One day while I was watching my daughter play, I realized that she no longer asked me to play with her. It hit like a ton of bricks straight to the chest and robbed me of my breath. All day long I dwelled on it, pondered, and tried to remember the exact time that she quit asking. Trying to find the missed hints and quiet looks that went unnoticed by a momma that was to busy.
Its not that my daughter has grown out of playing with dolls and make believe… she’s three. She suffers from “ignored by momma” syndrome. A mom that is too busy working, texting, surfing pinterest, facebook, and Instagram, too busy cleaning and cooking… too busy to slow down and play. It’s not her fault. It’s not. Its just that momma suffers from some things too. I have an overactive mind that is constantly moving and hands that itch when they are not moving. I have a restless spirit, and empty hole that I keep trying to fill with “doing”. For instance, this week was supposed to be a sick week for me. A few days to rest and relax and to feel better. What have I done? Anything but rest and relax. It’s like I am incapable of just resting. Something inside of me tells me that I must be reading, surfing, cleaning, and interacting in some way with something.
And I wonder why my daughter has withdrawn from me.
I recently came to a conclusion to why I feel Like I cannot simply be still. It boils down to this:
I do not want to have that conversation with myself or with God that I need to.
I know that God will tell me something that I don’t want to hear. I know he will convict me on somethings that I want to ignore. I know that I will find some truths about myself and my life that will make me uncomfortable.
I know this. So, I avoid it.
And I still wonder why I have that empty hole in my life. Why I constantly feel like I am missing something. Like I am forgetting my purpose. Why I feel like I have no purpose. I was speaking to a friend recently and the topic of life came up. “I feel like my life is over at this point, honestly.” She confessed. She’s 28. Just wow. It was even more upsetting when I responded, “I feel like I have no purpose in life and I feel aimless.” Did I mention that I’m only 30?
At 28 and 30 and we are already feeling the typical midlife crisis feeling that are ‘normally’ present in peoples 40’s and 50’s.
Neither one of us can just rest. Today was her day when she sent her daughter to be with grandma and she was to rest and relax. We ended up meeting and doing stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice and relaxing to have an adult conversation without constantly looking for a little one. But there was something unsettling in how neither one of us could just… be still.
So many people these days are so scared to be still because they are frightened to have that honest conversation with themselves and with God.
Personally, I’m scared that He will revel things about me that I will find upsetting, or He will force me to deal with the death of my mother, or that He will ask me to forgive my dad, or… so many other things. I’m scared. I don’t want to deal with this. I want to be in absolute blissful ignorance… with that hole in my heart and soul.
The Bible tells us that “One day soon afterward Jesus went to a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night” (Luke 6:12, NLT). Jesus separated himself from everyone else after a certain event had happened. Luke tells us that Jesus had healed a man on the Sabbath and the “enemies of Jesus went wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.” (Luke 6:11, NLT). So, Jesus went to a mountain top. Alone. By himself. Just Him and God. And he prays all night.
Now, I have to admit, that’s impressive. When It seems like I can’t hold my attention to anything more than 6 seconds… reading that Jesus prayed all night is awe-inspiring. Except, it isn’t. This is something Jesus did often. Its something that He made a priority. He made appointments with God to get still and alone and just REST in Gods word and presence. It’s something that we take for granted all the time. That important ability to just get still and get in the presence of God.
We do not know what he prayed about and I don’t really think its for us to know. But just the fact that Luke points out that he went there alone and prayed all night… it might be important. Then we head to Isaiah. He tells us that “The Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says ‘Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15, NLT). The verse goes on to state that the children or Israel would rather put their trust in Egypt instead of God.
See, when I search verses concerning rest and being still, I find a reoccurring theme. Being still and resting is not the same as resting and being still in GOD. You can’t just sit in front of the TV, read a book, or play a game and say you are resting in God. No that’s not how it works, that’s not how you are going to get that all-consuming peace or that connection with God, or that confessions that you need. You have to literally sit, be still, and just REST in the Word of God.
This, I have learned this week, means to sit, open the Bible, turn on some worship music, grab a pen and some paper and just focus on God. Pray that He works in you for His glory. Honestly, it’s hard. It was the most challenging thing I’ve done is a while. I felt my attention travel to everything but what it should be focused on. I just gently redirected and came back. It was hard, but worth. You can’t say that I suddenly felt the Holy Spirit, or that I gained deeper understanding of God, or even that I confessed everything I needed to. What I can say is that I learned how wonderful I felt after resting in God. How much closer I felt to being peaceful. I can say that I finally was able to write something that I could never really get out. But it was only after I truly rested and invited God into my quiet and restful time.
Invite God into your rest.
Invite Him into your Bible reading, invite Him into your prayers… He gave us free will. We CHOOSE to commune with Him. We choose HIM and then we grab what he offers (rest, peace, grace) and we hold on to it. When we begin to cherish those restful times and invite God into them, we can experience true rest and true peace. And then we start putting the phones down. We start engaging with our children and spouses and family and friends We start being present in the moment.
Because in being still in God and resting in Him we can get that hole filled. We can deal with those issues we have problems with. We can embrace our flaws and cover them with grace. We can finally confess those sins and mistakes and find that God still loves us no matter what. God will cover our flaws with grace and love. We don’t have to run around and watch TV and grab those phones to feel peaceful in our lives. We just have to look up and be comforted.
Hannah Epps is a working mother to a beautiful 3 year old. Writing is a passion of mine and I feel that if it can glorify God, then it must be good! I am a new (ish) Christian that is relearning how wonderful God and Grace is.
♡ If you like this story, you’ll love this too → My Darling Daughter, Don’t Ever Forget Your First Love.
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