Yesterday I sat down to read for a bit in the afternoon. The bed was stripped bare and the sheets were in the wash. The iPad was dying, so I laid there on the edge of the naked mattress so my “book” wouldn’t lose power.
As I propped myself up on my elbows to read, I realized that this was the first time I’d relaxed in weeks. The first time I’d stilled myself in the waking hours to do something that isn’t on my to-do list.
No, I usually spend my days in some whirlwind combination of these things: kids activities, writing, making rag rugs, cleaning, laundry, networking, trying to get steps on my pedometer, managing social media, going to work, or cooking.
As I dance this frenzied rhythm across our carpet, my head plays a rhythm of:
I could do better
I could do more
I’m still not as _____ as ______ is.
This ties in pretty heavily to the smack in the face I’ve had recently about grace… in which I’m learning that I struggle with it because I have none to give, no reservoirs to rest in.
I don’t give myself a moment’s grace during the day. Rather, I produce and clean and make and do from the moment my feet hit the floor until the second I fall into bed exhausted.
And my last thoughts are… “how did I manage to leave so much undone? …. I’ll do better tomorrow.”
I base my worth and evaluate the success of a day by what I’ve accomplished.
I believe that I have something to prove, that I have to earn the time I’ve been given through a frenzy of activity. That I’m only worth what I produce in a day… or what percentage of my to-do list I manage to check off.
But we’re supposed to work hard six days and rest one, right? Keep a pace that proves to God that we’re using our talents for his glory?
Wait no… we’re not supposed to prove anything. We’re just supposed to glorify with our lives, which probably shouldn’t come with stress and frenzy, right?
I know I’d hate to see my own child broken down in a heap from trying too hard to stick to what I’d asked her to do. That would break my heart. Is this how God’s feeling about my busy attempts to earn my keep?
Surely God laments the fact that I’m only comfortable when I’m earning my keep.
The problem comes when I don’t feel like I’m earning it. When a tension builds between what I have and what I’ve earned, when the scale tips in favor of grace and mercy… I get anxious.
The other day I was on a phone meeting with a friend and co-worker in Oregon and he brought it all back to the Old Testament.
When the Israelites sat complaining in their camp as manna rained down from heaven and quail was delivered to their camp like pepperoni pizza.
And the soles of their shoes never wore out.
God saw to it all before they could ask for or earn it.
But there they sat, chilling in the dessert with no work, bread raining from heaven and longing to be back in the days of brick building.
Longing to be back in the days of slavery and that “just one more brick” lifestyle.
Because, doesn’t it seem easier to count your worth in bricks rather than trust in the blood and love of a God who is beyond understanding?
Who offers provision and peace through prayer and not through the labor of our hands?
It’s easier for me. Grace and Mercy are hard.
We’re supposed to work, toil, use our gifts and talents passionately… to glorify him through a life of healthy rhythm … not to prove that we’re worth the love and grace He is delivering to our doorsteps… like quail… and gluten free pizza.
I need an inner monologue makeover, to still and read, rest and just frigging “be” for a little while.
To take a sabbath where I lock up the laundry and put down the computer in favor of a book and a cup of tea.
Or close my eyes in the sunlight and open them to millions of leaves dancing 100 feet above my head.
I still need to figure out grace.
To believe that receiving manna is far better than celebrating another crappy, dried out brick.
This balance is a beautiful mess that I have to surrender to…. before it’s too late for my heart and hands.
Do you struggle with this balance of busy and grace? Of finding yourself unworthy of manna and shoes you’ve clearly not earned? Always counting your worth in bricks, wondering if you’ll ever breathe grace?