Last week, shortly after the UPS man delivered my copies of Let's Pretend We're Normal, my writing mind stopped working.
I opened this box filled with the very fruition of the last 18 months, I breathed in the scent of paper and words and finishing, and my spirit exhaled a great sigh of relief. And then she swiftly flipped on the neon sign that reads, "Sorry, We're Closed."
This was deeply unsettling to me, because if I'm not writing, then what am I doing? I kept tapping myself on my own shoulder as if to say, "How about now? Shouldn't you be writing? Prove your worth in word count."
I am reading Breathe, by Priscilla Shirer, and she handed me this beautiful realization.
Just as heaven and earth were created in six days,
rest was created on the seventh.
God wasn't finished until he had rested.
He could have continued, because he's God and he doesn't run out of steam. But that's just the thing I'm learning: rest isn't a response to running out of steam, and it's not a sign of weakness. Actually, I'm learning that God created tranquility along with the rest of his creation - not in response to the fall of man.
It wasn't like Eve took a bite of the apple and now everybody needs to nap regularly. No, God created rest before people even knew how to be tired. He wasn't tired. He was expressing satisfaction. Creation was complete, so he rested.
Rest is intentional and positive. It is more than 'not doing.' It is the pursuit of tranquility, serenity, and peace, fulfillment, completeness, and blessing.
And I think it's part of the process of creating. God created for six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work. He finished with rest. He shows me that it's part of the creative process. It's how you close the loop.
* * *
Sophie Burnham wrote one of my favorite resources, For Writers Only. (Don't tell anyone I just threw the door wide open to writers and non-writers alike.) It's a true and honest bouquet of pick-me-up that rests on my shelf.
"Sometimes when you land on writer's block, you simply back off, stop work and go get exercise - physically exhausting exercise - for that day or even for several weeks. Or you try a change of scenery, country, culture, to jog the mind. Or else you do right-brain repatterning exercises to balance an overstimulated brain. Drawing or painting - changing your creative gears - may help."
(Actually, all of that sounds a lot like rest.)
I've been writing nonstop for three years. I've finished two books, a thousand blog posts, and a couple million words. Maybe what I felt wasn't actually writer's block, but it was my spirit crying for Sabbath.
I love the idea that rest is an expression of satisfaction. "And He saw that it was Good" and so He rested. Sort of like the old expression to "rest on your laurels". We need to learn to appreciate the times of rest as the other side of times of productivity.