On the phone this morning, a friend and I were chatting about scheduling a play date. (Tiring out the Oompah Loompahs, chatting with a friend, and consuming iced coffee makes for a winning day in my opinion!) 🙂 But here’s the thing: I had to schedule it for the end of next week, and even then it’s going make for a busy couple of days.
Six months ago, I probably would have scrapped the idea. I’m too busy, and all that. Scheduling rest goes against every strand of my Type-A DNA. Do you relate? I’m a run-on sentence kind of a girl. Stopping for something as boring as periods or commas just seems like a total cramp in my personal style. And I’m not talking about writing, so much as I am about life. Pausing just seems like a total waste of time. I could be accomplishing something, for goodness’ sake! In all the busy, I forget 3 key things:
1) God’s purpose is relational.
Because He cares so much about our relationship with Him and our relationship with others, He has placed boundaries to keep them healthy. Obsessive behaviors, entanglements of sin, and yes, overloaded calendars and to-do lists – prevent good relationships. Intentional rest is like the punctuation mark that divides up a too-long sentence into something beautiful and beneficial. The 3rd commandment is really a weapon that will effectively keep us from vandalizing the other 9 commandments. Punctuation marks protect us from breaking the Top Ten List of “Don’t Hurt Yourself.” They provide the pause we need to keep from burning out and doing harmful, foolish things just because we’re exhausted.
Running on empty does more than make us snappy and stressed. Relationships will turn unhealthy. Appetites will become out of control. Blessings will become fixations that ruin instead of enrich. That’s why I’m thankful for the second truth that I so easily forget:
2) God’s Word is restorative.
Superman, I may have mentioned, is on the Search and Rescue team. He was called out at 11 p.m. last night for some lost hikers. Apparently they had one flashlight with a dying battery, no compass, and no map. Not surprisingly, they were hopelessly lost. They were unprepared for nightfall.
I don’t think any of us really starts out on a sunny morning thinking that we’re going to be lost. But life doesn’t stay sunny and pretty, and darkness hits. Shadows fall. If we don’t have the light of God’s Word, the map of His desires for us, the compass of His unerring truth, we will become like those hikers.
God’s Word is the light, the map, and the compass when we find ourselves off trail. Bible study, memorization, and MOST importantly, application of God’s Word is the remedy to getting back on trail. There is a LOT that the Bible has to say about rest, but if we don’t read it and obey it and remind ourselves about it, it does us no good. Lastly,
3) God’s ways are redemptive.
Out of control living is pointing us to something inside that needs fixed. If we’re off trail, there’s a reason. There comes a time when the run-on sentence has to stop – when there is no choice but to pause and punctuate. I found myself there as a college freshman with an eating disorder that brought me to my knees. The desire to control, the addiction to overdo everything – that’s me. It took a crisis the size of an eating disorder to show me that I desperately need the boundaries that God offers. I am a run-on sentence desperately in needs of some commas and periods.
When we pause, we have space to face the broken things within us. Healing is always God’s desire. He prioritizes it over success, accomplishments, and yes, even comfort. Freedom is not found in unending work, impressive performance, or a long list of achievements.
Healing, restoration, and wholeness are found in Him alone. He invites us to quiet for a moment. Rest. Put a period somewhere and sit, for the love of sanity. Schedule a play date, pour some iced coffee, or lock yourself in the bathroom while the kids nap. 🙂 Get creative about it, but make rest and refreshment a priority…
…because run-on sentences have to stop somewhere or else we all suffer and then life becomes endless drudgery there is a reason for punctuation so use it pretty please! 😉