And yet my heart was not peaceful for the last week. I know I have written about this before, but I struggle so much between the two extremes of wanting to rest and wanting to work. At times I go on a working jag, and I spend all my free time writing and fixing my blog or setting up Facebook or planning my next speaking campaign.
Other days I just want nothing more than to knit and think up new things to put in my crockpot.
I was having some of those latter days last week. I have been traveling so much this spring that it is wearing on me, and I found myself saying to God, “Can’t I just stay home? Can’t you let me off the hook sometimes?”
Of course, God just smiled, because it wasn’t Him who overcommitted me to so many engagements this spring; that was my own folly and my own pride.
And last Friday I pulled up my bootstraps and got myself in my car as I drove two hours to a retreat where 150 women were awaiting me, excited.
As soon as I arrived I felt convicted. These women were so excited to be together, and for me it seemed like more time away from my family, when I just wanted to knit. And to top it all off, I had forgotten one of the four knitting needles necessary to knit the pair of socks I’m working on at home. So I couldn’t even knit in my downtime to relax.
But the first thing that happened as I arrived was we were each asked to take a “blessing”–an inspirational thought printed out. I chose one, and it said,
I have given each of you a gift, for you to use to bless others. Go and bless those I give to you.
I smiled. I had been saying to God, “is it necessary for me to speak? Do I really make a difference? Is this really what you want me to spend my time on?” And He said a big, loud, “Yes!”
I had a wonderful feedback from the weekend, and the idyllic setting helped me to just quiet my heart. I spoke Friday night, and Saturday morning, and Saturday night, and Sunday morning, yet I had all Saturday afternoon to rest and think and pray and type.
It’s Saturday now, though this post won’t be up until later. And again I am struck by God talking to me about purpose. I told the women this morning, as I have mentioned on my personal blog before, that the two big lies that our culture believes are, “You deserve to be happy“, and “you would be happy if you just tried a little harder.” And even though I know these things are lies, I tend to fall into them. I tend to think that the purpose of life is for me to relax and have fun, and hence work interferes with my purpose.
But work is our purpose. I am not saying that we all need to be superwomen, but there is a balance, isn’t there? Our lives should mean something. We are put on this earth to get to know God, to learn to serve Him, and to introduce others to Him. There is great joy in that. Everything else is secondary. Part of getting to know God, of course, is also learning to abide in His rest, to appreciate quiet moments, to find joy in solitude. It is not that we need to be super busy all the time. And yet getting to know God also involves finding what we were created to do.
For whatever reason, and I don’t mean this in a proud way, I was created to communicate truths about God to people. I feel hopelessly inadequate for the task. I do not spend two hours in contemplation everyday. There are days when my prayer life is rather abysmal. And yet God still pushes me out there, and He still does wonderful things through me–or perhaps I should say despite me.
Most of you reading this blog also feel called to speak. You know that God has given you a message, and has gifted you to deliver that message.
Don’t take that for granted. Don’t think “I’m only doing this until retirement,” and then I can rest, or “I’m only going to be this busy until the kids grow, and then I can calm down.” Perhaps your life will be less busy, but don’t ever let it be less meaningful.
I think we believe too much that we work hard now in order to rest–as if resting is the goal of life. We would be happier and more at peace, I think, if we took periodic rest now so that we could know God, feel God, and thus be energized to live for Him, not just now, but forever. We are not to work ourselves out of work; we are to rest enough that we can focus on God and continue to work, in whatever capacity He calls us, until we go home.
So I will keep asking God to make more more excited about work, and to help me take the rest I need when the opportunity presents itself. And I will stop telling myself that my goal in life is to have limitless time to go on vacation and knit. Knitting is wonderful, but I can do that while I work. If only I remember my needles.
A version of this post was first published on my personal blog, To Love, Honor and Vacuum.