“What is it you want Jesus to do for you?” As I read the next chapter in Shelly Miller’s Rhythms of Rest this question haunted me. And then the tears came. Because she gently suggested that, if you don’t know – you have no hopes or dreams – what does that reflect about your faith?
“If faith is being sure of what we hope for, then being unsure of what we hope for is the antithesis of faith, isn’t it? Well-developed faith results in well-defined prayers, and well-defined prayers result in a well-lived life.” Mark Batterson
Shelly quotes Batterson then goes on to say, “A lack of intentionality when it comes to how we rest leads to a depleted life defined by what the world dictates.” Have you ever considered that “wasting time” could be the most productive thing you do? That trusting God and choosing rest could be a bold act of faith? What?!
I don’t know if that idea seems revolutionary to you or not. But, as I sat there with tears slipping down my cheeks, I was suddenly back in a place where I’d lost my rest, a time where this was quoted often: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” On the face of it, there’s certainly truth here. But, the way I internalized it – and I believe the way it was often implied – was that there’s a distinction between what we do for ourselves and what we do for Christ. And anything done for ourselves is a waste of time.
While there could be some truth to that, the stumbling comes when I miss this greater truth: God designed me for Himself and intends everything in my life to be an act of worship. I’m never, ever doing anything for Christ that He can’t do for Himself, so perhaps the value lies in welcoming Him into all I do, even the rest, even the fun, even the play. Perhaps it’s another dimension of Romans 8:28, God working *all the things* together for good, for His glory, and the good of His beloved.
I think about the settings of all the stories I read or watched on my first “wellness day” of the year of cultivating quiet: Noah, David, Solomon, and John in my Bible reading; characters in movies, one set in Wall Street, Long Island, and Paris, and another in the Old West circa late 1800s; as well as the characters in a novel set in the first century AD; and Facebook and email updates. And, the ONE constant thread in all of them is God and the rhythm of the 24-hour days He sends to each of us.
How arrogant to think 21st century productivity is the only standard by which to measure a life’s value!
If that’s the standard, then all those who lived before our time and without the technology that allows us to move at a faster pace somehow lived lives that fell short of God’s mark for the 21st century. It seems obvious – the heresy in that – but you have to slow down to see it and most of us either don’t or won’t.
God certainly pays attention to what happens in time – we see it in His amazingly precise answers to prayer – but His context is always bigger than time since He’s eternal.
So what does “wasting time” look like for me, right here in this moment? Today it’s another cup of French pressed coffee and at least one more chapter, even though I’ve already lingered longer than usual over my reading, prayer, and journaling. What does it look like for you? A nap? Sitting in the car listening to the end of the song? Five deep breaths before responding to the child crying in another room?
I realize it’s different for everyone, but really … what does it look like for you? Can you do it? Will you?