Conversations on rest

Sara Bailes Photography, 2015

Sara Bailes Photography, 2015

part 1

“The deepest form of rest,” he said, “is when you’re not trying to prove anything.”

Then he dropped the mic and walked away from the stage like a bawse.

Kidding. It was a coffee shop in Knoxville. I had a migraine and was wearing chewed-up chacos. I was ready to take another blow of conviction because that had been my day: life-lessons. He'd only quoted a one-liner from a sermon he’d heard that morning. And I don’t even know if this person meant to cause my soul to turn over the words, “trying to prove anything.”

That’s fine.

So, I ordered my coffee and sat down and doodled. Of all of the things that I’d closed my ears to over the last three-ish months, rest was a concept that I’d shut down and stainless-steel muzzled. But even still I heard the piercing words whispered:

“Baby, slow down.”

“Calm down.”

“Sweetheart, I want you to take your time.”

“Dare to find your strength in me.”

“Beloved, you are enough.”

“You are not too much.”

It finally occurred to me that none of these pleas to rest had anything to do with reading for fun, painting, or hiking, but everything to do with all the things I was trying to prove and didn’t need to.

These are the things I was trying to prove:

That I am nice.
That I am artistic.
That I am not a waste of time.
That I am a good friend.
That I can be on time.
That I am intelligent.
That I am strong.
That I am a people person.
That I am resilient.
That I am spiritual.
That I am tough.
That I am free.
That I am a decent-ish musician.
That I am healed.
That I am real.
That I am hospitable.
That I am a good listener.
That I am atmospheric.
That I am a good writer.
That I am a good student.
That I am photogenic.
That I am healthy.
That I am a good pet owner.
That I am a good driver.

No wonder why I was all tuckered out. Twenty-two year old toddler, running around in my superhero costume, with big puffy eyes from ugly-crying and trying to stay awake.

And of course, the Lord whispers, “This is not the kind of rest I have for you.”

part 2

In walks a man with a white beard, a balding head, and a guitar. He loudly states, “I am convinced that rest can only come from the Lord, otherwise it doesn’t exist.”


He shut and sealed it.

part 3

What is the Lord saying to you about rest? Scriptures and sermon recs are more than welcome.