A Dance in the Dark: How to Really Get the Rest You Need

by - January 15, 2014

Two nights ago, I put my head on my pillow and knew nothing else until the alarm went off at 5AM. I don't remember the last time that happened. I'm in my forties, you know.

An aching hip sometimes wakes me when I roll onto it during the night. I often peak at the clock when I pass through sleep cycles. 1:42. 4:17. This morning I woke up at 4:43 in anticipation of the alarm. There's a reason for the cliché "sleep like a baby."

So I went with it. I hit snooze and opted to forgo my sneakers and early morning workout.

Remember childhood when there was no responsibility, no tension, and  utter oblivion during the dark hours before dawn?


When I dropped my phone and the earphones came unplugged, it stopped the music from playing at the onset of my mile and a half this morning. Rather than reset my app, I draped the earbuds around my neck tucking them safely inside my sweatshirt and ventured into the quiet morning dew.

With room now to think, I rehearsed my work on yesterday's project, a small victory. I danced with today's possibilities and then tomorrow's. I tangoed again with a circumstance I'm not particularly happy with right now, one I have no power to change alone, a definite signal to change dance partners. So I asked God.

How many times do you pray that God will change your circumstances before you wonder if you are praying the right prayer?

Lord, help me rest right here then, right where you have me. I submit.

I dance on, thinking through goals, what's going well, what's not—responsibilities, worries, fears. These, too, are all tangled into the circumstances I don't like, and I wonder if I am to surrender them, too, like my retired earbuds resting over my shoulder. Yes, maybe God should shoulder these snarled concerns of mine.

Just then, God steps on my toes because I misstepped in our waltz. It happens every time I try to lead. He gathers me back into his arms and we begin again.

The hopes and burdens and fears are there to spur me onward—toward a new circumstance. I am to follow them, not surrender them; The tension has a purpose: it is my commission to walk into the darkness by faith. To dance even.

Rest in your trust of Me, not in your circumstances.

I am not in my circumstances; I am in Him. How could I forget?

God eases me closer with a strong, steady arm around the vulnerable small of my back. It straightens my posture making me beautiful, more beautiful. My hip doesn't hurt and I am wide awake.

The tension between trusting God in an unpleasant circumstance and the circumstance itself is where God wants me. This dance is play, not work. It is childlike rest and utter oblivion in the quiet darkness before dawn.

He leaves me spent, love-struck, and breathless—exactly where God wants me.

~Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.~
Matthew 11:28, NIV

Telling His Story today with Jennifer.

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  1. I used to always run with music until this past summer when my house was always loud with children and I just crave silence. And now, I've become accustomed to running with myself and with God. It's amazing what can pop in my head during these silent runs. I totally get what you are saying and I want to live in Him and not in my circumstances, too.

  2. How can we trust God, or even be thankful for Him, if He has never provided trials/hardships in which we needed to trust Him? Trials/frustrations which we ask Him to carry for us build our trust that He will be faithful. If we focus on Him instead of our circumstances, the path we walk becomes more pleasant. Thanks for this reminder, Dawn!

  3. "Rest in your trust of Me, not in your circumstances." A much needed reminder. Funny that i recently stopped running with music too. I can hear so much more in the quiet! Have a great day!

  4. spent, love-struck, and breathless ...

    That's a pretty awesome place to be.


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