to lay it down and move forward.
I feel like that is the place that God has put me in right now. And I don’t like it. It feels wrong. I’m not doing anything extra. Yeah, I’m taking care of my family, but nothing else.
That “something else” is a tricky thing. We are saved by grace, not by works. But it’s really easy to fall into that “Grace Plus” mentality. I think I’ve written about this before. Probably because it’s one of the easiest traps for me to fall into. I’m saved by Grace PLUS I do this other ministry. I’m saved by Grace PLUS I’m a really moral, self-disciplined person. I’m saved by Grace PLUS I make no mistakes. I’m saved by Grace PLUS…you get the idea.
When I reach these places where my ministry is over, some kind of transition has happened, I’m no longer doing all the things, I feel panicky. I can’t be pleasing to God when I’m just sitting here. God only likes me if I’m working. God only likes me if I’m producing. God only likes me if I’m doing all the extra stuff.
I was in a church service several weeks ago and the minister said something about service to God and I cried out to God in my mind, Lord, what do you want me to do?? And he answered me. I’ll let you know when you need to know. Right now, just rest.
So, here I am trying to rest. And I’m not very good at it. I know that I am on empty right now. I really don’t have anything to give anyone at the moment. I’m trying to slowly rebuild habits of taking care of my body and mind and soul. Habits I used to have but which got thrown overboard when the storms of life got too crazy.
And the hardest part is looking up at heaven and saying, Are you ok with this? I’m not doing anything. Are you sure this is ok?
So, I grow in faith again. Saved by grace. Not by works. It’s ok to rest.