"In quietness and rest shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:15
Tonight, with all my kids in town and 7 of us at every meal, I was crazy for a few minutes! I asked 20 other people over for a casual friendship dinner so my kids could see some old family friends. Somehow we actually got all the food together, and every ate and had lots of fun.
But each mom here, each friend, commented at different ties throughout the night, "I am so exhausted! I am so weary and it just seems like life never stops!"
Funny enough, I found an article from just about exactly one year ago--where I was--SURPRISE--tired! And so I give you my admonition that spoke to me again tonight. Read the article and then Take some time to rest!
Have you ever had a child who, late in the evening started going ballistic over seemingly nothing at all? Then a fit of loud wailing began and then suddenly, in almost a moment, said child almost passed out in deep sleep! Then you responded, "Oh, she (or he) was just exhausted and needed to go to sleep." And you promised yourself that next time you would be more aware of the signs and vigilant to put the child to bed earlier.
Well, slowly, I am learning to read my own signs. Each of us has our own puzzle. Mine is very different from most because of our ministry, travel and writing, added to the other piles of responsibility of taking care of my family. Very few friends I know live my kind of life, or my puzzle, so I cannot compare or live under the same standards as them.
I am not feeling so strong lately. My spirit is more likely to complain. My body is a little bit more than tired. My perspective is cloudy. From many years of living through various seasons, I am learning to monitor myself when signals suggest I have been overloaded for too long. Just like the baby in the above example, God has allowed our bodies to speak to us.
Instead of worrying about my spiritual life, or living in self-condemnation, or pondering deep things, I am more likely to look at my physical needs, and then I realize--I need to make some sabbatical days this summer!
Recently, somewhere, deep in the night hours, cuddled up under my covers, much to my sweet relief, I awakened and it seemed there was a smile in my soul---almost like I was a little girl again, free of the burden of responsibilities, light as a cloud, smiling in the soft warmth of my covers with a sense of excitement, "all is well and good things are awaiting" sort of feeling. A pleasant feeling emerged from my heart, "I am resting, living in peace, restoring and it is good."
So often, we give and give and give and then wonder why we become grumpy or short in patience. But, God has put rhythms into our lives to remind us just how much we need our bodies to go completely away from the stress of the day in order to cope with the demands of life.
The day has a cycle about it--so many hours of light and darkness. In the light we can see to read, to work, to be active--but darkness was to be a signal of closing the day and its duties off.
Sabbath was also instigated by God to remind us to stop, to put aside work, to put aside the frenzy, to rest and cultivate peace and to restore.
In our 24/7 world, with false lights to keep us up and working all hours of the day, 24 hours of internet, 24 hours of tv, cars with lights that can travel all hours, etc., we lose the concept of rest and refreshing.
No wonder there are so many stress diseases--heart, obesity, thyroid problems, nervous disorders, depression, mental disorders, and emotional disorders. We are busy all the time, guilty for all we do not get done and wearing ourselves out.
I realized many years ago that I was becoming very ill from so much push, push and work, work, work. I also realized that no one else was going to take responsibility for my health and well-being but me.
One of the reasons moms yell at their children is that they never get a break. Grumpiness and anger comes from pushing, pushing, pushing.
An hour of rest and getting away was a regular rhythm in our home. Every afternoon, I put a pot of tea to boil and poured out cups of tea, or little sippy cups of juice or whatever seemed good, and everyone learned, by training to go to their "places" for a personal time. (More on how I accomplished that later.) I could not have done without my hour in the day.I trained my children to it early and it gave me the ability to have a one woman tea time.
I also, committed to Sabbath rest on Sundays--closed all of my "work" on Saturday and did not pick it up until Monday. It was all still there when I got back to it, but the world did not fall apart when I did not work on Sunday--but, I was much more able to keep up the demands of my life when I took off and made Sunday a day or worship, rest, pleasure, fun and naps for me.
Work and travel chases me every day, demands my life's blood. But, I rule over this force that would overcome me.
Stop. Put it all aside. Rest.
My mind needs it, my body needs it, my spirit needs it. But as a woman who is attempting to grow in maturity in the Lord, I have had to be intentional about being sure that I include rest, refueling, restoration and inspiration into my own personal life-not just once in a while, but regularly so that I can keep going and going and going.
People deplete me all the time, every day, wherever I go. But if I want to last for many more years of giving out and being in ministry and meeting my children's and husband's needs, I must pace myself.
And so, though there are many letters to answer, piles to organize, rooms to clean, groceries to shop for, people to call back, ad infinitum, I will lay them all in the file folders of heaven for God to keep. I have learned that they will all still be here tomorrow, and that God wants me to leave my burdens alone--as He is the father, I the toddler and He will indeed work in all of my circumstances without my help. But if I take responsibility to take care of my own heart and soul, I will last much longer, much better, and even have peace and quietness if I take time to rest.
And so, when I stop, my soul smiles a little more.
May your soul smile very soon.