Sunday, 8 December 2013
Jeremiah 6:16a- "Stand at the crossroads and watch, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls."
This has been the bible verse for this year at my church. I remember hearing it earlier in the year and thinking "I wish I could have rest for my soul."
I said the verse weekly at church for more than half the year, and asked God for rest for my soul, for rest from the turmoil and the hecticness of my mind. Rest within the reality of being ill with an illness that is characterised by chaotic thinking, impulsiveness and constant change.
Last Sunday it hit me, that I still hadn't found that rest, or at least not that I could see. Which really hurt, to know that this verse is what God has promised and the year is nearly up and I'm still frantic and constantly in a state of unrest, especially within my mind but also in a lack of sleep and energy.
In the last week I've been asking God things like "where is my rest?" "Have I not gone down the right path?" "Have I ruined and sabotaged my own opportunity for rest?"
I've stood at many crossroads this year to make decisions; I've asked over and over and over where the good way is, I've pushed to get to where I am in terms of help and asking for it when I need, I've asked professionals what they think is best, I've asked God and I've asked friends; I've tried to walk the paths that I've been directed down. So where is this rest?
Where is rest when I've been in and out of hospital like a yo-yo? Where is rest when I can't concentrate long enough to read an A5 page of writing because my brain is racing so fast? Where is rest when I can't understand reality because of the confusion and distress in my mind? Where is my rest God?
Today I read that verse in church like I had all the other times this year. And I know where my rest is. This year I have stood at many crossroads. I have walked many paths. I have chosen good ways and walked in them (and bad ways and walked in those too). But this verse isn't static. It isn't a single event necessarily. It isn't that this year we would meet A CROSSROAD. That we would then have rest in every area.
I stood at a crossroads when I came out of hospital and walked paths that lead me back there. That wasn't the good way, that wasn't the ancient path, but I still walked it and I didn't find rest.
I also stood at crossroads a different time coming out of hospital and I chose to ask for help, for the ancient paths, for the good way, and I stayed out of hospital a lot longer, and got significantly more rest, because I wasn't making decisions that made it harder not to turn back with every step.
Crossroads are scary. Crossroads have many options and I don't like decisions, I fear I will fail or upset or disappoint. But to find rest for your soul you must take a path, taking no path doesn't find you rest either it just keeps you in the same place.
I may have been journeying the last year walking endlessly between crossroads and trying to find paths and rest. Each time I chose the good way, and I choose to enter the right path and walk that way with God I choose rest for my soul. I choose not to wrestle and wander anymore. And slowly but surely, because of what Jesus has done for me on the cross, my soul will find rest, like a child in their parents arms.
So I may not be resting right now, I may feel like I'm constantly wrestling and wandering, but God knows the right paths and has paid the price for my soul to rest and this pain and confusion to be through. I just have to keep trusting him, talking to him, choosing him. You can choose to do that too.