Written by Christiaan Grutz
The past days of Lent have been both a struggle and a joy to me. This season began normally enough: I prayed about what plans God had for me for Lent. From what should I fast? As I prayed, I felt an urge to depart from God’s presence and check for any updates and news for Civil Air Patrol. I knew at that moment that the thing God had for me to do was to relinquish my constant need to do something. Therefore, my Lenten practice this year is primarily to give up checking my email more than twice per day. Once in the morning, once in the evening. This is a hard thing for me. Not due to an obsession or addiction to my devices, but rather because I have a need to be busy.
As a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol USAF Auxiliary with multiple positions of authority, which demand large chunks of my time, as a student, and simply as a teenager who conducts life, one thing shows through always: my drivenness. From the day I could walk, my parents said I had a purpose. Even still as a fifteen-year-old, I must always be active. I must always achieve. I must always be a go-getter. It makes me feel good about myself. My self-placed need to be busy connects to my image. I must always appear perfect and impossibly capable of everything. The thoughts through my heart appear something like: If only I can do this thing, I can feel better about myself. If only I can achieve this thing, I’ll be worthy. As if I could possibly earn anything of eternal value from any of it. My drive to finish the task, to situate the issues, has so far, been my downfall.
The further I progress into Lent, more exacting it has become. Not only because I am now trying to rush into getting everything done before the evening is up, but because I now have even more to do than when I started. I am stressed and tired and I feel insufficient for my duties. I am weary. God has given me the key. He gave it to me a very long time ago, delivered by the worn old hands of Moses, and engraved into a tablet of stone. His fourth commandment to the people of Israel read: “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” Rest.
Learning how to rest has been a struggle, but it is a joy to me that God is revealing all the things that I miss when I fill my heart and mind with things. I am a slave to the slothful ways of busyness. Busyness in image and bearing. Slothful in spiritual actuality. I have been educated in the fact that rest is just as much a duty as my school and Civil Air Patrol activities. I pray that the Lord will continue to illuminate the actively restful life, while also abiding with Him in my daily tasks. To rest is my duty. Lord, I will make every effort to enter that rest which you have provided.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”