Today I’d like to talk about physical rest.
I used to be quite the multi-tasker, but then I believe most women are very good at doing more than one thing at a time. It’s the way we’re wired. If we’re not working on at least two things at once, our minds are whirling with thoughts and ideas for what needs doing next. Some nights all those jumbled thoughts keep us from getting to sleep.
Can I get a high five here? Oh, sorry. You probably don’t have a free hand what with having to juggle all those tasks.
I can still remember when I was able to do about five things at the same time and actually wonder what else I could accomplish?
That was then. Fast forward to my “new normal.”
About twelve years ago, after many lab tests and doctors’ visits, I was told that my daily severe all-over pain and mind-numbing fatigue were the result of Fibromyalgia (FMS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). While I was somewhat relieved to have some kind of a name for what I was going through, my mind refused to believe it. I was only working part-time then—3 days a week for 4 hours a day—but it got to the point where I was spending all my days off recuperating from working those 4 hours the day before. And I was still a newlywed whose husband was probably wondering what he had gotten into!
Even when I finally quit my job, my mind still refused to wrap itself around the fact that I needed to change my habits. I remember that I quit working around mid-November and then spent the next month sewing Christmas gifts for my friends and family for hours and hours each day. By Christmas I was beyond exhausted and starting to realize I needed to rethink some things.
Easier thought than done.
What is is about resting that many of us have trouble with? Is it because we have never really learned how to rest? Could it be that we need to fill every minute with something because it keeps us from thinking too much? Or maybe we believe we’re worth more if we’re producing some kind of work all the time?
Chalk up that last one for me.
Except for a few years when my children were very young and a sabbatical in 1996, I had worked my whole adult life. When I was forced to stop working in 2000, I felt… worthless. I had always seen myself as proficient, reliable, hard-working—you know, a “can-do” kind of person. Someone everyone could always count on.
And that’s exactly when the Lord showed me that instead of relying on Him, I was relying on my own strength. And guess what? That strength was gone.
Beloved, maybe you see yourself in one or more of these scenarios. It’s okay. You can admit it.
Even though I was in denial for many years about this, I finally get it. Where before I could easily clean my entire house in a couple of hours, these days my house is never completely clean because I can only do one thing at a time and then I need to rest. I’m talking about sweeping the floor one day and wet mopping it the next (or the next) day, depending on how I’m feeling. Some days the only thing I can accomplish is nuking something for dinner.
And that’s okay!
My hubby is fond of quoting a line from a M*A*S*H episode to help me slow down:
“I do one thing at a time and I do it well.”
Next time we’ll talk about how physical rest goes hand-in-hand with emotional rest. For now, I’d like to remind you of this truth:
Praying for all of you…