Last week, when we first finished the LBD.Project I knew I needed to rest, and not just the ignore the kids and sleep-in type of recovery, but by really embracing the true meaning of rest (see, I am already talking about it here). Resounding loud, clanging and gonging inside of me, it chanted “REST-REST-REST.”
I know that voice. I know the consequences of not listening to that voice.
But that doesn’t mean it is easy.
Choosing Between Urgent and Rest
There are always a bazillion things needed to wrap-up at the end of our annual LBD.Project (a 31-day challenge in one black item to bring freedom to modern slaves). Then, my website and blog are in need of some TLC after being ignored for so long, and a long-term volunteer consulting job I’m doing could really use some attention too. And obviously, the family still needs love, and plans for summer must be made . . . The list is long and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
In other words, busy compels, as it always does. Urgent demands like a sore thumb’s throb. But it MUST be set aside. Before I experienced burn-out after ten years of do-gooding, trying to prove my worth to humanity, missions, and God, changing my corners of the world like a champ . . . it is no surprise that recovery rest didn’t cut it.
Recovery Rest vs. True Rest
Many of us are misguided, believing rest is simply catching-up on sleep plus a binge weekend, or a frantic vacation. But “rest” with stress isn’t rest at all.
I learned the hard way that the only type of rest that heals is of a different variety.
I was introduced to the idea of true rest (not in terminology, but in practice) from 3DM, an organization helping and coaching everyday people to be leaders, world changers, and fully alive by replicating how Jesus coached his followers. The type of rest they talked about challenged my view of rest.
Author Mike Breen (founder of 3DM), in Building a Discipleship Culture, used the shape of a semicircle to illustrate rest. There was a pendulum right smack in the middle of the semicircle, bouncing back and forth between rest and work, replicating cycles of nature, like cultivating a garden, enjoying the growth, yet also pruning (later this concept was extrapolated in great detail to me by a horticulturalist in my Mentorship Circle to proving why this interplay between rest and work in nature is so vital–I’ll just leave this with, “heck, it is important”).
As we analyzed how this rest looked in my life, I realized I actually didn’t rest. At least, not in a way that actually gave me rest. I recovered. And then ditched-out before I truly rested. In fact, I didn’t even know what rest looked like to me. I didn’t know how to rest in a way that would make me whole physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, etc . . . What could?
Burn-out Requires Us to Halt
What I was missing was the connection between rest and what was going on inside of me.
It wasn’t until I was forced to give-up my too-crazy life in a whirlwind move accross the country (here) that I learned how to rest. You see, by then I knew I was probably burnt-out and by then I had started pursuing a new way of doing things (which eventually became this). When that move gave me a chance to restart, my good friends and mentors made me promise them I would take a year off to rest.
I had to pretty much fully halt everything to learn what true rest was. And it took me about a year to find it. (It was a long year.)
The True Meaning of Rest
So what did I learn?
True rest is rest that present. It is rest that is contentment despite the urgent. It is the assurance, “I am already enough.” It is the lack of strife and war in my soul to control, define, and stake claims.
Rest is, and always has been, peace.
(For example, here I am in the process of learning true rest in that season: What is a Homemaker? Transcendence.)
Although in the LBD.Project policy, we now have a scheduled six weeks of rest, I know the rest that I am being called to take isn’t as much “not working” as much as it is calling me to align myself with the source of life and peace, while removing what makes me strive and feel anxious. It is a call to stop wrestling and push forward on so many planes, just being and be good with being and hearing who I am.
I stole this from one of my favorite authors, @josaxton because there are no words to better describe this: Rest is peace
The True Meaning of Peace
Rest goes beyond recovery, catching up on sleep and movies. Rest is getting back to stable position, knowing who we are and where we are going without conflict or strife in our souls. The true meaning of peace is resting from the mental, emotional, spiritual war inside of us. And that is rest.
Rest is peace. And without aligning ourselves with this peace, we burn-out.
Do you need to practice the art of rest too?
If you’ve burnt-out on doing good and world-changing, you aren’t alone.