My work desk – the one in my home office – is cluttered. It's covered in old books, Moleskine journals, a telegraph key, speakers, an M-Audio interface for recording, loose change, action figures … and rocks. Cool-looking rocks. A fossilized ammonite shell takes up a one corner of the desktop. Two chunks of feldspar crystals sit atop the hutch. A couple more chunks of calcite crystals sit to the right – just under the desk lamp. Add in some glass jars full of polished brown jasper, tumbled quartz and a thumb-sized piece of a meteorite, and, well, that's my work environment.
Why all the rocks? I've collected since I was a kid. But lately, it comes down to a couple of reasons: First, one of my close friends is a former geologist. He knows where to find all the cool stuff. Secondly, because I've been challenged – more like convicted – to add margin into my life.
I think it all started when I came across a quote by Jimmy Mellado, the President of Compassion International: “Don't let doing the work of God destroy the work God is doing in you.”
Seems counter-intuitive. After all, doesn't God call us to do His work? Yes. But He also calls us to “Come apart and rest.” To be honest, while I can do the work part of the equation … I struggle to do the “rest” part. And while it's taken a long time to realize, resting is just as important as working. Because when I rest, what I'm really saying is, “God, I trust you to take care of things.”
There's another reason that rest and margin are so important. Here's Dr. Richard A. Swenson from his book, “Margin” - “We must have some room to breathe. We need freedom to think and permission to heal. Our relationships are being starved to death by velocity. No one has the time to listen, let alone love. Our children lay wounded on the ground, run over by our high-speed good intentions. Is God now pro-exhaustion? Doesn’t He lead people beside the still waters anymore? Who plundered those wide-open spaces of the past, and how can we get them back? There are no fallow lands for our emotions to lie down and rest in.”
That brings me back to my work desk and all the rocks that clutter it. For me, this is a tangible way to follow God's command to rest. To add margin and space. To get away from things for a few hours so that I can be rested enough to tackle God's work in a fresh, creative way. It's only a first step. I have a long way to go. And I'm challenging you to ask God to show you where – and how – you can add rest and margin into your life. How's that for a goal in 2018?
Need some encouragement to start? How about Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-30 (from The Message):
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Get some rest. See how it makes a difference in your life and ministry.