Making Room for Joy

And as I’ve shared about rest for the last six weeks or so, the theme of space keeps coming up. If we don’t have space it’s hard to rest, and if we don’t rest it’s hard to find joy.

Like so many things, it’s interconnected. And that’s what I wrote about last week (subject line is “Can I get some space?” if you want to search and find it in your inbox!)

Space might feel like a luxury to a lot of us. Maybe your house is full of people or things, maybe your physical surroundings are just very small or hard to manage. Or maybe you have a cluttered mind and it seems like a pipe dream that it would ever be empty enough for you to truly rest.

That can feel overwhelming. It can feel like rest is for other people who, depending on your personal poison when it comes to lying to yourself, either deserve it, are closer to God, have easier lives than you, or are just better at this whole being a Christian thing.

I call shenanigans on all those lies. You need rest too, and all those “other people” are only real in your head.

Getting it figured out how to rest is not a luxury. It’s not optional. If you want to be a Christian that can stand in the storm you have to know how to not just emulate Jesus on the cross and Jesus feeding the 5000, but Jesus asleep on the boat in the storm.

Real rest is a product of trust. If God is who he says he is, you can rest. Everything will be taken care of. But if God is not who he says he is, you best get to work. You’ve got no one to rely on but yourself.

Kind of puts it in perspective, doesn’t it? How often do we profess our trust with our mouths and then profess our distrust with our actions? It’s a line we have to find: obviously we can’t just sit on our couches at home and never do anything, saying that we just trust God to care for us. But somewhere between that and working like the future of the human race is our personal responsibility there is a happy medium of effort and trust. 

So how do we square this: space is a struggle and rest isn’t happening. But it needs to and we’re already overwhelmed just trying to make it happen. How are we supposed to get that organized? 

I’m going to tell you a secret: The “space” you need to rest isn’t *necessarily* physical, and it doesn’t have to be expansive. You might need to start small. You might need to clear out one evening first, clear off one chair to sit on with your Bible. 

Think of it like exercise, or any “lifestyle change.” It’s not instant, it’s not total from day 1. Starting small and growing is a great way to start pushing the snowball down the hill, only to find in six months it’s grown into a big beautiful thing it’s hard to imagine now. 

I can’t tell you exactly what rest needs to look like in your life. It probably doesn’t look the same as mine. But it is something that you and God discover together and that is part of what makes it a beautiful process. 

But, if we don’t feel like the process is even a necessary thing, if we don’t make that first little bit of space, it’s never going to happen. We are never going to go to the places we could with God if we never let him teach us this lesson.

So moral of the story I guess: do what you can to make space, but then commit to a rest regardless. Fence in a little place for rest and protect it. 

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