When I was a little girl I loved playing outdoors in and under the trees. One house had this awesome Mimosa tree.
That Mimosa tree had branches low enough to the ground that with a little stretching I could climb the tree. I’d scramble up the branches like a little monkey and then lay on one, as high as I dared to go, and watch the clouds.
In Texas the sky is blue and open and full of white, puffy clouds. I’d lay on one of those branches, entranced by the cloud formations and cooled by the shade of higher branches and a gentle breeze. Of course, there was one problem with climbing the tree. I was (am) afraid of heights. Inevitably, when it was time to go down, I was paralyzed with fear.
So, one of my siblings would run inside to get Daddy.
Usually Daddy would stand at the bottom of the tree and give me instructions on how to get back down. Usually I would sit at the top of the tree and cling to the trunk with my eyes closed tight. Which meant usually Daddy would end up climbing the tree to get me. With his strong hands on the tree and his arms around me, my muscles relaxed enough to release my full-body grip on the tree trunk. We’d climb down the tree together.
Resting in Jesus is the same thing. Resting in Jesus doesn’t change the circumstances. Jesus doesn’t always come and lift us down out of our tree. Usually he meets us where we and navigates us to solid ground.
Rest comes as we trust in Jesus, listen to his word, and cling to his presence instead of the very thing holding us in the difficult place.
Sometimes I live life like that little girl up in the tree. I think I have to control the outcome by clinging to what seems solid. I get worn out trying to provide for myself, to protect myself, to ensure I have the things I think I need. And at the top of this tree, I can’t see the way to all I really want is only possible if I let go of the trunk and follow my Father’s instructions.
The thing is, I am called to obedience, not outcomes. When I start trying to control outcomes, I get tired. Trying to carry God’s burden, instead of the light one he’s assigned to me, is exhausting. Rest comes by trusting in Jesus and trusting in God’s ways, even when they require me to let go of my own ways; especially when they require me to let go of my own ways.
There is a lot of rest to be found in trusting God’s ways. There is a lot of weariness to be found in trusting my ways.
There is rest when I submit to his pattern for rest woven into creation. I find rest when I trust him that there is enough time in 16 hours to accomplish what he’s called me to do in 24. When I forfeit sleep so I can “unwind” and watch a movie, read a book, or spend some time on a hobby, I decide my way is better than his way, and I get tired.
There is rest when I trust him that six days of work, not seven, are enough to supply what I need. When I forfeit the sabbath by using the seventh day as an extra day to catch up on laundry, groceries, or to get ahead on work for the coming week, I get tired. When I forfeit worship with his people to catch up on the sleep I missed all week, I grow weary.
The question becomes: Will I trust God enough to find true rest for my weariness?