Rest, Hebrews, and the Power of Cookies

My nest is my sanctuary. When you start pulling out the twigs of my walls, my “bird brain” gets addled. We are remodeling, and I’ve discovered that remodeling affects my ability to rest. On top of this, IF I’ve managed to get good REM sleep going, my dream state is also being shattered by thoughts of a pending wedding, a grandchild birth, and writing deadlines. My hazy nighttime thinking swerves back and forth between floor tile choices, paint, birth hazards, and wedding issues. I hold lively imaginary discussions with various children, contractors, and my husband. Eventually, around 3 am after all this dies down, my thoughts settle onto my shame—my detestable hoarding habits.

Questions come and hover around my pillow like bats in a belfry. This has an opposite affect compared to those cool sleep moths I’ve seen in insomnia medicine commercials.

Here are some of my Big Unsolvable questions.

Why are all these temporary issues keeping me awake?

What is wrong with my ability to switch off my thoughts?

What causes me to keep endless pipe cleaners, vases, books, and …?

Here are my more Solvable questions.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to avoid all my stuff (the stuff that has to come off the shelves to paint the walls) and instead simply hire perfect strangers to haul it all away? In my small gossipy hometown, do I know any strangers who are “perfect” like this, both mute AND able to haul away an embarrassing amount of stuff?

When it comes to painting the wall, wouldn’t it just be easier to paint everything a non-nondescript beige so that the future buyer of this gargantuan house can be swayed more quickly into purchasing a home painted “boring beige” than a monstrosity painted with accent walls of “river rouge”—the color I am eager to try? Being of a certain age and having given up a lot to get here, I feel entitled to “river rouge.” I WANT YOLO painted walls!

WOULDN’T IT JUST BE EASIER TO ……

As you can tell, RESTING is hard work for me.

There are many questions to be answered first before I can rest. The right environment, activity, paint color, and timing all play a major role in whether I can “rest” or not. For me, doing things in an easy, simple, and planned manner gives me a greater chance of finding rest.

But should this be true? As a Christian, a Christ follower,” is my only option for “rest” established by my ability to live “easier?”

Is there another way?

My formula for rest must be missing something and I need to know what I’m leaving out, because life is often much harder than deadlines, tile color choices, and wedding details. Life can be painful, unscripted, and complicated!

The current stack of my less devastating life events resembles the children’s story, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.” Read it. You’ll understand. The mouse wants a cookie but then needs milk to go with it, and then …and then…..and then…. There is no end in sight. Given my mouse-cookie life, according to my current “rest” formula, it is logical either for me to conclude that I must literally die, or at the minimum become exhausted, cranky, and unhappy because of my lack of “rest.”

Those are not good options. I need to go back to God for answers. If God designed men to need “rest,” then He must know best what to do with my mess! With Christ as my example, I must recognize that He rested despite stressful events, and His death did not happen because he could not rest.

Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 have a lot to say about REST.

In chapter 3:8-19 it seems to imply that I will not rest if I am unwilling LISTEN to God and adhere to and trust in and rely on Him. Unbelief in God’s ability shuts me out of God’s “rest.” Anyone who refuses to be compliant and persuaded by God will find himself in this predicament. Hardness of heart keeps men from God’s “rest.”

In chapter 4 verse 2, the Hebrews writer seems to be re-stating this idea.

 If, on the one hand, I have the ‘good news” of freedom from bondage and deliverance from sin, but I don’t apply this “good news” message by leaning my whole personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness in my life, then I will not “rest.”

Primarily the words “entering God’s rest” seem to speak of heaven, that future perfect existence after death where there is no damage from sin. However, the passage also gives earthly examples of rest by recounting the negative event of the Israelites who exasperated God in their lack of faith, and consequently they did not enter the promised land of “rest.”

In addition, Hebrews 4 verse 4 tells about the “rest” taken by God on the 7th day in relation to His creation schedule.

In summary, these verses seem to say that “rest,” both literal and heavenly, comes as a reward for those who listen to, believe in, and trust God. The verses also imply that those who maintain hard sinful hearts and rely on their own ability will not have true “rest.’

Obviously if faith and trust are required to cope with a situation in the first place, then I cannot count on “calm” to be my condition for “rest.” Perhaps “rest” comes to the person who obeys and gets calmer by trusting entirely in God even IN THE MIDST OF THE STRESSFUL SITUATION!

That’s typical Bible stuff. Actions of faith go first, and then the result—“rest” comes.

Hmmmmm….

Food for thought.

NOW I might need a cookie!

 

Note: to the people who are going through really devastating conditions—these verses should work for you too. You are the champions of faith! I am only a pitiful whiner.

Thankfully, as long as there is obedience and faith, God can shape good out of any material!

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