Struggling to Rest (part 1 of 2)

Oregon by Gillham

Oregon by Gillham

How are you doing in your struggle to rest? 

What an odd notion! “Struggle” and “rest” stand in opposition to each other. The presence of one discounts the other. Am I supposed to struggle to rest? 

I realize I am supposed to rest in Christ. Nevertheless, struggling to rest is disconcertingly familiar. More often than not, my struggle is to control people and circumstances, which is to say, I harbor the deceptive belief that if I can gain control of all that affects me, I will achieve rest.  

For example, I discovered that I cannot control my wife. Why didn’t someone tell me this a quarter century ago? I cannot control the weather that is delaying my flight home today—and I am so ready to be home! I cannot control the outcome of the conference I’ll be leading later this week, and there is a wild card in the hand of presenters dealt me for this conference. I cannot control the test my doctor will run in the morning. And so it goes.  

The result? What the Germans call angst—a tumult in my stomach, a preoccupation within my mind; my emotions are tense and my sleep is disrupted. I’m distracted…and let’s cut to the bottom line: Spiritually, I am sinning.  

That’s a drag. While I am attempting to be diligent and responsible across the breadth of my life, God considers my effort to be sinful.  

What’s that about?  

My struggle is rooted in self-belief, self-sufficiency, and self-indulgence. Therein is the source of my sin: self. Anytime we operate independently of the Holy Spirit we sin. Consider that for a moment. This creates a spectrum of sinfulness that cuts across the history of human kind and places simple acts of independence alongside the degradation we associate with only the most egregious of sins. 

So where do we go from here? Is there are remedy for this struggle? That's next.