Is it possible that you can need rest without realizing that you need rest? That you can become so desensitized to being weary in a busy, hurried, noisy world that you lose the capacity to even notice that you need rest and healing? Yes, I think it is…
I just thought about this recently, as the pace of my life has slowed way down…I noticed that this was a quiet time without distractions, and I began to pay more attention to placing the right value on a unique time like this…And then I began to notice some other small things…For example, during these slow days, in which no schedules demanded and no projects motivated, I’ve been puzzled to see how I get lots of rest but still feel tired by the end of the day. Not in that sluggish, “I slept too late” way, but just like someone who has run a marathon and finds themselves to tire more easily for a few days afterward. And then I still, inexplicably, found myself irritable, short-tempered as though I was constantly on the edge of weariness, mostly cheerful, but quickly tipped into aggravation. And then Joe noticed that, for the first time in a long time, stiffness and soreness in his joints was disappearing, that he was more flexible and more fully healed. Which was actually the “aha!” moment for me, when I said to Joe “This is a time of rest and healing for some reason!” We were both kind of like “I don’t know what I’m resting from, or what I need healing from”, but it did begin to dawn on me that it’s a fast-paced life we live, and maybe because of that, I had learned to live with it without ever noticing the impact.
Normal daily life is full of many tasks which we consider to be necessary but not enjoyable – work, chores, errands. Then we have to cram in some “fun” on nights and weekends. Usually when we go back to work on Monday, we’re just as tired from having fun on the weekend as we were on Friday after working all week!
But we don’t really notice, exactly – that’s just the way things go, “TGIF” and “just let me get through Monday” and “I need a vacation to rest after my vacation”! And I’ve been living that way my whole life, of course, because that’s normal. It’s no big deal really, and we’re all able to handle it of course, but I did begin to notice something after having all this time off…Something like a re-training of my long-ingrained habits. It reminded me of how, after Spencer’s allergy led us to make a major change in our foods, our long-ingrained eating habits changed. Ultimately, it has led us to follow the Lord’s promptings on food, which I know has made us much healthier. But it occurred to me that it would have been hard to hear His promptings above the noise of the cravings and habits that we had developed over the years. So it seems to me that maybe, when we set out to follow the Lord in an area of our lives, He first kind of helps us “re-calibrate” – because, in so many areas of our lives, what we consider to be “normal” or “necessary” is not lined up with God’s truth for us.
So my normal, busy days, with goals and activities and schedules and deadlines, is not actually the ideal standard of God’s rhythm for my life! And I think that maybe, as I was seeking to become more fully focused on God, He began healing some of my habits that I wasn’t even paying attention to, so that I could follow Him better. And it just tickles me that this was going on right under my nose, while I was thinking of other things during this time of waiting!
It’s like my threshold is being reset, so that I have a healthy understanding of work and rest, so that I will be able to actually hear the Lord’s promptings on working and resting and in the process, I think, to become a “better” worker and a “better” rester!
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” It is a beautiful rest, to be sure – kids playing, Joe carving spoons, birds chirping, and me soaking it all in!