I don’t know if anyone has said it to you lately but take a break. It’s okay.
Drink tea. Read for fun. Take a nap.
In case no one has mentioned that you are allowed to think for yourself, you are.
Discuss big things with voices you love and trust. Think. Use your God given wisdom. Pray.
Not many people are saying it at this exact moment, but it’s okay for you to get some ice cream and laugh with your kids. It’s okay for you to hop on social media and look at home decor. It’s okay to fold the laundry in complete silence. No documentary. No audio book. Just, silence.
My heart, my mind, my every second has been overwhelmed with news and tragedy, hurt and harm. My emotions are racing to keep up. My brain working overtime to take it all in and decipher what to do. What not to do. When the noise is all consistent and constant it has a masking effect. When we can no longer hear a scream because everyone is screaming, screaming can lose its effect. We call it white noise. It’s how we lull our babies to sleep. Let’s not be lulled.
Our desire can be to try to make up for lost time. To fix things quick. To cram all the information in that we didn’t know before and to keep up to speed with the happenings of every other person on the planet. But let’s stop for just a second and think about how this applies to other areas of our lives.
When we’ve realized a way that we’re parenting our children has been off and our eyes have been opened to see a better way, we can’t read every book in a week, become an expert in two, and have a new kid by next month.
We know there is a long and slow work to lasting change. We know that the alterations we make and the steps forward are good but don’t happen overnight. We know that the process is time-consuming and we’d be best to pace ourselves before fatigue sets in and we abandon our new intentions altogether.
Every time I open my phone these days, scrolling through instagram for a few minutes to see sweet girls prom photos or a birth announcement or some tips on what to cook for dinner, I am bombarded with a to-do list. The to-do list may have good things on it. But it’s not how I can find a space of rest.
I can’t nap and clean the bathroom at the same time. I can’t lay on the couch and cook dinner. And in the same manner I can no longer hop online and hope for just a few minutes of peace. The two can’t co-exist anymore.
It’s overwhelming and tiring and I’m not finding quiet in my usual spots. Or there’s a feeling of guilt by trying to. Guilt and rest are two things that also don’t co-exist well together.
If you’re a learner and a doer, the person who values productivity like me, then seasons like we are currently in can be detrimental to our souls. I have to intentionally build rest into my weeks because it’s not my natural at any point. I like to be moving.
But rest, calm, silence, time away, time alone, these are so necessary and right and good for our hearts and our minds and our souls. Turns out, these things don’t come by flipping through social media anymore. They don’t come by scrolling netflix. All of those are now voices, loud voices, consuming our rest time, our work time, our every bit of time, threatening to dull the important screams into constant murmur that our brains begin to decipher as normal.
In case no one has given you permission and you feel like you need it, it’s okay to turn it all off for a second, for an hour, for a day, and give your mind the space it needs. This isn’t wrong. It does not make you the enemy. It makes you wise. It allows you to hear the important cries again.
As I stole away with silence and my bible I came to Colossians and it created a framework I need these days. A way, a design that I need for all of my days.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above……”
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth….”
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
This is where we start. When we feel confused, when the sides are pressing in, when information (or mis-information) is flowing at such a rapid pace we feel like we’re going to be thrown from the boat, this is where we find our solid ground.
The world wants us to label everything and force us to choose. The voices declare there are categories and we must slide perfectly into one or we are the other.
Right or Left. Black or White. Police or Not. Protest or Hate. Jew or Greek. Circumcised or uncircumcised. We’ve been here before.
Co-sleep or crib. Agave or sugar. Bottle or breast.
City or suburb. Ministry or marketplace. Calvin or Arminius.
The stakes are higher currently, yes, of that I am fully aware. But our operations in one bleed into the next. We don’t wake up one day and decide that now we’re different, now we’re kind, now we listen, now we will allow others to use their very own minds. No, it slips from the small to the big and chances are how we treat one another in debate over the small is exactly how we treat them in debate over the large. The scale of the debate determining the scale of our reaction.
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
What’s ruling my time? What’s ruling my mind? What’s ruling my actions, in all things?
I am for Jesus. I am for the kingdom. I am for discipleship. I am for justice. I am for peace. I am for the poor. I am for the widow and the orphan. I am for making wrong’s right. I am for seeking forgiveness. I am for repenting of my sin. I am for admitting when I get it wrong. I am for growth and sanctification.
I am also for sleep schedules and nighttime cuddles. For organic and sour keys. For intimate small community and large churches. I am for work and play. I am for global and local. For books and movies. For people and alone. For grief and for joy. For challenge and for rest.
We don’t have to choose. We get to have both. Today, I will power off, I will unplug, I will find silence and rest. Tomorrow I might choose different. This does not make me uncaring or complicit. It makes me human.
In case no one has said it to you today, it is okay to be human.
Listen to these beautiful words by Chinese Church leader and Christian teacher Watchman Nee,
“The Christian life consists of sitting with Christ, walking by Him and standing in Him. We begin our spiritual life by resting in the finished work of the Lord Jesus. That rest is the source of our strength for a consistent and unfaltering walk in the world. And at the end of a grueling warfare with the hosts of darkness we are found standing with Him at last in triumphant possession of the field.” – from his book Sit, Walk, Stand