I stood looking at those dishes and at the dishwasher, which was in the middle of its drying cycle. Clearly, I wasn’t going to be able to empty the dishwasher, re-load it, and start a new wash cycle right then.
So I debated. I debated washing everything by hand. Simply so that I could go to bed with an empty sink. See, only once in my adult life have I ever gone to bed when there’s a sinkful of dirty dishes in the kitchen.
I have a Type-A personality about some things. I can let the bookshelves get dusty and the laundry pile up, but I struggle with having my kitchen in any kind of disarray other than when I’m in the middle of cooking something. E can attest to this – he gets a bag of chips out of the pantry, leaves the bag clip on the counter, and when he comes back half an hour later, I have put it away in the drawer. He sets a glass on the counter to be reused later, and I put it in the dishwasher, and he comes back and finds it gone. It makes him crazy.
So you see, going to bed with a sinkful of dishes sitting there was not going to be easy.
But as I stood there in the kitchen, debating, a voice within me said gently, Why are you wrestling with this? Leave it. The work will be there tomorrow. Why end your day this way, scrambling to hand wash a bunch of things that can go into the dishwasher in the morning? Go rest.
Isn’t this how we are, our culture, about setting aside what we could get done now in exchange for a little rest? Aren’t we a striving generation?
I think so. I see it in myself all the time. Even though I know how good rest is, how much God wants us to have it regularly.
I rested all day Sunday. I was intentional about it. In fact, I powered through eight necessary errands (Costco, the grocery store, the beauty supply, the hardware, the bookstore, the pharmacy, the dry cleaner, and the recycling center) on Saturday so that I wouldn’t have anywhere to go on Sunday. And I determined, too, that anything I didn’t get to on Saturday, whether errands or cleaning or laundry I’d wanted to get done, would be left untouched Sunday. And you know, it was worth it. I got up and went to check out a local church, then came home and spent most of the afternoon on the couch, reading and knitting a hat for L while she played and E watched the Daytona 500. I felt tension leave my muscles and peace fill my spirit, thanks to those hours spent free from striving.
It felt so good. I felt relaxed, off the hook, serene. I thought, Yes – this is what God wants for us. To enter this place of peace, this place of freedom.
Hebrews 4:9-11 says, So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest.
Interesting, isn’t it, that the writer of Hebrews talks about striving to rest? Seems a bit contradictory. And yet, that’s what I had to do this weekend. I had to work hard – I had to strive – to intentionally incorporate a day of rest into my plans. This is an altogether different kind of striving, and a kind of obedience to God that probably seems a little too good to be true. But the truth is that God always, always wants what’s best for us, and that’s why He built rest into the equation.
And so – that sinkful of dishes leering at me at 9 p.m.? I really didn’t want them to ruin my Sabbath. I resisted the urge to strive, to power through them. I turned my back and went to bed. I gave myself permission to rest. Let me tell you, that is some kind of triumph.
How are you incorporating rest into your life?
Photo Credit: La Brionnaise. License: Creative Commons 2.0.