Alone I sit overlooking the Chesapeake Bay and the activity that surrounds me. A speed boat is hurrying past the Thimble Shoals lighthouse in the east while the songbirds gather food from the sand dunes. The quietest sound is my fingertips on the keyboard which is being dwindled by the water returning to the shore. I have been living by the bay for only a few months now. In these last few months, I have allowed the bay to teach me, change me. Each morning, I surrender my will and what I think life should be for a glimpse into the way it was initially designed. Sand, grass, rock and a vast amount of water meeting air has taught me to stop.
My dog is beside me in a comfortable position on my green, outdoor cushions. The only movement is an occasional twitch to reposition ensuring a deeper sleep. I marvel at her peace. Just being beside me is enough for her to surrender. I used to look at my dog and think how useless it was to sleep her life away. Now, after ten months of my front yard being sand and water, I surrender my foolishness and eagerly await a new existence where rest, leisure, and play are the whole of my existence.
My mom has a dog, a teacup Yorkie, who only weighs less than three pounds but abounds with endless energy that makes the world take notice. One day, late at night, I was watching this dog play, leap, and cuddle. He found great pleasure in wrestling a stuffed animal into submission or snuggling in your arms for a quick doze. The world was a playground. Its master had supplied the water, food, shelter, and security necessary to feel free to play, leap, and cuddle with little care for harm or sudden danger. Financial woes and relationship worries were of little concern. In Matthew 6:25, God says, “Take no thought for your life…” More continues but consider that advice. Do you think dogs obey the command? Does the bay and the rocks, the foul and the air heed that advice? I can boldly reply that each of these creations know their creator and His original intent. We were meant to take no thought.
I was in the shower one day allowing the water’s heat and pressure to dull my senses. I was craving release from random anxieties when a still, small voice uttered these words:
I laughed as shampoo ran into my eyes and I felt everything within me, the creation that I am, be released to obey these three words. I add this thought to Matthew 6, “Take no thought and while you are at it, live, love and dream.” I felt God say, “Go ahead, you’re allowed.”
Be like the dog who knows his master has provided food, shelter, water, and security. Child of God, you are free to play. Your complexity has been exchanged for His simplicity. Your shame for His righteousness. The striving stops and the toil ceases. The moment I stopped and “let go and let God” was the moment life, loving, and dreaming began. My labor now is simply to enter into rest. This rest mentioned in Hebrews 4:10 only occurs when we stop, when we cease from our own works. Joy erupts at this moment because you are finally allowed to be who you were created to be. The revelation of the original design becomes the blueprint of your life and toil ceases.
I was watching Oprah’s new network OWN at my mom’s house one day and I was listening to her share stories of people and experiences that have shaped her philosophy. I was gripped instantly by a story she told of a mother and her son. This mother had spent every second of her son’s final moments beside his hospital bed. She was vigilant and actively aware of his every need. As her son released his last breath, the mother said that he looked upward and cried, “Oh! It was so easy.” I quivered. I was frozen by Oprah’s statement. I realized I was holding my breath as the realization was awakening within me. That precious child met His creator, face to face, and listened to the still, small voice. Haven’t we made this thing too hard? Maybe that’s it…it’s supposed to be easy. I believe we have made it too hard. When we glimpse eternity, we see what His design was meant to be. This present existence is meant to be easy, stress-free. We are designed to live, love, and dream. When the hard interferes, we don’t see interference, we see an existence that is meant to be hard and laborious, taxing and exhausting. We don’t see the original intention. The original design was meant to be easy but was severed by sin. This design was perfected in Christ. Eternity had come to Earth and easy was restored. Through Him, sweet rest is the norm. Thinking on Earth should be like thinking in Heaven. When we understand the original design, we can understand how to live sweat-free.