Take chances. Abandon all the rules. Ditch the recipe. Color outside the lines.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Church of Unrest

You know those times when you’re completely, dead on your feet, people might confuse you for a zombie, tired?  Like, a kiddie pool full of coffee still wouldn’t be enough to keep you from nodding off at your desk.  Trying to keep your eyes open feels more like trying to pry open an elevator door with a toothpick and your brain slowly starts powering off despite your attempts to focus. 

I’m kind of a doer.  I like to be organized, plan, make schedules, color code things, alphabetize, you know things that compulsive people do.  I like to move through life at full speed, hopping from one activity to the next and taking on responsibilities galore.  Usually after a couple weeks of pedal to the floor living I come to a screeching halt, overwhelmed by a of couple days of that kind of tiredness.  When I start doing things because I’m supposed to, because it’s expected of me, because I don’t want to face what’s waiting for me in the silence, then I quickly become exhausted.  These reasons are without passion, without love, and without desire.  They are energy leaches that suck the life out of you and leave you feeling burned out and worn down. 

But things done with passion… now that’s a different story all together.  Passion changes things.

Sometimes it’s difficult for me to tell people what I’m passionate about. Here's why; people ask me, "What is your passion, Jess?" (As if they can't see it already) and I answer "Grace and Jesus and for people to intimately experience both!" And they say "Oh... You're one of THOSE people..." Now, how sad is it really, that the culture of the church as a whole today is one in which even your remote association to it is met with exasperated sighs from a world weary of being beat with our bibles? How can people ever believe that Jesus is about rest if were exhausting people with our dogma?

I am not, in fact, one of THOSE people. I don't want to picket an abortion clinic or talk politics with you, thumping my bible to drive home my agenda. I am not one of THOSE people that wants to argue with you about why the church you attend isn't the right denomination or that wants to give you a list of things you're doing wrong and ways to make them right. I am not one of THOSE people... And Jesus isn't either.

And really, we shouldn't have to make the distinction. Because if you bear the name of Christ, if you share his spirit, shouldn't you love the people he loves? Shouldn't you minister the way he ministered? If Jesus said "I've come to give you rest" then shouldn't his church be a place of rest for the souls of the broken, weary, and oppressed rather than a place the breaks, demands, and oppresses?

Sometimes we get so caught up in doing our "Christian" things and spreading our "Christian" message that we neglect the most important part; BEING a Christian. We get so busy working for Jesus that we forget to be with him.  I'm here to tell you that if you're so busy working for him that you are never being with him then maybe you're really not working for him at all.  Jesus didn’t come here to make employees he came here to make disciples.  Disciples of a rabbi whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.  See, he only ever came to give us rest.

I have been the employee, so driven by the task that I overlook the people, that I even overlook myself.  Not in a selfless, sacrificial way, but in a selfish consumed with gaining praise for my actions kind of way that leaves me empty, unfulfilled, and so so tired.  I’m just now coming to realize that following Jesus is not about inviting him to speed through life with us; it’s about noticing him sitting at the rest stop.  It’s about doing nothing when you have too much to do.  It’s about being silent when you have too much to say.  It’s about knowing that who you are is defined by what he did and letting that knowledge make you brave enough to stop doing so much and just be. 

Take time to rest in Christ.
Live life driven by passion and desire.
Free others to experience that rest. 


  1. Great post Jess; I really needed to hear this today. Starting the "Heart of Addiction" by Mark Shaw study for Cracked Pots this Sunday; teaching another Bible Study; taking a study and auditing a Grace School of Theology class. Love it, but I need to spend more quiet time with my Lord. Thanks for reminding me! -Ann Moran, Packsaddle, Kingsland

    1. Ann,

      I tend to be the exact same way, doing a lot of things that are great things and needed things and things that I enjoy but end up forsaking those times of just silence and stillness to do all of those things. I think it's important to take times to get away and just be at rest even when we have too much too do. Jesus did this quite a bit in his ministry, he had people always pushing to be around him bombarding him with the desire to hear more and he'd, instead, take a trip across the water with just his disciples, or go away alone somewhere to pray. Jesus knew the importance of times to be silent and just rest with the Father-- it's encouraging to know that we have to freedom to do that too! We don't always have to do, we can just be! Thank goodness for that!