As a lover of great music and great lyrics, I often go through phases when I put a song on repeat for hours or even days to give my heart and mind a chance to soak them in. I’m sure you can relate.
Lately, that song has been Restless from Audrey Assad’s 2010 debut record The House You’re Building. I’ve loved this song for a long time but for some reason, I’ve needed it lately – her voice, the melody and musical climax, the simplicity and purity.
So I’m listening to this song over and over the past few days and just a moment ago, sitting in Starbucks, weary of the weekend, thinking of the week ahead, trying to compartmentalize the static and spaghetti in my head, sleepily journaling a few thoughts, the words finally penetrated my psyche.
I am restless, I’m restless ’til I rest in You.
It literally startled me and I started laughing. In my little corner of the coffee shop, I started laughing and thinking duh! (I often wonder what God thinks of me when I’m slow on the uptake. When it takes a while for the lightbulb to go off. Maybe He chuckles good-naturedly with me.)
For crying out loud, I led music at my church yesterday, calling the congregation to sing from a place of heartfelt thankfulness for all God does in our life. I taught young people twice this weekend, all the while praying that somehow the words from my mouth would inspire these tender, bright, and impressionable minds to live lives dedicated to Jesus.
But my soul has been restless for awhile and I haven’t been paying attention to what I’ve truly needed. In the hustle of life, it’s not hard to do.
I’m restless because I don’t have my ducks in a row and it frustrates me. I’m restless because all the menial tasks that wait to be completed annoy me and the great temptation of procrastination nips at my heels like an impatient puppy. I’m restless because I continually ask things of myself and I continually let myself down. I’m restless because I know I can do better but sometimes I simply don’t want to because it’s hard work and I just want to make noodles, crawl into bed, and watch Netflix. True. Story.
I’ve always defined restlessness like being a kid wearing a pair of shoes that are slightly too small but you can’t take them off until you get home.
In the book of Matthew Jesus gives an invitation that is so sweet and loving and completely generous.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV.
Your body doesn’t necessarily have to be tired for you to be weary. Life takes a lot of brain space and heart power, leaving your soul weighed down and weary. A power nap can’t fix this kind of fatigue. Only Jesus can.
In my imagination, this invitation is like Jesus inviting us to come to home and kick off those uncomfortable shoes and trading them for a pair of warm, fuzzy slippers. And then wrapping up in a soft blanket, sitting at His feet, and having a good long talk. With a big mug of something lovely and hot.
It’s like the warm cozy of fragrant candle at the end of a long day.
Like the exhilaration of a fresh, clear morning.
Like the release that comes from long held tears.
Like the bliss of a much needed hug.
A craving satisfied.
A mind at ease.
A tension broken.
Only Jesus can do this. Nothing else satisfies so deeply.
Life doesn’t slow down for us. And at the same time, it’s meant to be lived at the fullest – chaos and minutiae and all . But a life lived well and full requires a soul that is at rest in Jesus. Otherwise we become weary in the hustle and debilitated in the face of uncertainty.
I don’t know what this week holds for you. But I invite you to rest in the One who’s burden is light. Jesus will gladly do the heavy lifting of your heart and soul.