I was talking to my son, Joel, on the phone today. “I am tired down to my toenails,” I quipped when he asked how I was doing. When we are drained on a regular basis by our family, spouse, friends, circumstances, we sometimes begin to see ourselves reacting in unhealthy ways. Sometimes anger or grumpiness at the smallest things, or crying and feeling sad or just feeling like we will never be able to complete the tasks that are in front of us.
Sometimes, when we have piles of responsibility on our plate, we start to place a lot of energy, worry and fear into the issues of our lives and fret. The last thing that seems productive when life is busy is to rest. Yet, rest may very well be the most strategic thing to do if we have a busy, full and demanding life.
Yet, I have learned that in the marathon of life, if I don’t take care of myself when I am depleted, life will get even harder.
In light of my past very busy years, I have observed that I have not lived a “Sabbath Rest” life. I have not made time for weekly slowing down (sometimes family circumstances seem to make this impossible), and I have not placed margin in my life to refresh. It is a commitment of mine to take care of myself. So after a very rigorous few weeks, I have decided I may have to go “Dark” for just a bit—at least, I may have to take some time off from ministry and commitments to be able to stay healthy in the long run.
Oddly, our whole family has been plagued with respiratory infections and asthma, one after the other, as well as a bout with the stomach flu. So, dear friends, I will be back eventually—(Maybe!)—but I have prepared some podcasts for you and some articles. Pray for me to have space to refresh and renew, as that I have so much I want to do in the future and want to hear God’s priorities.
The following is from some thoughts I have shared before about why we need to make time to take care of ourselves. Hope you can apply it to your own life.
If we do not practice a habit of a restful life, we will end up with serious illness, exhaustion, bad attitudes and fist shaking faith aimed heavenly.
As I have said before, "Fretting leads only to evil doing."
God put Sabbath Rest into the weeks of our lives with a purpose. I have found that when I believe and engage my heart in the goodness of God's character, and put out of my mind, after praying, all that I am carrying and just seek to be still and find joy, I see the miracles bubbling up slowly, surely, as He, my Father, delights to provide.
However, a Martha heart is want to see the miracles, as she is so busy living in the whirlwind of her own meek provisions, she loses all hope and becomes a wretched nag.
The more exhausted I am with life, the more tense, grumpy and tight I become and it spills all over everyone else.
Finding myself at a juncture of exhaustion from giving all that I had last weekend (Thursday-Sunday) to the sweet, wonderful women in my home, I find that somehow when I try to figure out all of the responsibilities of the next few months, which are huge, I am tempted to be overwhelmed.
Yet, from so many times like this in the past, I have learned a secret. My Prince Jesus comes to me at just the right time, but like the story of Sleeping Beauty, the prince comes, not when she is searching the horizon, pounding her fists, running the floor, but when she is doing nothing but resting.
Resting in Him, choosing peace and putting off responsibilities and recreating is sometimes such grand medicine for my soul, that after choosing to rest and to invest in fun and love and ease of life, my strength is renewed and all issues are able to be faced with grace. I know September is coming, but I will face it with courage if I rest today.
And so today, my plan is to go back to bed, to pace leisurely through the pathway of Monday, to sip and really taste my coffee, to just sit and listen to my sweet girls, and focus on the beauty of their light filled eyes, to stay in comfy clothes all day, to read and pray, and then maybe to rest again, because I know that while I am resting, my Prince is already coming to my rescue.
Peace, be still, the Lord is near.