“What we talk about when we talk about _________” is our series for June. Words and language have meaning and provide insight. What is revealed when we reflect on the words we say? Check out the whole series HERE.
I recently found myself in a room of around 2500 people. It felt like the most rest I have had in months.
What exactly do we talk about when we talk about rest?
Sometimes rest is a physical need. Late nights, earlier than early mornings, long runs, big events and 40++ hours of work a week can all make someone physically tired. For this we eat for nourishment and sleep for refreshment. We may even exercise for health.
Sometimes rest is a personal need. We are all wired quite differently yet we all need re-energized. Some find this in large gatherings and events while others will find it in the cozy corner of a bookstore. We learn to listen to ourselves and restore and call it rest. When we’ve re-energized we usually feel emotionally full and ready to give to the people and needs around us.
Sometimes rest is a soul need. In a room full of 2500 people who have gathered to talk and plan and connect all around the topic of justice, I had come to listen. To learn. To put myself in an environment outside of my own. To be challenged. Ultimately though, I went to rest.
To rest my soul. To take all the shoulda, coulda, woulda in my life and lay it bare to be examined. To take off my rose colored glasses of marriage and motherhood and see the world from a different angle.
Anne Lindbergh said that “It is not physical solitude that actually separates one from other men, not physical isolation, but spiritual isolation. It is not the desert island nor the stony wilderness that cuts you from the people you love. It is the wilderness in the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger. When one is a stranger to oneself that one is estranged from others too.” (Gift From the Sea)
Soul rest does not have to be complete solitary isolation. What we do need to look for is a place that pulls us from the wilderness in the mind and the desert wastes of the heart and connects us to the unique person we are.
I am a thinker. It is how I am wired. I do dishes and think, play with children and think, fold laundry and think. It is a wilderness and it becomes lonely and weary and sad when there is no plan to execute or job to be done. When the thoughts are just whirling and swirling ‘for fun’. With so much thinking it becomes hard to differentiate between thoughts and feelings, knowledge and self.
Rest for the soul. Rest for the soul looks like listening for me. It is putting all of my thoughts and whims and passions to a firm HALT and hearing the thoughts and whims and passions of others.
It is seeing the beauty of the bigger world we live it. It is being inspired from those so different from myself that I can’t help but be amazed at how unique yet how beautifully connected we are as a Body.
It seems like the practices of meditation and liturgy are creeping back up into the lives of many younger people. There are many assumptions about why this is and I would also submit my own. Meditation and Liturgy forces us to LISTEN and in listening we assume the posture of soul rest.
To slow. To stop having the next great idea, or creating the next big adventure or dreaming that next grand goal. To quit Googling ‘how to’ and asking siri ‘where to’ and checking our text for ‘who to’. Listening for the holy voice and calling it meditation and repeating words of the ancient Scripture and calling it liturgy. In our time, this may be the exact rest a whole generation needs.
For me soul rest looked like 2500 people passionately pursing the call of love and justice and sharing their adventures with each other.
What does rest look like for you?