Bungee Cords, Dust, and the Gift of Rest
Slow down, God is speaking.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
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Image: Artificial Photography/Unsplash
I'm in Goodwill looking for some bungee cords. You see, I'm making plans to get married this fall. My lease is up at my current place and I need a temporary place to stay. So I'm moving in with a buddy from church until the wedding day. And I need some bungee cords to secure the furniture I'm moving with another buddy's pickup truck.
I'm supposed to be looking for bungee cords and there are a zillion other little wedding-related details vying for my attention like day traders at the NYSE. Still, I take some time to wander the aisles a little.
In the DVD section I hit the jackpot, finding The Princess Bride and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. After that, I make my way to the menswear section. I've been in dire need of some new work pants to make room for my expanding waistline. My slowing metabolism, gravity, and a desk job have all conspired to make me a little softer in the middle. So I try on several pairs of pants and find four that fit.
There's something relaxing about taking time to browse. It feels almost like stepping out of time for a few minutes. It stills my mind and reminds me that the world isn't dependant on my ability to juggle the details of my frantic life.
My fiancée and I have been finding these moments of stillness together too. A Friday afternoon minor league baseball game here. A few episodes of The Office there. A trip to the pool here. A quiet conversation on her porch with mugs of coffee there. We're both working hard to prepare for a life commitment and the biggest party either of us has ever thrown. Without these still moments, it would be easy to lose sight of each other. And it would be easy to lose sight of the God who loves us and forms the third and central cord of our relationship.
God built the idea of stillness and rest into the very framework of his creation. He didn't rest on the seventh day because he was tired. He rested to give us an example. He knew that our tendency would be to pack every last moment with activity. He knew that we would be tempted to partition our days more and more until our lives are reduced to Instagram photos and tweetable moments. He knew that this would leave us exhausted and spent.
Psalm 103:13-14 says, "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust" (ESV). In relation to God, we are as fragile and frail as the thin layer of dust that settles on a thrift-store coffee mug. We need to be reminded of that from time to time. More importantly, we need to learn to embrace his gifts of rest.
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