resisting rest

Some nights I simply won’t go to bed. I will sit and stare at the television (how bad do I really need to know about the history of the soybean industry at 12:45 am?), play computer solitaire (whoopee–I have a 17% winning percentage), or read the latest political news articles and National Geographic (both covering the behavior of primitive lifeforms). These things are not inherently wrong, and the value of these activities isn’t really my point. The problem is that I resist resting–I stubbornly refuse to go horizontal. I’m not talking about insomnia here, but an disdain for stopping.

The impact of this rest-resistance is multifaceted: I am tired at work, I lack the concentration I need to read and study, I begin to overdose on Brian’s excellent coffee selections, I overlook important details in my relationships (aka, “the little things”), and I become emotionally spent. If I could complicate this further, then I would; but the answer is simple: I need to submit to the biblical principle of “sabbath” that I find in places like Jeremiah 6:16:

“Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

So I’ll go camping, and try and take a few steps on those ancient paths, hoping that the path will make it’s way into my apartment back in Franklin. Brian Alex and I are headed to a state park tomorrow to gather up our sanity on a primitive campsite somewhere in east Tennessee. I hate my aversion to sabbath, so I’ll take my spiritual neurosis to the woods, and force myself to observe and reconnect with the cycle of creation:

The dying of the leaves in preparation for winter.
The darkness and “rest” that overtakes the forest on a cold night.
The silence and glory of a sunrise pouring through the trees.
The flowing of a spring-fed creek over erosion-worn rocks.

Sabbath is more than a weekly event. It is a “path” God directs us to on a daily basis, and one that beckons us to enjoy it with our shoes off and our souls unfettered.

Suddenly I find that rest doesn’t sound so bad.

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