In March, I had a crazy idea.
Let me give up business contracts for Lent. Rational? Irrational? I still don’t know…but in my busy season, when I needed income the most (two kids birthdays, an anniversary and more) I took 40 days off because I needed rest.
I’ve talked about soul rest and what that does for me as a human wandering this planet. And I needed those 40 days. Just me & rest & family & Jesus. It was way less dramatic or spiritual than some might think, but it lead me to a place of study and reflection and this little blog came out of it.
Each time I do something outside of my comfort box a strange thing tends to happen. I feel better.
I know, I know…you guys are thinking “Sleep some more Lisa. This blog wouldn’t even need to be written…” But it’s not physical rest so much as it is emotional, physiological, and spiritual. It takes a second for me to come off the high of ‘busy’.
When I allow myself to just be, there is an incredible realization of everything going on around me.
The smells. The sites. The noise. The quiet.
It’s contrasted in such a way that I can actually consume it entirely and reflect on it’s impact in those moments. And in my rest period during Lent, I studied the life of Christ as he headed toward Resurrection Day. Seemed timely enough.
The world tells us that following Jesus is a grim pursuit of dying to ourselves. While most suggestions of this nature are subconscious, it’s the giving up of the ‘high of busyness’ that is our ultimate bane. Stop the presses! Who does that anymore?
People usually think there is something wrong with you when you do.
As a Christian, I am asked to take up my cross daily, so how do I intentionally get over the hump of life happening in the midst of doing that? Or is all of ‘that’ the cross carrying part?
For me, this journey makes me crave that final destination. The one where we grab at victory, grace, and love and know the outcomes that lay before us. The guarantee.
I think where I haven’t been good at resting is that the end goal has become this ultimate mission and I don’t think that is what was intended when we’re asked to “carry our cross daily.” So I exhaust myself in the goal setting (daily check lists, to-dos, need to get done, over scheduling,contacts, and so on…busyness) and then am too tired for the cross carrying part. I don’t got time for that.
Had Jesus’ journey to the cross been easy, it wouldn’t have merited the same victory associated with it. If he just got up there and did it without the story behind it, it would lack continuity.
When Jesus struggled on that walk, he didn’t deny the reality or magnitude of the moment. That walk to the destination: It was heavy. So heavy in fact that someone else had to help Jesus with the cross so that he could ‘rest’ and make it.
Get where I’m headed with this?
An offer of liberation is where we stand as we start that road to the hill. Oddly enough, choosing rest for me is the harder path because it requires a denial of my conditioning for myself. The ‘I can do it on my own’ thing.
Taking Lent was good. It was an experience in itself to be okay with needing something outside of the busyness. Because the commitments start to become like little soldiers that do their job diligently. They keep me movin’ and groovin’ down this idea that I’ve got it handled.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the Lord very patiently waits for us to clear all the clutter so we can sit in His presence and realize, “I don’t got this on my own.” Not as in a self-depricating way, but as a freedom to release the hold things, even good things can have on our daily lives.
It is in that whitespace that our identity becomes clearer and the journey, while hard at time, seems to become more resolute than meandering. When I don’t allow for Lent-type rest markers in my everyday life, my purpose flails like a kite being pushed about by the waves of wind changing it’s mind.
Go back to Jesus’ time.
When (death) had done what it could do, the Lord claimed it as His trump card. Nullifying the terms of the contract indefinitely through the Son’s revisionary clause.
We are offered that clause daily. We know it’s there, but we have to do more than reference it during Easter season and actually act on it daily.
The cross and the pursuit of what all that means. While grace and love are tired up in the story, there is that element we seldom talk about and it’s what that cross wearing journey looks like amidst the crowds vying for a piece of us.
Mine looks something like this: “Saying no. Whitespace. Loving. Bravery. Speaking. Contentment. Priorities. Hearing. Feeling. Doing.”
Yours might look differently. In fact, you might need to say yes more.
The outcome of struggle on that road we walk is what produces brokenness and tears. Scripture tells us that The Lord collects ever one of our tears and then, He waters the seed He’s planted with those tears. We are not buried.
You’ve only just reached the jumping off point of the destination.
Roots dig deep and what blossoms seeks light and warmth and fruitfulness. Renewal. New Life.
The busyness in projects and commitments tied up that space I had needed to spring up and out. As we come off a celebratory weekend, I can exhale and am thankful for the rest.
Even though I didn’t know what I’d find at the end of my Lent-days, I now know why I cancelled my business contracts for Lent.
This, all of this. Renewed and ready to reengage.
Are you ready?