Friday, November 20, 2009

The World Aches...

by Susan

"...the world aches for the generosity of a well rested people."

I bustled into Terry's office on Tuesday morning, looking as busy as I could.

"Can I use your fax machine?" I asked as I stood at her door. She looked up surprised and then smiled a welcome. She seemed calm and relaxed, even though she'd been hard at work.

I was anything but calm. I had just missed a doctor appointment through no fault of my own, and it was, thankfully, rescheduled for later that morning. I was happy to get the appointment, and yet, my week had been planned out, oh-so-carefully, making every attempt to fit all the important things in. All the things that could not wait. Even as I stood in Terry's office, my plan sat all laid out in my day-timer, each appointment and meeting for the week dove-tailed perfectly into time set aside for decent preparation and responsible followup. If I was really careful to stick to the plan, I would be even able to show up at the meeting of managers on Friday with all my homework done and thereby avoid my usual embarrassment. But this sudden turn of events blew all that out of the water. I was flustered and blustered and stressed and didn't know how to recover. It was a disaster. In my mind, anyway. I guess it showed.

"You don't have to do this you know..." I looked at Terry like she had two heads. And a tail! She went on to suggest that maybe I should take a good hard look at my life and decide if what I was doing was really worth it.

Wow. I didn't know that's what I looked like to people. Terry didn't hit the nail quite on the head, but I really appreciated her candour. She said the words I needed to hear that would really make me stop and think. As I drove away from her office and toward my second doctor appointment that morning, I did think - long and hard.

I realized that I appeared to Terry to be stressed out of my mind. I didn't look like I enjoyed my job at all. In fact it looked to her like it was killing me! And perhaps it was. I was glad to have the time to examine my heart and think through Terry's words..

As I began to process the things she said, I realized that there was something in me that needed to look "busy" to others in order to justify my existence. ("Busy" is an understatement.) Yuck. I thought about how serene Terry had appeared at her desk and how it made me feel calmer myself somehow. Her peace had ministered to my heart.

But what about me? I was far to "stressed" and what I had to do was way too "important" to be there in the same way for Terry. What she got from me was someone too busy, too flustered, and too stressed, to have time for her. Or to be happy at all... Double yuck.

Tonight at cell group, after a delicious dinner of pot roast and Yorkshire pudding, we cracked open the new book we are studying called, "Sabbath - Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest" by Wayne Muller. It was the first words of this post that struck the deepest chord tonight...

"The human spirit is naturally generous. The instant we are filled, our first impulse is to be useful, to be kind, to give something away... Once people feel nourished and refreshed, they cannot help but be kind; just so, the world aches for the generosity of a well rested people."

The world aches for the generosity of a well rested people. Aches.

Yes, I can identify with that. I've done my own share of aching.

I don't want to sail through life on stormy seas - full of myself, my problems, my worries, my issues, my reasons for being stressed. I want to be that ship of mercy that others are waiting to have sail into their lives. People are aching for my generosity - for the genersosity of spirit which comes only from sitting quietly and resting in him.

I've never thought of it like that before. That rest is not just for me, but for all of the hungry who God allows to cross my path.

"...the world aches for the generosity of a well rested people."

Even so, Lord Jesus, let me learn how to rest in you.


Dawn said...

Thanks for your words - I know that I needed to hear them.

Marilyn said...

Excellent insight. Thanks so much. I mentioned on my blog today that 3 people contacted me this week to talk about how overwhelmed they feel. I think this truth you've shared hits pretty close to home for all concerned.

Love the quote you pulled out!

Belinda said...

Susan, I came to this post late in the day, but oh, it was worth waiting for!

I think we practiced some of what we are learning at cell group today.

Although it could have been a frenzied meeting (and started out that way as everyone rushed in all under pressure) I felt the peace of God descend upon us all by an hour into the day.

I think that God smiled on us today as we sat in little groups, being human with one another, caring about more than just the task; caring about each other, laughing together; and getting the job done too. It all felt so good.

Olson Family said...

Oh! Well written insight. Profound quote. I'm reading this first thing in my day and feeling inspired to go throughout my oncoming hours "well rested" in spirit.

Thank you for sharing!

Joanna Mallory said...

What an interesting quote. I hadn't thought of it this way before, Susan, but it makes so much sense. Like the airlines telling you to put your own oxygen mask on before helping the person beside you... not to be selfish, but to be equipped.

Praying for rest for all our spirits, for filling and then for sharing!