Recently one who watches and learns from me asks:
Is all of life is a treadmill.… Does it ever stop ….. ….The getting up to work hard to do it all again tomorrow? Does our effort ever bring rest? Do the stories of heartbreak ever end? Do hard, uncomfortable situations ever get easier? Does pain stop?
It’s a question uncommon from one so young, and in it are contained elements of weariness and disappointment.
I explain that when we ask these questions we are not alone. Philosophers have examined this question for generations and that Solomon asked the question in beautiful prose:
“That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there a thing of which it may be said, “Behold, this is new?” Ecclesiastes 1: 9
Henri J.M. Nouwen in “Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World” says it another way: “Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don’t you often hope: ‘May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.’ But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death.”
We talk on these matters for a while and then I say, “it’s a fallen world of striving but Rest is a treasure that can only be found in Him.
I see the clouding over of the eyes…. my words are not understood…..
My heart aches….
Deep down all of us are born with the an Adamic belief system based on the lie that protecting and providing for ourselves is our own responsibility …. and so I can see this striving will not end … not yet….
Finding Rest is a personal journey….. the experience of Rest a process…
Learning to believe that He is enough, that I am who He says I am and that and this world is not my home is a way of daily exercising my faith. I still wrestle with these issues in the dark: the world pulls me towards a vortex of never-ending “trying to measure up” while the still, small Voice reminds me “I am accepted in the Beloved” and that “in Him I am complete”.
And so, as I watch the struggle in another, I pray … that we will all come to understand our belovedness in the center of our being and in His gift of completeness our striving will cease…then perhaps we will come to experience and live out of the Rest that is the gift of all who believe.