The Idea of Rest
I am a pretty relaxed person. I have often been described as chill, easy going and flexible. While those are great qualities I have found that those qualities do not always reign as my true state in high stress situations. Instead, control, fear, and anxiousness become king resulting in an invitation for others to enter the control, avoidance, and the shut-down state of Heather O’Brien. Most often it doesn’t end pretty. Opportunities are lost, joy is stolen, people are hurt and forgiveness is frequently asked for. It has been a cycle that has happened for years but not due to lack of effort to “fix it.” Therein my desire to control has failed me again.
Recently, God has brought me back to a place of looking at this idea of rest.
“To engage with courage, beauty and love inviting her domain into life and rest”
A year ago I heard this definition of the essence of femininity for the first time at the Wellspring Battle for Women’s Hearts event. Immediately I connected with it as truth, but yet not able to see it as truth for myself.
What does it mean to invite someone into rest? Can I do that? What does rest even look like?
God is so practical, He likes to use situations that are occurring in my life to expose me to my humanity and graciously lift me up to see the hope of transformation that is on the horizon. A few weeks ago I was planning to take a vacation to visit a friend. As I began to plan the details of the trip I felt God asking me to trust Him.
“Heather, do you trust me? Do you trust me? Just rest.”
Though wanting to plan out every detail for fear of not knowing what the outcome of the vacation would be, I repeatedly chose not to take control but to just trust while trying to rest.
“How do I rest?”
As I continuously chose to surrender control over the situation I began to find unexplainable peace. God led my friend and I to places we probably wouldn’t have chosen to go to, and we met people that we wouldn’t have met. There God met us.
One afternoon I was watching a couple of sheep on a mountainside. One sheep was sitting and looking around with contentment while the other was in a constant state of grazing. As I watched those sheep, God spoke to me about how to find rest.
“Heather, eat and rest.”
Just like those sheep, God was calling me into rest by the eating or taking in of Him through His word, others, and my environment and choosing to rest and trust with contentment that my shepherd has placed me where I need to be to get the nourishment and the things I need. All I have to do is follow and obey.
This really put Psalm 23:1-3 into perspective for me:
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
As I give up control, fear, and anxiety and choose to trust Him, He will lead me to the green pastures that I long for. There, I will be restored; I will find rest. It is only once I have found rest myself that I can truly invite others into rest.
I am on a journey. It is a journey that will take continuous conviction and choices, but as I make them I am being transformed. The hope of continuous rest lies before me and all God is asking me to do is choose to live in it now.