Returning & Resting
For most of 2017, I woke up feeling like I needed another 10 hours of sleep. Rest was elusive. Little did I know this fatigue would be the threshold of uncovering what it meant to truly rest.
In essence, I am a doer.
I love to refine a process. I love to create. I find deep purpose in toiling through the details of how something works, learning it, studying it. I reflect on the process to improve it and take it to another level of excellence.
This screams, “Type One on the Enneagram!”, doesn’t it?
Last December, I had one of those moments where you step back and suddenly have clarity on something that in hindsight is so obvious.
Something was going on in my body, depleting my energy and causing my mind to be foggy. I would barely make it through the work day, always rising with a scarcity mindset, feeling in need of more sleep.
Once done with the work day, I would nap, and had NO motivation to exercise or do anything else for that matter. I scheduled a doctor’s appointment in January, determined to find out what was going on. While it sounds like I was taking charge, I was nervous something was very wrong.
Long story short, I had a parasite (best case scenario!) and began an intense regimen of rebuilding my gut health and thyroid health; both byproducts of the parasite.
Not only was my physical health being rebuilt, I was also invited into deepening and challenging who I defined myself as: the doer, creator, fixer, builder. I wasn’t able to hang in my old ways of accomplishing, committing, and moving forward.
I was so tired!
In that weariness, God met me and spoke gently to me words of true rest.
In February I saw this verse in Isaiah in a study.
For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: “You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence.” (Isaiah 30:15 CSB)
The paradox of deliverance and strength found in waiting and resting slowly began to wash over me, sinking deep into my soul.
In this day and age, waiting and resting does not equal action or forward motion. The counter-intuitive nature of God providing and clothing you in strength while you are waiting on Him and resting in Him was not my normal motus operandi.
In walking the road of healing, I found myself slowing down, unable to do what was my normal – and for a doer, this new pace and reality was shocking. I was hard on myself.
High expectations of myself needed to erode.
In the midst of shock and change, I unknowingly sat in a waiting posture, a new stillness I had been too busy for. Change was uncomfortable and painful. Yet as I found myself waiting for healing and deliverance, I slowly began encountering the sweetness of just being in the Presence of God.
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Reciting this verse over and over in my mind most mornings helped me battle internal frustration and self-criticism. God spoke to me in the stillness, refreshing my tired soul with life and love, and I didn’t have to earn it or make it happen.
As months passed, I began feeling better and by April, I woke up without the recurring thought of deficit. Simultaneously, God opened up more and more of His ideas about rest and stillness directly correlating with strength and healing.
Somehow, seeking the face of God in stillness, solitude, and silence energizes, rejuvenates, and strengthens us. We are known, accepted, and loved by THE God of the universe which fuels us to advocate, give, and care for other beloved humans around us, harkening back to God’s blessing over humanity to bring goodness and beauty in the world to benefit others in Genesis 1.
Most of the time, I try to come up with my own motivation and plan, thinking I can accomplish something great. And nothing completely falls apart. That’s the scary part. I can get by with being the “controller” of my life. Yet I am missing something so valuable.
God is the source and definer of my identity, dignity, and worth.
I can fool myself into believing that I am only worthy to be God’s daughter based upon what I do or accomplish. I am only worthy of God’s love based upon what others think of me. I am only worthy of God’s delight based upon what I have.
The truth is God delights in us, loves us, and calls us His children, and speaks these affirmations over us each and every day. Sometimes we need to be still to hear God speak and remember what He says of us.
Resting in God’s love is a life-long learning process.
As the end of the year draws near, I see the immense value of seeking God in stillness to remember who He says I am and who He created me to be. Like Jesus went off to the desert to be with the Father, we too can be renewed and refreshed by simply sitting in the presence of Yahweh.
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. (HOSEA 2:14 ESV)
Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved? (SONG OF SOLOMON 8:5 ESV)
During the busy and excitement of the holiday season, may you find your desert and be refreshed by the words of God who loves and cherishes you.
Rachel Correll finds deep joy and purpose in creating whether it’s through sewing handmade goods or freelance designing for non-profits and small businesses. Like Father, like daughter, she connects with God through manual, hands-on processes and creativity. A hearty fire, a lovely candle, a cup of coffee, and a good book energize her soul. Rachel and her husband, Jared, love cooking delicious meals for loved ones at their Portland home as a means to live out the Eucharist. Swing by Ezer Productions to say HI!