Finding Rest: Of paper-houses and vanity races

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee”

Hey friend,
Before I set the “tea” on the table, it might be of help to spur you to thought with a few words: contentment, rest and trust. I hope you contemplate on those words and how they apply or mean specifically to yourself as you read along. Who knows, we might just help each other reason, understand and learn. I particularly have had an extraordinary week mulling over them as I (providentially) have passed through the testing of each.

 
I recently traveled out of town for a very impromptu reason and being a lover of travel, it was a rather much needed change of environment and a break in routine. I had earlier mentioned to a few of my friends how I felt so exhausted and restless, that I wouldn’t mind getting away from the city for a bit. Well, here it was. The chance. And with all the excitement, I packed up every travel essential I could remember to, came up with a ‘to-do’ list of my two-day itinerary and was all set. Needless to say, it was a worthy trip…that didn’t quite achieve what I initially had hoped it would, at least not in that way (haha).

 
While away, I finally began to understand the true meaning of rest – the most important kind of rest, not the vacation-getaway kind of rest. We did short devotions with my host in the evening(s) and as providence would have it, she read from Matthew 6:25-34 on the first day. In a world where our perpetual restlessness is perceived as more or less normal, we tend to assume that our lives are supposed to be a series of struggles to achieve “closure”. This closure, in worldly eyes, sets us to comparison, competition, worries, frustrations, envy, greed, lust…the list is quite lengthy. We subconsciously reset our minds to hitting deadlines, seeing quick results, gaining more and more materially, outdoing each other, making headlines, breaking records and basically just trying to hold it together when it all feels paper-house crumbly and brittle. “My heart is restless until it is satisfied at the end of this effort.” Vanity races.

 
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” (v31)

 
Unless you have a good book to read and are not in a hurry, Nairobi traffic jams are just an example of the few things that can be a test of patience especially when you are tardy for an appointment, meeting, work or interview. I am learning that there is a divine gift of rest even in such times, and it is learnt in stillness and trust. Trusting that God did intend for you to be there at that time, learning to calmly acknowledge that He is in charge of every detail of your life and that everything happening to you is courtesy of the hedge of His love. Back home, I was sharing this with a dear friend with regards to anxiety over decisions, constant bends-in-the-road, what-ifs …and we came to the conclusion that contentment is indeed satisfaction with God’s will, with what He has gifted us, resting quietly in His hands, trusting Him to take care of the rest.

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So while I did get to reflect, relax and regroup for a new week, I am grateful that this trip achieved much more for my weary and restless soul. I learnt that life will throw curve balls at me, sometimes problems will seem to have no answer, and fear will gain the upper hand. What should I do? Trust. Holding to the unchanging truth that God is good and absolutely faithful. It sure is amazing how clear things become when we are still before Him, not complaining, not insisting on quick answers, only seeking to hear His Word in the stillness, and to see things in His light. In our moments of weakness, may we cling to Psalm 56:3,

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.”

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