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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lesson 6: A different kind of rest

Introduction to the lessons
Lesson 1
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Lesson 4
Lesson 5

Whilst I fully, FULLY understand people telling me to rest while I've been ill and whilst it was needed, and whilst I'd do the the same time, it wasn't just physical rest I needed. I'm not sure if I'm going to explain this one very well but I'll try!

You may remember (if not – point number two of this will remind you!) that just before I became ill I'd had a very busy stretch of about 10 days. Now, many people think that's why I got ill. I still dispute that! And I don't think it's coz I'm being stubborn. It's coz I know me.

A friend commented about a year ago something along the lines of me needing to do less because I'd always be stressed. I replied that whilst I may always be very busy, I was very rarely stressed. She replied that no, if I was always busy, then I must always be stressed. At which point another friend interjected that no, they'd noticed that whilst I always seemed busy, I wasn't stressed. There's a difference.

And there is. I know in myself that the only times when being busy makes me stressed is when I'm not giving it over to God. Being busy sometimes makes me tired, but that's different. Being busy all the time has only ever been a problem when I've ignored God telling me to rest (which, despite popular belief, is rarely) or not asked Him for the strength or not given everything over to Him and put Him first. For the most part I thrive on being busy – but that's only when I'm being busy in His strength. Everyone is different, and some people just get exhausted doing half of what I used to do...I'm not saying I'm special, just that everyone is different.

Anyway, back to the point at which I became ill. Whilst I was ridiculously busy, I was no busier than I have been on previous occasions. The difference was that I know my heart wasn't right before God. I was struggling through and letting the burdens of various circumstances weigh me down. And I wasn't putting God first. That's what exhausted me. It's a different type of exhaustion but it can and often does result in physical exhaustion.

If anything was 'the cause' of the infection that brought me to a very abrupt halt then it was that. Though I'm still not sure of the theology behind saying God caused me to be ill so much as saying God was in control of it. That's a whole other post. Maybe.

The point is that whilst I needed to rest physically, there was a deeper rest I needed – and I would have needed this rest whether I'd had that infection or not. My soul needed rest. I needed to come back home, to let my spirit be refreshed by His and lay all my burdens at His feet, letting Him take the load and letting me rest.

That's a deeper kind of rest, it's the rest we often ignore because physical rest is more obvious. But it's the rest we all need. Often. And not just when we're forced by physical tiredness, but (perhaps especially) when we're flying through life and feeling great. Because that won't continue if we don't learn to let go and let our souls don't find rest in Him.


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