I've spent the last two weeks in a walking cast for a probable stress fracture in my foot. I'm supposed to be resting. The problem? I haven't practiced resting and I feel ill-equipped to do it well.
The weather in Newberg this past week has been incredible. 70 degrees and sunny with no rain on the horizon - very atypical for springtime in Oregon. Every fiber in my being wants to be outside pounding the pavement and soaking in the springtime sunshine. It's been challenging to keep my commitment to have an attitude of gratitude.
One particularly nice day last week, I brought a cup of coffee and my Bible into my backyard. I intended to spend a lengthy time reading, studying, praying, and resting. But I got distracted. The grass needed to be mowed. Weeds pulled. Dog poop scooped. The sun reflected on my dirty kitchen floor and I added "sweep and mop" to my mental To Do list. It didn't take long for me to abandon my plan to "rest" in the backyard.
Connecting with Jesus needed to happen in a quiet, isolated space that didn't involve distractions. I got in the car and started driving into the mountains that hem in Newberg. I stumbled upon a beautiful mountain meadow with views of snow capped mountain peaks on one side and views of the valley floor on the other. It was perfect.
I spent the entire afternoon in that meadow. I limped around shooting photos. When my creativity waned, I parked myself on a blanket underneath a blossoming tree. It was so peaceful and untouched from the busyness of life. From my perch on my blanket, I practiced resting.
Things I typically miss because I move at lightening speed came into crisp focus.
Bees buzzed and swarmed the blossoms of the tree.
A hummingbird flew right past my feet and into the tree above me. I watched, through the eye of my telephoto lens, as it rested on a tree branch and then began drinking from the blossoms.
|even the hummingbirds rest|
The sky became bluer as the afternoon grew longer.
The distractions of my day melted away and I found myself in the same place of mental clarity and openness that I feel when I'm running. I opened my Bible and was finally able to concentrate on what I was reading in the gospel of Mark.
One of the stories I read in Mark six really impacted my day. Jesus sent out his disciples to do ministry. They "went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them." When they came back to report to Jesus how things had gone, they were exhausted and in need of rest. But Jesus was surrounded by crowds and crowds of needy people. Rest did not look plausible or even accessible any time soon.
Jesus is always full of surprises. He doesn't tell his disciples to jump in and get to work. Instead, Jesus wisely looks at his weary followers and says, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
|my quiet place of rest|
In the middle of the chaos Jesus reaches his out his hand and says, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." From one who is learning the hard way, won't you take his hand and let him lead you to a place of rest?