SOMETHING I hurry against is busyness. This is about wanting to get ahead so I can earn a place of rest and contemplation. The only issue is I’ll often find myself reaching the point of frustration well before I can rest and contemplate. Then, rest and contemplation are further off than ever. Like happiness, peace proves rather elusive when all we can think of seeking is peace — when it’s ever at arm’s length away.
Whatever we desperately seek can either drive us motivationally or it can drive us away from that which we seek. What we’re desperate for ought therefore to pique our awareness. Desperation needs to be converted into intention. When intention becomes strategy, we’re well on the way to a sustained execution of our goal.
We cannot expect that just because we want something badly that that’s enough to acquire it. Again, strategy is what we need. Strategy mixed with intention will be enough to advance us toward our goal: the objective of a rested state which equates to sustained behavioural change.
We Cannot ‘Earn’ Our Rest
If we seek to earn our rest, we’ll be quite disappointed. A restful state cannot coalesce with the fury of haste. Anger drives the gentle spirit of the Greek epieikes deep into a chaotic oblivion because there are discordant goals afoot. A self-imposed pressure or pressure from another source also makes rest impossible.
Rest is a gentle place arrived at in gentleness.
Rest is a state of mind that gives the heart permission to be at ease; and, a heart that placates the mind.
Contemplation is not something that will come at us like the rest of life does. Its sweet and indelible presence needs to be invited in; it needs to be sought and then embraced. Room needs to be made for it. Space in our schedules needs to be cleared. Our pace of life needs to be slowed down overall. It needs to become important.
To ‘earn’ our rest is to drive our rest away, not that being diligent and responsible are bad things. Being quietly effectual is, of itself, possible in rest. It is possible to be industrious and restful at the same time. It’s a state of being that’s possible, but only if we take the Presence of God with us, via a rest of Christ contemplation.
A Real Peace – Rest via Christ Contemplation
A rest via Christ contemplation is simply the practice of a holy and reflective reverie of spiritual bliss; to be lost in one’s thoughts in the majesty of the Spirit’s Presence.
Such a practice can be taken with us; it can be enjoyed mindfully, anywhere.
A real peace is available anytime we try it, simply in enjoying the Presence of Christ with us, presently, and contemplating the fact he is with us as well as being prayerful in the moment to imagine what the Lord is saying.
We can imagine the grace of the Lord permeating us, bringing us shalom like no other peace, simply because he’s there, in our midst, slowing all of life down, because life suddenly has an eternal perspective. See the pace of the natural world. Like clockwork: no hurry or busyness there, just natural cooperation.
We can imagine his Spirit speaking in the dulcet tones of eternity, bringing the pace of our pulse down into reflectiveness. We can imagine Jesus saying, “Do you love me?” and his approving affirmation when we answer him as Peter did, “Of course I do, Lord,” even as we conjure up ways of loving him more by resting better. We imagine being a Mary, pleasing Jesus simply by stopping and being with him. We imagine communing with Jesus as Simon of Cyrene did — in a moment’s glance — in helping his Saviour carry his cross — and we imagine eternity communicated in one solitary pain-lit glance.
Do you hunger for peace and your place with Christ? He wants you. He wants you to want him. And he wants this for you, not for himself.
Jesus knows our peace, and he knows it’s in himself that we’ll secure it.
The rest of Christ contemplation gives us peace, and the capacity to learn the experience of joy.
No matter what is our struggle, God can help us overcome it; the rest of peace deep in our soul is the way.
Deep peace, fervent contentment, vapid joy, surging hope: all through Jesus.
Letting materialism ebb away, and the simplicity of his Spirit flow in.
But we must first enter in; slow down into Christ contemplation. To where he welcomes us, as we are.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.