As I write, I'm coming off of a long Christmas break. (I love working at a school!). These weeks provided time for Megan and me to drive to Southern CA from Austin, TX to visit family. One way it's about a 19-hour drive. When we shared our plans to drive and not fly, we had a lot of "you're serious?" looks.
One reason we chose to drive was that we wanted to avoid the insanity of holiday airports during a pandemic. But if this Christmas of 2021 proved anything, we were simply overreacting. The airports were calm, cool, collected.
Another reason we drove to CA, and didn't fly, is that Megan and I love the hours in the car together. We catch up, laugh, reminisce. We actually do a lot of reminiscing. My favorite question to ask her is, "Where's your favorite place we've lived?" We've moved a lot, so I'm glad she plays along and doesn't just smack me.
As we move at 80+ on the interstate, it's joyous to see the landscape change before our eyes. Here are a few pics from our journey.
The long drive allowed me time to process and reflect on the past few months. I've always found this as one of the key ways to recharge for the next season.
Time away from work and the regular rhythms remind me of an important creative principle: people are most creative when at rest. Rest is like a superhighway for fresh ideas while anxiety and exhaustion cause terrible traffic jams. When we’re not rested physically, we often experience unrest emotionally and spiritually.
A MAN OF REST
In 1 Chronicles, there’s a curious bridge from rest to creativity in Solomon. The context is the construction of God’s Temple. God foretells that Solomon will build this place of worship and he will be a “man of rest.”
Notice that God is the one who makes Solomon a “man of rest.” God “will give him rest” from his enemies; God will “give peace and quiet to Israel” (22:9). Because of God, Solomon will successfully oversee the construction of the Temple, organizing a multitude of artisans and artists and engineers.
But, if we’re honest, rest isn’t always easy to find. Maybe it's from the pandemic or young kids at home or stress from work or financial difficulties or . . . just living in a fallen world.
Sleep helps. Community helps. Experts help.
But human beings are hard-wired to look for lasting rest. Rest that transcends a good night sleep or a season away from the job.
What we really need is The Man of Rest; the one who whispers, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28).
At Regents School of Austin in the Fine Arts Department, I chose rest as our year-long theme, so I've spent a lot of time pondering and discussing this idea from a number of different angles.
REST IS NOT
At first rest seems to carry the idea of non-activity, or maybe laziness. And it can be that. But when I think about Solomon, a man of rest, he was anything but inactive. In this season of rest, he was actively overseeing the construction of the Temple, a massive creative feat.
Rest also isn't ease or the absence of problems. Yes, God gave Solomon rest from his enemies, but I can promise you that building the Temple, wrangling all of those artists was anything but conflict-free.
A few months ago, I started following a visual artist on Instagram who has an incredible way of capturing truths from a different perspective. I love how Anthony Gurrola unpacks the idea of rest.
The presence of God.
Yes, now we're getting to the heart of true rest. The Temple for Israel symbolized the place in which God would focus his presence. But, as you know, there were strict regulations on how the people were to go in and out of this place.
But in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, those regulations are gone. It's nicely detailed in the book of Hebrews. While at one point, running into the presence of God via the Holy of Holies would mean immediate death, now in in the person of Christ, it means rest. How incredible it is that God calls us to come to Him!
Creative person, if you are weary, you have a call to enter the presence of God. This doesn't mean all your problems will fade but that you are in the arms of the same God who created the world in six days and then rested (Gen 2:2); the same God who died, resurrected, and now rests at the right hand of the Father (Heb 12:2).
No one knows rest better than God. He, alone, is the source of true and lasting rest.
My prayer for myself, as well as for you, is that God would make us instruments of rest. As we engage in creativity, whether that's writing or drawing or sewing or teaching or raising children, may we be clearly marked by rest, and may we be a people who clearly, and undeniably, point to The Man of Rest.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Dane Bundy is President of Stage & Story and Director of Fine Arts at Regents School of Austin, a classical Christian school in Austin, TX.