Resting in God When Your Faith is Characterized by Busyness
Letter from Amy Blythe
My quiet time with Jesus wasn’t particularly quiet that day. The kids were up earlier than usual, so cartoons on the couch rescued my morning time with the Lord. The boys were glued to the TV as I worked to focus through the bouncing songs of their favorite characters. Bible open in my lap and pen poised over my journal, I thanked God for a way to spend time with him despite the unplanned company. My soul soaked up his Word and my heart poured out to God—for a moment, anyway. Within minutes, my redheaded wild child crawled down from the couch and made his way to me. He pushed the journal from my hands and replaced it with his unusually calm body. My energetic toddler, in a moment of grace, wanted nothing more than to be held in his mother’s arms. Where I could have relaxed into his embrace, I fretted. Where I should have allowed time to stand still, I glanced anxiously at the clock. My sweet guy was squandering my moment. Or was it me? Was I throwing away a moment God intended to use to speak into my heart?
My faith was characterized by busyness: read my Bible, volunteer at youth group, journal, go to church, teach my children Bible lessons, read something spiritual, lead a Bible study—and I was exhausted. My days led to nights where I collapsed into bed. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow, dreaming before an utterance of gratitude was lifted in prayer. While each of the activities I busied myself with produced spiritual fruit and grew my faith in Jesus, it was not enough.
My life was full to overflowing, yet somehow, I was empty. I poured out again and again until I was completely dry, lacking the vibrance and joy I once experienced in God. The prophet Jeremiah describes a tree planted by the water. Even in seasons of drought, the tree remains lush and green, bearing fruit because its roots extend into Life Giving Water. If I was a tree, I was a tree withering. My fruit was falling, my branches dying, and my roots in desperate need of drink. For all my striving, my roots were gnarled in the shallow soil of the belief that experiencing the fullness of His love and mercy required anything more from me than simply remaining in Him.
Resting his head against my chest, my boy listened for my heart beat. He soaked me in. He wanted for nothing and allowed himself to be filled, loved, lavished, there. “This,” I thought, “is what’s missing.” My son leaned into me and I leaned into my Father. He invited me to become alive, again. I am drink for a weary soul. Root yourself in me, and I will give you rest.
He didn’t need more on my spiritual to do list.
Or more hours inside the church walls.
Or more striving.
That morning’s unfinished journal entry remains one of my favorites. I often return to those pages to remember all that God had for me in the early hours—a reminder to just be held.
My God called for more of me, just as I am. My Father asked me to climb silently into His arms to be held—without the volunteering, activities, or stream of consciousness that was my usual prayer—just quiet, contented rest.
As the Holy Spirit whispered into the depths of my heart, I exhaled into a moment that revealed to me the very tenderness of God. From His great mercy came a calm and quiet mind. In our silent exchange, I resolved to cease striving. I climbed into the lap of my Father, allowing Him to linger over me as I relaxed into His embrace.
And so I poured myself out anew: I lingered a little longer than usual over my sweet boy. I breathed in the scent of the baby shampoo from last night’s bath and felt his body blanket me in warmth. I wrapped my arms around him and acknowledged my Father, wrapping his arms around me. No list-making, dishwashing, or striving—just being held.
Admittedly, this is not easy. I still need to squeeze in a workout between folding laundry and feeding an army of tiny people. I could use a few more hours in my day. Maybe writing “rest in God” in my color-coded planner will remind me to get the task done.
But then I remember, being held is not another item we must check off our list. It is a moment God invites us to experience.
Jesus himself reminds us how: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him will bear much fruit because without me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV
Abide means rest. We are branches and we need not be more. He is strength, provider, living and active. He is God, and we are not. Volunteering and Bible study are certainly something, but they aren’t everything. So we quiet our minds, our hearts, and our busy hands to soak in Living Water.
My sisters in Christ, how can you abide in God’s love today? Where can you lay down your to do list and rest in his presence? I encourage you to seek his loving arms. Stop striving, climb into the lap of the Father, and allow yourself to be held.
Praying for you all,
About the Writer: Amy Blythe
Amy Blythe is a wife and mother to four little ones, ages four and under. Amy holds an MA in Pastoral Theology from Loyola University- Chicago, and worked in both campus and youth ministry before being called to work as a stay-at-home mom. Whether wiping faces or floors, Amy loves to seek and share evidence of God’s loving fingerprints found all over her beautiful chaos. You can find Amy in her tiny town of Ligonier, PA, probably with a baby on her back and cold coffee in hand, or on Instagram at everytinyflower.