My new mattress set came with a “please note” in the paper brochure: At first, your new sleep set may feel firm in contrast to what you have been using, but you should not be concerned. Within a short period of time, you will become adjusted to the feel of a properly supportive sleep set.
Leave it to me to find spiritual significance in my mattress warranty paperwork. I guess God has to use what He can with me.
In my own life, resting is often uncomfortable. I grew up jumping at the sound of my dad’s keys jingling up the stairs on a Saturday morning. I didn’t want to get caught in bed—you can’t waste the day! My grades were impeccable, my organizational involvement was carefully crafted and executed, my to-do list was tailored to help me fill all the roles of student, daughter, sister…my life was exhausting. But I trudged forward feeling purposeful and significant and meaningful and busy and…happy.
Then came the day that I realized that while I had memorized a ton of scripture, I had totally missed Jesus. He is really what I needed to be fulfilled, to feel worthy, to love well. I didn’t have to continue to sustain my own happiness when he entered the picture. And what’s more, his version of happiness (or joy and peace and grace) far outweighed what I was ever capable of producing on my own.
I fought rest. I fought stopping. I fought recharging. (This worked better when I was young, but it still was tiring.) Rest meant laziness. Rest meant lack of production, so also lack of identity in what I produced, so also loss of identity. And then, Jesus said that who I was had nothing to do with my self-driven productivity and that it was okay—even commanded—that I rest. Suddenly, all I wanted to do was crawl into a ball in my bed and read and reread the passages I knew in my head but hadn’t believed in my heart. And they lit up and made sense and transformed me. But not before the squirming.
Rest meant lack of production, so also lack of identity in what I produced, so also loss of identity.
The squirming is what I call that time when you come to God and you know He has something to say and you know you did wrong and you know you are going to have to change but you don’t want to. The squirming is what happens when the Holy Spirit brings conviction so you can repent and return to the deep intimacy the Father wants with His children. The squirming happens when I take time to rest.
“At first, your new sleep set may feel firm in contrast to what you have been using, but you should not be concerned.” What? Not be concerned that my expensive new mattress is uncomfortable? Say what?
What? Not be concerned that my beautiful, newly-illuminated faith is a little bit painful and is making me let go of things that I really like and are really comfortable (read: familiar) and make me happy? Say what?
But the story doesn’t end there, see. “Within a short period of time, you will become adjusted to the feel of a properly supportive sleep set.”
After a few nights on my new mattress, I realized my hip didn’t hurt in the mornings anymore. My husband didn’t put icy hot on his back every morning. We didn’t fall asleep on the couch as much, hesitant to make the change to our familiar old mattress. We didn’t have any idea how much the old familiar ways were hurting our bodies. It’s taken a few days to adjust to the support of our new mattress, but with each passing day, there is less pain. There is more energy. Sleep is deep and restorative.
A relationship with Jesus brings conviction. Conviction can happen any time, but for me, it’s often when I’ve stopped moving (avoiding) stillness and rest. And why? Because hey—I don’t want to focus on my flaws, and it’s scary what God might find in me that he wants to purge or change or illuminate. And yet, as Christians, we are called to confess and repent, sometimes again and again. We have to get used to His ways that will properly support and equip us for the life He wants us to lead. It’s in the quiet that it is easiest to sense the working of the Holy Spirit in our deep places. We have to trust him. Life with Jesus offers perfect peace, perfect joy, perfect love, perfect rest. Even as we are called to a high standard of repenting, of denying ourselves, of loving God with all that we are and loving our neighbors as ourselves, God pours His deep and satisfying love into us. After a time of rest with Him, a time of stillness to know God, we have something to offer that is beyond our own fleshly capacity. God offers Himself as our support, as our counselor, as our savior, as our family. When we get used to Jesus providing what we need rather than striving for it on our own, we’ll realize how worn out we really are. We’ll realize how much pain we were in even though we might have felt happy. We’ll realize how beneficial it is to relinquish controlling our own life and follow The Way down the narrow path.
God’s rest will heal you.
So don’t be afraid to rest. It might not be comfortable at first, but in the end, the supportive rest that God offers brings new intimacy with Him. God’s rest will heal you.
Father, help me take time today to rest with you. I want to know you better. Please forgive me for the ways I’ve hurt you and others. Please heal me—body, soul, and spirit. Equip me for the road ahead so that I can live a life that glorifies your name and loves well. Thank you for offering your perfect, supportive rest. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Happy resting, friends…new mattress or not.