Rest

If you’re reading this, then give yourself a break.

Heaven knows there are days when I need it.

I need a moment’s respite from the internal pressure I feel from not having completed the book I’ve been working on for a year and a half. Part of that is because the book explores things I believe, and there have been times since its inception that I wasn’t sure what I believed. I was ready to depart in a moment’s notice from some of the central tenets of my heart. I haven’t been able to write because I myself am being written, but there are so many times where I look over that story and am convinced that so much of my life is not a work in progress but a rotten first draft that doesn’t deserve anything except deletion.

I’m disappointed that I haven’t made more progress. I’m worried of what people will think if I’m unable to finish. And I wonder how my (hopeful) re-entry into school will limit the time I have to write.

And then there’s school. What if I go for the wrong reasons? I don’t want to be someone who pursues a degree just to make more money; is that why I’m considering it? What if, halfway through the program, I realize this isn’t where I’m supposed to be at all? What happens then?

I’ve been a Christian for most of my life, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt God’s presence or the subsequent joy that comes from knowing He’s near. Some people see their faith as a rock upon which they can stand in stormy times. Mine feels more like a tightrope. I walk it, but my legs are badly shaking.

Even this post invokes a little bit of anxiety. It’s not easy being seen as weak, and yet a good number of my friends (and a bunch of people I don’t know at all) will be reading. What will they think when I take off the mask and admit that there are days when I’m not sure of myself at all?

All I can say is … I need rest.

I need a break.

I need a moment’s peace from evaluating myself and then re-evaluating my evaluation. I need a clear mind and a quiet heart. (A hot cup of coffee would do wonders, too.)

All I want, all I hope for at this present time, is just the chance to trust Jesus when he said that all who come to him will never, ever, be cast out. Let that be my anchor, my one thought that drowns out the rest.

Succeed or fail, just let me be reminded that I’m loved and that nothing changes that.

I’m Christ’s, and no force on earth can alter that.

I’m accepted for who I am, in spite of what I’ve done and regardless of what I will do, and for that, just give me a few minutes in the day to be thankful and to stop trying so damn hard to earn what I’ve already got.

That’s what I want for today.

And it’s what I hope you’ve already found.

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One thought on “Rest

  1. Fr. Anastasios Hudson February 14, 2012 / 10:41 am

    Your post makes me think about Orthodox monasticism. Unlike many Western forms of monasticism (i.e. religious orders) which have various apostolates/ministries, Orthodox monasticism by default is just a local group of people living together for a common purpose, holding all things in common, and not dedicated to any specific ministry other than living a life of prayer.

    In this context, some monasteries specifically focus on a type of prayer method called hesychasm, which is the Greek word for stillness. Saying the Jesus prayer repeatedly (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me, a Sinner”) with slow breathing, etc., they force out all external stimulae and attain a state of spiritual rest and quietness. Obviously this has to be practiced and maintained, and it’s not easy (certainly not passive!), but it shows that being active/busy all the time as many Christians think they have to be is not what leads to spiritual peace inside. Sure, we need to follow Christ’s will and do what He calls us to do in our lives, but prayer and a quiet time are essential to feeding our soul, and many Churches don’t focus on this enough.

    Since you’re not a monk, I am happy to report that laypeople also practice the Jesus prayer, on a smaller scale. So the rest you seek is attainable.

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