I open my email and there is one of my favorite things- a message from a friend suggesting we meet for lunch. I’m free in three weeks on Wednesday. I’m only halfway through a book I started last month. A guest is coming and I struggle to figure out when I can clean the house before his arrival. Although a full calendar feels good and meeting with friends makes me happy, I’m unsettled, unsatisfied, and getting cranky. Something needs to change.
Being too busy isn’t a new problem for me. I cycle down this road with some regularity. I feel pressed, scold myself, and decide to apply my will to the problem. I’ll beat myself at my own game. I will schedule time to be quiet. I will try to muster the discipline to keep those appointments with myself. I will make myself sit…And then a friend calls.
In the midst of it all, I ponder the layered meaning of the words full, abundant and rest as I try to fit them together like a Rubik’s cube and end up with a tidy, perfectly patterned life.
Years ago when I was trying my hand at poetry, I wrote, I wander inside myself looking for a place of rest.
It’s true, I do. And therein lies the problem.
I’m looking in the wrong place. Rest can’t and won’t be found in me. I could lie on the couch for days and not find it. Not in the way I’m looking for it.
I keep making this an issue of time management and discipline, sitting squarely in the shallow end of the meanings. But if I look a bit deeper, I see how I could have a full calendar but not feel burdened by it. I see how in each moment there rests a decision, even in those that feel the most mundane. I may have a bad habit of overbooking my life, but that doesn’t preclude me from rest and abundance.
I struggle to even write this because tangents abound. How does spiritual rest affect me physically? Is there a secret abundance in the quiet? How much of my personality and frame affect how I experience fullness? How does dying to myself speak to all of this?
Of course I need physical rest but really, truly, deeply, I need and long for spiritual rest. In each decision. Each appointment. Each item checked off the list. That comes from a person, not a plan. It comes as part of an exchange- I give Jesus my burdens, he gives me rest. I think at least one small part of understanding all of this has to do with my posture before God.
If I can learn to submit all of my life, including my schedule, then the state of my heart will be better and the state of my calendar will matter less.
If I only had time…