We have this phenomenon happening in our house right now.
Many nights a guest shows up. Under a pitch black canopy and whir of the fan, the guest appears. One night I even felt fingers crawling up my arm. I jolted out of my sleep to see my daughter, nose to nose with me, looking for a place to lay her head.
Most nights she comes alone; sometimes she brings her brother along, too. But every night, whoever shows wants the same thing. That coveted spot in the bed between Mom and Dad.
Now I know many parenting books would scorn me and tell me to take the child back to bed. I’m not winning any mom-of-the-year awards here. Nor am I encouraging you to mimic my actions. But I can’t help but notice . . . when we pull our kids up and place them between us, the cries that accompanied them into the room cease. Immediately.
I think they’re on to something.
Our days are filled. Like the hovering-at-the-rim-of-the-glass kind of filled and one tiny bump will dump all our stuff overboard.
We grind out every day then meet the mattress late into the night, squeeze our eyes shut and hope we somehow wake refreshed and ready for another day. But really there’s no rest. Though our bodies posture horizontally for a short while, our souls still fret within us, restless.
My kids found their answer between Mom and Dad. No matter what concern stirred their soul in the dark, the presence of their earthly parents soothed it. Jesus says,
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
WHAT IF WE ARRANGED OUR LIVES IN A WAY THAT ENSURED REST FOR OUR SOULS?
Instead of scheduling six hours a night (on a good day) for physical rest, we scheduled every day to purposefully seek spiritual and mental rest?
It will take practice and self-discipline, but I believe it really is possible. The next time your thoughts begin to swirl and you find yourself frantic, stop and consider. Where is your focus?
WHEN WE FIX OUR EYES ON THE FUTURE, IT ALTERS OUR ACTIONS IN THE PRESENT.
Where we fix our eyes will either distract us or direct us. If you’re like me, I fix my gaze not only on the task at hand, but also on the consequences that come with it. I run past the task and focus on the probable outcome of all that will go wrong if the task at hand does not go exactly right.
. . . let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)
When we fix our eyes on the future, it alters our actions in the present. But when we fix our eyes on Jesus, we are free to approach each day with confidence and rest in what Christ did for us on the cross.
And that, my friend, is the best rest ever.