There’s so much value that accompanies fresh air and isolation from the happenings of the world. We’re not supposed to go hide ourselves from everyone on a mountain for forever, but sometimes it can be nice for a little while. Even Jesus got away some days to spend alone in the wilderness.
Last week, my family and I piled into my aunt and uncle’s boat to go find this obscure little hidden lake that’s connected by a small river and a really small channel to a bunch of other bodies of water. It took us over an hour to get there, and it was so quiet. The water had that patterned look on it that comes with a little bit of wind and absolutely no movement around. There were mountains all around us, dragon flies hovering near the boat, and a soft assurance of a peaceful afternoon as we pulled out all the makings of our packed lunches. Here is the kind of peace I had been hoping for. This silence, this rest.
After we’d been there not 5 minutes, a 20-something year old guy came roaring around us on a wave runner, and to paint the oddity of this a little better for you, we were very much away from the entry point into that little lake, tucked back into a little corner of the lake that was near enough to the shore to be very much out of the way. But this man came circling all around us, his ride chopping through the water, the engine of the machine running loudly in the silence, the water’s cool, even ripples interrupted by the wake he so intrusively brought to this little corner. And I realized that this sound wouldn’t have even bothered me if we’d been back at the house. There is something different about being in calm and experiencing unwelcome chaos and being in chaos and just having more of it. When we are intentional about rest and removing ourselves from the craziness, when we are intentional about space and breathing and living well balanced lives, we are more aware of what should and shouldn’t be present. Intentionality in our rest creates awareness in chaos.
And especially now, amid all the craziness and chaos, it can be tempting to overflow our systems with the news and information we think we always need to be on top of, when in fact, there has actually never been a time in which we have been asked to overwhelm ourselves with the negative to the point of exhaustion and breakdown. Yes, be informed, please, that’s important, but do not destroy your emotional and physical stability in the process.
Whether or not we like to admit it, we are fragile. The strongest of us cry in the car, get tense shoulders, and feel heaviness. None of us are immune to the overbearing, doom-shouting, fear-mongering character of the world we live in. Our human hearts do not have the capacity for handling so much, which is why rest and stepping back is so unequivocally critical.
Our ability to engage healthily with the often-tragic nature of this world is directly correlated to our depth of engagement and relationship to the One Who died for all this tragedy and suffering.
“God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.” (C.S. Lewis)
Where we step back and rest and allow ourselves to be in the silence, residing in Peace Himself, we are able to notice the interruptions, the fear-invoking patterns of the world we live in. And instead of succumbing to the anxious ways of everywhere and everyone around us, we will be stepping in Heaven mindset and Eternal timeframes. Fear is not your defining thing—fear is not your end all be all, and it is certainly not where we are called to rest.
Rest is imperative to our ability to live fully and well. There is no thriving without breathing in calmness and confidence and Peace. We are designed for Rest, and as such, without it, our wires get crossed and it becomes much easier to push exhaustion. Where Rest is a priority, striving and over doing it is not an easy thing to come by. But when Rest is pushed by the wayside, we are left unarmed against the subduing powers of a restless life—a life that is always filled with fear, uncertainty, and confusion.
So take time to sit and Rest well. Drive to the mountains or the beach or somewhere that you love, and sit for awhile in the goodness of nature and what is unchaotic. And then, when you move back into the place of being bombarded with bad news and the unceasing fears of society, you will be able to recognize the chaos, Rest in the unknown in a God Who knows you, and not be consumed by the nature of our restless world but be transformed and seated back into Peace like none other.
Rest easy dear, the many fears of this world are not yours to carry.