Last week we returned to Thailand after a hectic three months in Cape Town. We had shaped a to-do list that was never going to squeeze into our ninety day box. So, apart from a small block of get-away time in the middle, we were facing an impossible chase to tick all the boxes. The things on the list were good and important – most were urgent – but, unless we wanted to miss the view (see the last two blog posts), we were going to have to prioritize resting above racing.
Relaxation and inner rest are different. It’s possible to be busy, yet at rest. It’s also possible to relax quietly or socially and yet be without inner rest. Resting in the Lord is about choosing to agree with him. Jesus calls us into his yoke to rest; it’s a yoked relationship in which our being and doing conform to his viewpoint (Mtt 11:28, 29). It was easy for Sandra and me to spread our entire to-do list before the Lord and ask for favour and help, but outcome success is not an indicator of inner rest. It’s possible to believe in God’s love and yet allow room for panic and stress. Each task has an unrest potential, so we needed to deliberately bring each into the yoke. We needed his perspective on the value of each plan or task. That is:
- How does it (even the most mundane, must-do job) fit in our journey of pleasing him?
- What opportunity does it open for us to admire him – perhaps in ways we might have missed without that task?
So the task became a focus of conversation with him. Making it a Throne-zone conversation piece either clarified its importance to our journey, or showed us the need to cut it loose. Seeing a task’s value makes it easier to voice thanks for it as a holy use of time and energy. The merit of the task isn’t just in the outcome but in the offering; however simple or menial, it becomes a work done unto him (Col 3:17). And it becomes a trigger for prayers of admiration – praise for his wisdom, favour, generosity, or whatever aspect of his nature the task draws attention to.
Often our ‘drawing of tasks into the yoke’ was not done in the quietness of set prayer times, but on the move – while driving to a meeting, unpacking a storage unit, or waiting in a municipal office. As the tasks were given a ‘home’ in the yoke of agreement with Jesus, it removed the stress of making them happen and the complaint about unwanted outcomes. Our list was still long and the tasks important, but we were learning to move through them with restful urgency.