Isaiah 55: 1-2
“Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink—even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—it’s all free!
Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.
Rest- an intimate movement to receive.
It has been said that spiritual rest is a journey of awakening our hearts to fully receive…..it’s easy to talk about rest, it sounds so easy doesn’t it?
But in all honesty rest, true, deep, soulful rest doesn’t come easy for me. Sure I have had peaceful moments, yet I really haven’t held onto them long enough to make rest my soul’s everyday home.
David in the Psalms talks about his need for deep, soulful rest:
You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. (Psalm 51:6)
In my innermost being, in those hidden places inside, rest has eluded me…. because in truth I have always worked so hard to rest.
Yet God desires that in our innermost places we find rest in Him, but I find it scary, because I prefer safety over intimacy.
This morning God brought to mind a memory of my father, my birth father.
I didn’t know what to do-my birth dad, along with my siblings, were visiting. I knew they had come to see me but as my father and my aunt and uncle sat at the table enjoying steaming mugs of coffee and my siblings enjoying my aunts baking, I stood off to the side. Uncertain. Tentative. Hesitant. Cautious. Timid.
Do I go and enter into their conversation, becoming a part of their family? I could see the longing and the sadness in my father’s eyes as he watched his daughter from a distance…..his little girl whom he longed to hold and cherish…..but I didn’t know what to do….and so I remained at a distance, watching.
I knew my “adopted” family-my aunt and uncle whom I called mom and dad- were torn as well….they were raising me as their daughter and yet they knew that this man before me was my birth father….and so I stood there torn, undecided, unsure of what to do……do I please them or do I please my father…..do I do what I want to do…..instead I did what came natural to me…..I ran, I hid….shielding myself from disappointment and from pain.
The little girl within me at such a young age felt so conflicted…..what began then has continued into my adulthood. The conflict between what I want and what I ought to do has conflicted within my innermost being….the deep place where God says He desires truth….the hidden part where He desires to bring freedom.
In hiding, the little girl found her place of rest…..because the unknown was too frightening, the pain was too great, the fear too daunting and the emotions too overwhelming……trust became ever increasingly difficult for me….all those feelings locked inside my heart that day. And every time my father came to visit after that day I would find myself torn once again. And I didn’t realize until now that those feelings froze inside me that day.
Some of the stories I have viewed as childhood memories are actually still “live events” hidden behind the wall in my heart….the wall that I thought was gone but some of it still remains.
As I looked back at the memory this morning asking God what He desires to speak into my heart from it….I hear Him whisper “come”. Such a simple word….and yet…..
Too often instead of trusting God, allowing my brokenness to bring me to Him, a battle ensues and I find myself running away from the things that break me….not willing to look at the parts of my life that are not at rest…..my appeasing, my fear of speaking truth, my caring too much of what people think, my desires to please people, my fear of letting people wrestle with their own pain knowing I can’t make it better, not being good enough, not being enough period……and just like I did as a young girl I feel trapped at times.
What should I do? What will happen if I do one thing or the other? What will happen to my father, what will happen to me?
A part of me that day wanted to run and jump into my father’s arms, nestling into that place of safety with the man who desperately wanted to love his little girl, to wipe away the tears that glistened in his eyes as he watched me from a distance as he longed to be my daddy….but we both felt awkward that day, both of us uncertain of our places, we both had hearts breaking for the other and ourselves…..and so we remained at a distance, neither of us willing to step into that sacred space, both reacting from our wounds and adding fresh wounds to our already fragmented hearts…..
As I look back my mind goes to the “what if’s”…..what if neither of us cared about the world around us, what if neither of us cared about what was right or wrong but of relationship….what if we shook off the fear and embraced truth…. the “what if” lingers still….
I can’t go back, how I wish I could….how I wish my father had been a braver man, how I wish I hadn’t been a fearful child…..
But life doesn’t always turn out like the movies or a fairy tale does it….instead two people that day, one an adult and one a child, had their hearts split apart that day…..we both ran, it may have looked different for each of us, but we both ran….to our place of safety.
All this running is exhausting…..
Whenever I stop and face the silence I have to face the truth….I am suspicious of a restful life. My heart learned very early that it is safer to hide than to stay open long enough to receive…..divided between what I desire and what I fear.
If my aunt and uncle would have given me permission and freedom to fully receive from my father the heart of that little girl would not have been fragmented that day….but it didn’t turn out that way.
So where does that leave me today-it leads me to the place where God is inviting me to come, to stop my running, to allow Him to enfold me in His arms, to find soul rest~ that intimate place of rest where I’ve ever dared to believe is possible…..a place of comfort…..abundance……delight……of truth……
Do you find it hard to rest? To receive? When do you find your soul at rest?