The house on the corner of River and Market Street was located across the street from an elementary school. The playground in the front lacked a fence which I accepted as an open invitation to escape the heat and cigarette smoke of my grandparents’ house. As a young girl, the merry-go-round was my favorite. Bracing my small frame against the metal bar, I leaned my weight against the heavy contraption. My feet followed the circular path worn into the dirt. At first, it was nearly too heavy for me to move but as the speed increased centripetal force took over and it spun round and round. Making the leap, I hopped on and watched the world swirl past my vision causing me to suppress an immediate urge to retch. I have always loved the feel of wind in my hair but the thrill only lasted a few seconds. Prone to motion sickness, the spinning quickly made me want off, but it was moving too fast. If I jumped I would surely fall and likely scrape my knees. If I stayed on I would soon vomit. I thought this was going to be fun, but I wanted to stop. I didn’t know how.
Exodus 34:21, “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.” NIV
MORE THAN A METAPHOR
This vividly describes a childhood memory as well as my life in general. I lived by the motto, “Work hard. Play hard.” Clearly, I met that goal. Everyone who loved me thought I should slow down. Though I knew they were right, I didn’t know how. The merry-go-round kept picking up unrelenting speed and whirling faster and faster until it made me sick. Chronic sleep deprivation, suppressed stress and my neglect of rest finally took a physical toll on my body.
Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” KJV
THEN I WAS THROWN OFF
I literally crashed and burned. My busy career as an obstetrician ended, my passion for exercise and cycling wasted, my life in perpetual overdrive was replaced by Chronic stILLNESS. God blessed me with a year of mandated Sabbath rest, my own personal Jubilee. It should have been devastating, yet His presence was more valuable than any of my accomplishments. Instead of punishment it felt like Divine love. Gaining His Presence was worth losing everything.
Leviticus 25:4, “But there will be a Sabbath of complete rest for the land in the seventh year, a Sabbath to the Lord: you are not to sow your field or prune your vineyard.” HCSB
BUSYNESS BRAGSBusyness is not a badge of honor #stressless #Sabbath #rest Click To Tweet
- I can’t take your phone call, I am in a meeting TOO BUSY
- I can’t come to Bible study, my kids play ball TOO BUSY
- I can’t attend church, I am out-of-town TOO BUSY
- I can’t come visit, I have errands to run TOO BUSY
Why do we drive ourselves to the brink of insanity? Perhaps we think to be busy is to matter, to be important, to be in demand. Maybe we push ourselves to gain the applause of others or demonstrate our worth. What exactly are we trying to prove? Ultimately, I tried to control my world. If I worked hard enough, I could accomplish anything. At least that is what I believed until my body betrayed me.
Ezekiel 20:12, “And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the Lord, who had set them apart to be holy.” NLT
Myasthenia gravis is a permanent reminder for me to rest. God wants me to be dependent on Him for one simple reason: He is God and I am not. Rest is not optional when you live with chronic illness, neither is it a burden. Ultimately, it is a gift. He is teaching me to “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:29 MSG)
He is worthy.
He knows best.
He loves me.
Psalm 37:7, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” NASB
Are your surroundings blurred by the pace of your life? Slow down! There is peace in His presence.