Thursday, July 20, 2006

I'm so tired, I can't sleep

Those who have read my previous writings, or know me to any degree at all, shouldn't be surprised at the difficulty I found in getting out of bed Tuesday. As a matter of fact, I was so incapacitated that I called into work sick and stayed in bed until about two in the afternoon. Then I spent the rest of the day loafing around the apartment, setting foot outside only to retrieve the mail or put out the garbage. What might surprise you, however, is that I found the whole day quite annoying.

You see, there are several things in life at which I excel: resting is not one of them. (and yes, you are probably thinking right now that humility isn't too high on the list, either...) Even though sleeping is one of my favorite activities in the world, as funny as it sounds, resting is not. In fact, "resting" actually represents the absence of activity, wherein we will find my annoyance.

I have always been a rather active person. I schedule out my life to a fault (as several roommates have pointed out to me over the years). Growing up I participated in several after-school activities. Heck, I even signed up for intramural activities during the summers, ranging from voice lessons and theatre workshops to diving clubs and softball leagues-- most of which required riding my bike to and from until I turned 16 and got my license since both of my parents worked.

In college my schedule hardly loosened up. Juggling class, homework, a job and extra-curriculars came second-hand to me by then. Sometimes, this even meant getting up to be at the gym by six a.m. I know, it's sick.

The summer before my senior year of college, some friends and I planned a random mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Latino cultures are much more laid back than Americans and the best advice I received before I left was to use my waiting time wisely. Boy did I ever.

Those seventeen days were some of the longest, hardest and most blessed days I have ever experienced in my life since becoming a Christian. Most of the trip was plagued with the "hurry up and wait" mentality, which, as a scheduling-type person, tried my nerves more than once. Remembering the advice to use my waiting time wisely, however, I spent a lot of time journaling and praying.

My journals from that trip drip with homesickness and frustration, but also a fear of returning home to situations left undone. They also reflect my time in the Word and what God was teaching me through it all. One passage stands out among them all. "Be still and know that I am God."

In the Old Testament, God gives His people many commands. However, there are two specific commands He declares more frequently than any: "Rise up and to" and "be still." Both carry a great significance and we need both in our lives. Unfortunately, I am much better at one than the other.

This past weekend I heard two consecutive sermons about resting in the Lord. Both speakers stressed the importance of rest, especially a rest that says, "I can't do this, God, but you can. I give it all to You." It's a rest that says, "I can be still because I know that YOU are God, not me."

The significance was not lost on me. Sunday afternoon I said, "ok God, I get it, I need to rest. I will schedule some time to rest." Apparently this wasn't good enough for God. Instead, He took away the temptation to "do" with an incapacitating exhaustion. Sure, we could blame poor air quality and the hazards of adult asthma in hundred degree heat... but something tells me there's more to it all.

Perhaps Ill just have to "rest and see."