Don't Crash Into the Wall3
by Michelle Hodges
Rest. Be still. Slow down. Take a break. Stop.
I’d be willing to bet that most of us are offended when one of those statements is directed at us. Why is that? Why are we so easily upset when someone tells us to stop? In our world full of energy drinks, Siri reminders, and digital to-do lists, “rest” is treated like a bad four-letter word.
Rest, physical and mental rest, is something I have really had to address and wrestle with these past two years. As I write this, I’m at home, propped up in bed, receiving the treatment that keeps me still for at least 24 hours, every two weeks. Without this regularly scheduled day, my body cannot function properly. Fatigue, migraines, and other illnesses are the very real results if I ignore or deviate from what my doctor has ordered. When I tell people about my treatment plan, I’m almost always met with looks of sympathy. Most people can’t believe that I must devote so much time to these infusions. In case you’re tempted to feel the same way, don’t. Don’t feel sorry for me. Instead, rejoice! Give thanks and praise with me! Because of this 24 hour period, I get 13 whole days of energy and strength. I get to really live my life again. I’m participating and no longer watching it all pass me by.
In these days of physical stillness, I’ve found that my mind needs the same rest. I have learned to capitalize on the moments and use them to focus on the Word. This is my time to recharge, my filling up, my mental recuperation. I now crave these quiet moments daily. I find myself looking forward to my one on one time with the Lord.
But, this brings me back around to my original question. Why do we hate being told to rest? Why do we resist so stubbornly? We know that it’s good for us. Are we afraid of the stillness, what we might find in the quiet? I can honestly say that yes, I was and still am afraid of what the quiet might reveal. My pride tells me that only I can do what needs doing. Only my actions can attain the preferred result. But, in the rare quiet moments that break through, the Spirit gently scolds me:
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23: 1-3
“The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:14
One would think that this gentle scolding would be all I needed to take notice and relent. Nope. Not me. I’m going to run and do and act until I literally cannot anymore.
For the entire month of April, I was operating at a speed I haven’t been able to reach for many years. Parents of school age kids know very well that the spring is a time of barely contained chaos. Throw in a major immune deficiency and an allergy list that basically says, “Don’t go outside”, and you have my perfect storm. I never slowed down. I ignored all the warning signs and flashing yellow lights. I didn’t just hit a wall, I smashed that wall and then was buried and suffocated by all the bricks. My reward for all this action was three days of fever, migraines, and fatigue so crushing that I dozed off twice on the way home from school drop off one morning. Like I said, crushed that wall. And then in true Michelle fashion, I had the nerve to question God on why He kept letting these things happen to me. I kept asking why He had disappeared so suddenly. Why would he give me the thing I longed for and then take it back so suddenly?
During my week long pity party about my weaknesses, inadequacies, and inability to keep going, I had a lot of silence. I had A LOT of time to think. How providential was it that Richard preached Sunday on rest in the Savior? Instead of resting and rejoicing over Jesus’s provision of health and strength, I used my time racing around the world seeking gratification and sense of worth in a laundry list of things I can’t even remember. Instead of stopping to offer praise and give thanks over such a precious gift, instead of seeking guidance on how to best use my energy, I squandered it all away and accomplished nothing.
And then Sunday happened. Richard told us pride is the anti gospel. The praise team sang words of conviction that caused me to bow my head and fight back tears. On Monday, my infusion had to be moved up to accommodate travel plans for Channing. The time for ignoring was over. I HAD to face the truth. I needed rest, the right kind of rest. It is the most basic, beautiful, simple, freeing truth: My Jesus, my Savior, is my rest. He is my only hope. He is the only real peace.
Friends, learn from my mistakes. Slow down before you have your own pile of debris to dig out of. Your Savior hasn’t left you. He is always with us, even in the chaos, but there is nothing sweeter than meeting Him in the quiet for a time to rest and listen.
“Our hearts are restless
Until they find You.
Our hearts are restless
Until they find You
This is where my hope lies.
This is where my soul sighs.
I will always find my rest in You.”
-Rest in You- All Sons and Daughters