The Path of ... Rest
“Even God rested, Eva Marie,” a fellow writer exclaimed to me.
True, I reckoned. But is God a Type-A personality, I mused …
You know … constantly driven with a sense of urgency, always up against the clock with a tendency to overbook or overlap in the booking, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, unable to do only one thing at a time?
Wait … yes. God is a Type-A. Which means He gets me.
I entered the world of publishing in 1997 (although I really didn’t know it at the time). I signed my first contract in 1999 and saw my first book published that very same year. Since then, I have written more articles and blog posts (some my own, others as a guest) than I ever thought to keep count of. I have seen published nearly 40 books. I have edited dozens of published and unpublished works and articles for other writers. I’ve taught across the country and in Canada at both writers and women’s conferences. I have spoken in school auditoriums and in church sanctuaries and on various other stages. I have spoken to as many as thousands and as few as five … and one of those included my mother, so … four. I helped launch a writers group with only five people and have presided over it in one form or another ever since (more than 20 years), now serving as the president of its nearly 900 world-wide members (Word Weavers International). I have directed a writers conference (Florida Christian Writers Conference) for several years, recently launched the North Georgia CWC and led or helped lead writers retreats. I have directed the Selah Awards and the Foundation Awards (for Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference) since 2011. I have traveled to Israel three times as a journalist and/or writer and sojourner. I have met with hundreds of wannabe and nearly-be writers, encouraging them along their path. I have cried and beat my fist against the floor and then stood in awe and wonder at what God has done with the words He placed in my head, in my heart, and then on my computer screen.
I’ve conquered social media. Sort of. Okay, I’ve shown up when I didn’t want to and managed to develop a “following” and “friends” … some I actually know.
I have won awards. Been on the bestseller list. It’s nice.
I’ve buried too many loved ones. Spoken at their funerals. Presided over one whose death I couldn’t understand and still don’t understand.
And in the midst of all this I’ve moved twice, fought a legal system (won, then lost), raised children, and welcomed grandchildren (the best part of what comes first). I’ve loved a houseful of animals, buried them, and adored and fought with a husband (known as the huggy hubby).
No wonder I’m tired.
Two years ago I turned in a manuscript (a bio about Eric Liddell) and saw a novel release that I’m sooooo proud of (The One True Love of Alice-Ann) … all within days of each other. And then I lamented to my friend that “I’m tired … and I’m not sure where I’m going next with all this.” (Two years later and I’m still unsure. I guess we always are.)
To which she said, “Why don’t you give yourself permission to rest?”
Even God rested … said another friend.
And He gets me, said I. So, it’s okay.
What is Wrong with Us?
Why do we think we cannot rest, we writers? Why do we think we must stay one step ahead of what publishing wants and demands of us? Why can’t we just write our words and see them published and then collect the accolades, which we follow with a good night’s rest? Why is there all this other stuff to take care of? Blogs to post, social media to attack (and then to be sucked in by), articles on craft to read?
Or write …
Why can’t we just stop?
And if we do stop, what will we do with the time?
Read a book … just because? Watch a movie—the one we wanted to see on the big screen, then said we’d get at Red Box … and now we can only hope to catch before Netflix removes it from the lineup? Call a friend? Have coffee with a loved one? Go shopping … not to purchase, but to browse?
Fall into The Word and in love with God all over again?
What will we do?
Try This: Take five minutes. Only five. Sit in the quiet (you may have to go to the bathroom and lock the door to accomplish this but try …). No TV. No music (not even the classical/nature stuff). No books, no journals or pens. Just sit.
Close your eyes.
Breathe in. Breathe out. (Repeat.)
Whisper a little prayer of love and praise and adoration to God. You don’t have to be verbose.
I dare you.
Just. Be. Quiet. This is the path of silence.
Then—maybe after a week or a month or two months of doing this—graduate to fifteen minutes. Or, take a whole afternoon. Heck, take a whole day!
Go ahead. I give you permission. So does God. In fact, He insists upon it.
For whoever enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.