Untangling the Wires

Don’t look behind my TV.  It’s a fine TV – not as big as some, but it does play Lakers games in stunning HD and we are grateful to have the technology.  Every now and then, I need to move the TV for some reason – and invariably I will find a Chinese puzzle of wires and chords and dust.  Each time I vow to simplify the system and then a few months later, I find myself with the same tangled dusty mess.  Where does dust come from anyway?

Talking about the contented heart, puritan author, Jeremiah Burroughs suggested that the contented heart is “opposed to distracting, heart consuming cares.”  He continues, “A gracious heart so esteems its union with Christ and the work that God sets it about that it will not willingly suffer anything to come in to choke or deaden it.”

The idea here is that a contented man or woman puts first things first.  The myriad of things that need to get settled in my heart before I settle down and set my heart on the Lord is an exhaustive list.

Email checked

Facebook checked

Words with friends words made and victory assured

Fantasy Football team checked – make sure no injuries and consider how to improve team

Feel guilty about not working out more

This excludes the usual cares of parenting, husbanding, doing well at work, Laker games, soccer games, softball games…

The contented heart is an undistracted heart.  Are you listening TV?  In this ADD world, where music is constantly going, information is constantly flowing, sports talk radio is always on in my car and kids who never stop requesting…there is little room in my life to be still – to quiet my soul.

Psalm 32:9 “Do not be as the horse or mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they would not come to you.”

Psalm 62:1 “Only in God is my soul at rest”

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Rest for my soul.  That sounds delicious.  But too often, I find myself in the position of horse and mule.   Stubborn, like my son who I know needs to rest but doesn’t.  How many times have I known that I am exhausted and ready for bed, but I pick up the remote and flip through channels looking for entertainment?  Jerry Seinfeld quipped that the last part of the body to fall asleep is in fact the finger that works the remote.

The discontented soul is distracted and weary from all the distractions while at the same time helplessly addicted to them.

So I am open to suggestions as a restless mule in recovery, I could use your help.  How have you been successful at unplugging, removing distractions, settling your heart and enjoying soul satisfying rest in God?

About Mike Berk

A father of three, husband of one, worshiper of God - one blessed man.
Christian Living, Contentment, Religion, rest

5 responses to Untangling the Wires

  1. Tyler Moser

    I wish i did this more often, but my most restful experiences have come from my meditations on Psalm 127:1-2. Unless the Lord is building the house I labor in vain, unless the Lord is watching over the city, I watch in vain. It is vain that I rise early and go to bed late, eating the bread of anxious toils. Sometimes, when I find myself thinking of the things i need to do, and feeling this sense of urgency to do them because i need to get them done or else i won’t be of value to my community or be able to be used by God, or whatever the reason, by the grace of God I have been able to just stop working at whatever it is, and say to the Lord “I trust that you work when i don’t, please grow my heart to trust you more because I am anxious and distrust you often.” When i am anxious about work that needs to be done, it is because i don’t trust that God is able to work without me, or that his timing is perfect. Those are some of the best times of rest i’ve ever had, and i pray that i experience that more often. Obviously it is a paradox because there is a practicality of getting work done on time, but trusting in the Lord is key in all work and rest.

    • Mike Berk

      Thanks Tyler, yes, anxiety and theology are directly linked, aren’t they? Pretty much most sin is reflected by something we are not believing about God. Piper said in one of his books (or was it all of his books?) that the reason we covet, for example, is because at some point, we don’t trust God to provide what we need or for him to be enough. It’s the same with anxiety and you nailed it there. So you’re saying your best rest has been when you’ve become aware of your own unbelief and have meditated on the truth that God is in control – is that right? Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Sam

    Argh. This is SO HARD! Especially when you have a job that you could do 24 hours a day if you allowed it! You’re a husband and father on top of that, so I’m sure you could work 90 hours a day if you allowed!

    I don’t know how this could work as a parent, but something I found helpful is putting restful/refreshing times in my schedule and committing to it in the same way I would commit to an appointment with someone else. If I have nowhere I need to be, I could clear my inbox or write thank you cards for hours. But if I have it in my calendar to read a for-fun book, I have to close my laptop because otherwise, I’ll be late for my “appointment” with my book.

    And if I’m in my designated rest time and suddenly remember something I need to do, instead of doing it right then, I’ll put it in my calendar to do later. So I can trust it will get done, but it doesn’t have to happen right then.

    At one point in the school year, Steven and I even scheduled 30-minute chunks of time when we’d both be home and just talk!

    I’d love to hear how you and Jen make rest and each other a priority because it’s already so hard even without kids. How do you do it with 3?

    • Mike Berk

      Hey Sam! Good questions. I think the reality is that I have time for what I value and the problem is the wickedness (or laziness) in my own heart that can become so wayward. I have plenty of time to rest in God. Being too busy isn’t the problem. It’s maintaining perspective and discipline to be busy with the right things. And it’s ultimately choosing to chillax in the Lord. I have plenty of time for Facebook and stuff.

      Hannah has this habit at bedtime of bringing up some random question right when I’m about to kiss her goodnight. She is hoping to lure me into conversation and stave off bedtime for a few more minutes. I am wise to this tactic. Usually it’s something about softball or pop culture – if she asked me something significant, she might have more success but she hasn’t figured that out yet. I am the same way. I twitter around and find all sorts of stuff to do instead of working out. And I find all sorts of stuff to do instead of quieting my soul before God.

      It is difficult to find that rest when I get home in the evenings, that’s for sure though, so I know having the kids around most of the day makes it hard for Jen too. I like your idea of scheduling your time with God or your rest as an appointment to keep. I have done this at times myself.

      Always good to hear from you.

  3. Pingback: When Ants Ruin Your Picnic (Contented Thoughts) | Mike and Jen Berk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *