Sunday, March 28, 2010

Disciplined Rest

Discipline and rest sound like antonyms, right? Opposites.

When I think about discipline, I think about getting up early. Running consistently. Saying "no" to fun things when I have responsibilities that need attention. It is encouraged in Scripture-- Paul even says that bodily discipline is of value, and godly discipline is even more important. We are exhorted numerous times to "make the best use of the time." This takes discipline. We need discipline in our schedules, eating habits, finances, relationships...there's not one area of our lives this doesn't touch.

And what does the Bible say about rest? The Bible says that God rested. I think that in and of itself, this truth alone has deep glories to be discovered. Rest wasn't needed. God wasn't tired. And yet in His rest, He sets an example for us: if He, the omniscient, All-Powerful Ruler enjoys rest...we the dependent dust must enjoy rest. He even created us to need it.

As I was sick last weekend, I literally had to force myself to rest. My tendency is to work. I enjoy it- I love emailing new wedding vendor contacts, it's exciting to hear from someone new who's heard about my business, or just return a phone call REAL quick because in the long run it will save me lots of time later...etc, etc, etc.

I found (the hard way) that I lack discipline to rest. I'm not talking the kind of rest like- I've worked all day, my feet are tired and if I stand for another second I'm literally going to fall over "I've-run-out-of-energy" kind of rest. But REST that my mind and soul need in my "awake" hours as well. Rest to truly enjoy the freedom to NOT do things.

Do I have an idol of productivity? Is my definition of productivity different than God's? This needs adjustment.

In recent months, the conversation of "freedom" has been a regular topic discussed. The freedom to do things and the freedom not to. It's not genuine freedom if I HAVE to do something. Or if I CAN'T. Piper talks about his freedom to enjoy chocolate. But how every now and then, he chooses not to have chocolate. Just to exercise his freedom not to HAVE to have it. Do we only use freedom to enjoy things we like and avoid things we don't? If so, we aren't truly free. (We are urged in Scripture not to use our freedom to sin: this is clear.)

I found the Holy Spirit prompting my heart at the beginning of this week: Do I ever enjoy the freedom to not work even when I can?

Please don't mishear. I'm not condoning laziness, nor endorsing irresponsibility. But I found myself contemplating if I was enslaved to "doing."

For all of us "Doers" out there, we must consider: if our tendency is to "do"...our discipline might need to be "rest." That's certainly the case with me. It takes more discipline for me to sit and "do nothing" (ie: rest) than to go running. Or get up early in the morning. Surely this reveals my heart...

But I know for others of you out there, your temptations and tendencies are just the opposite. That's what I find so fascinating about the addresses each of us, specifically.

And I must note (because what would a "Gone Waling" post be without something "cultural" mentioned?) that it seems the British culture has a strength when it comes to rest. And as seems to be our weakness. These are of course very broad generalizations...but I find it so interesting...


Monday, March 8, 2010

Cultural dance

Adjusting culturally has been as expected: sometimes...a little awkward. I feel clumsy in the American culture. The American mindset. The American ways.

I've begun describing it to friends that it's like learning how to dance. I did a certain "dance" in Wales. Learned the ropes a bit. Got my feet in place- understood my bearings. But the "dance" in the States is different. Sometimes I get the steps mixed up or my footing off-place. Other times the timing is just wrong. I haven't really gotten the hang of it just quite yet.

It will take time. More time than I hypothesized. I don't have to adjust in a certain amount of time...or even really completely ever...this is very freeing. There is much grace for this transition season. YAY.

I kid you not: almost every single time I walk up to a car...I can't for the life of me remember which side the driver's side is on. Rarely do I not have to peer inside for the steering wheel. Even in my own car. I can't remember which country has it on the right and which one on the left.

What a joy that no "dance" is right or wrong. One is not more godly or wise than the other. They're just dances. Just cultures.

The Gospel is the same. God is the same. And in this...we rejoice!