“My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14Sometimes I am just tired.
The exhaustion is typically fleeting; I know better than to allow myself to camp out in the negative thoughts of “woe is me”. My mind is trained to focus on the positive when I get tired or lonely.
But every once in a while I am so busy I fail to realize how tired I really am. When in a period of unacknowledged weariness, as I am chugging along with my daily responsibilities, oblivious to the time needed for true rest, tears will unexpectedly leak. I am so distracted trying to be the best me I can be at work, in our home, with ministering to others, I can fail to pause and really feel those under the surface emotions. Driving down the road, on my millionth errand of the day, not even thinking about him or the reality of widowhood…tears randomly fall from my eyes. It is strange. I am not sobbing. I wouldn’t even classify it as crying, really. Yet my eyes drip salty liquid of their own accord.
It’s as if my body is begging me to slow down and rest.
For the first few months after his passing, I suffered intensive physical grieving. There were sharp pains with each intake and exhale of breath, deep cutting twinges in my chest (doctors clinically describe this as a broken heart), full body joint aches, and a lot of fatigue. It was excruciating and surreal. I’m unsure of when the attacks subsided, but with time they did. Just like my body knows when the 11th rolls around each month, even when I am oblivious to the date on the calendar. He passed away on the 11th and since then I have found myself being more easily frustrated and on edge each month during that time. It took me over a year to connect those dots and learn to control my responses; but like my body responds to dates subconsciously, so too does it know when I am overdoing it and need rest.
I was driving yesterday and my eyes did their odd little leaking thing. Then again this morning as I was on mile four of a ten mile training run, they briefly started back up. Stopped and reoccurred around mile seven. I am void of emotion when this happens. It is typically when my mind is free of detailed thinking; which is one of the reasons why I run in the first place, to clear my mind and just exist.
We speak a lot in this ministry of moving forward, walking in grace, choosing to really be alive and present in this life we are blessed with. And we should. We should absolutely be actively working towards all of those goals.
But we also need rest.
Our bodies will tell us when we are pushing too hard. But are we listening? We do ourselves a disservice to be stuck in a cycle of pity, refusing to do the work for self-improvement; likewise, we also do ourselves a disservice when we neglect resting.
We are in this for the long haul. Our loss will never be left behind. It takes its toll on every portion of our being. It affects us spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Consequently, we must remember to tend to our physical needs. Exercise and fresh air are important. Strengthening and stretching are vital. Daily time sitting still in God's presence and listening for His voice are crucial.
And rest is necessary.
However you find it. Whatever it looks like for you. A nap, soaking in a bath, sitting alone in silence...find what works for you and let Him give you REST from the inside out.