Yesterday, I was anxious and tired. I was irritable, uneasy and edgy. It was one of those days that I wasn't feeling 100% and I truly wanted to be isolated from the rest of the world... perhaps tucked away in a bookstore with a cup of tea or curled up in my bed with the shades all drawn. But alas, I had to work. I had meetings and obligations. My day was full and I had to produce. Nonetheless, I felt so raw to the idea of being in the presence of others that my skin actually felt like a sunburn. I had no sense of humor. I felt beaten down and weary. I simply was not at peace...
So, what do you do when you are weary, anxious and in need of a break? Where do you find peace... and is it acceptable to seek such peace?
Thankfully, Jesus gives us the answer in Mark 6:31-33. Christ told his busy disciples to stop what they were doing and, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
Thank you, Lord!! How wonderful to have Jesus validating to us that it is OK to stop and smell the roses!!! Most women (myself included) are so busy burning the candle at both ends that they forget to seek Him for the freedom of relief and restoration. They put their needs last, justifying that the concept of loving others means turning themselves into a doormat to be stepped all over and trampled upon. This couldn't be farther from the truth. We are to seek Christ in these times and STOP! We are to be still and know Him as our God. It seems simple, but it can be so hard to do.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus appeals to his disciples to, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." God expects us to take time to rest. To stop. To breathe in and out. To regroup. It is healthy and necessary for us... and it allows us to be more effective for Him.
I'm reminded of when Chuck and I fly together. At the beginning of every trip, the flight attendants are required to do their presentation as to what passengers should do in case of an emergency. I can almost recite it by heart, "In the event the cabin loses pressure, an oxygen mask will come down from the ceiling..." They always take care to instruct passengers who are traveling with a small child to first put the oxygen mask over their heads... then over their child's. Why? In the real world, not attending to your child first in a crisis seems cruel. But in this situation, if the parent does not secure their oxygen mask first, they could pass out while in the process of attending to their child. Such a decision could put both the parent and child's life in serious jeopardy.
The same concept to care for ourselves is true. In the midst of sharing the Gospel, Jesus pulled His disciples away to stop and breathe. By doing this, He teaches us that sometimes it is necessary, and acceptable, to vacate with Him to a quiet place with the intent to refresh our spirit. (Vacation = vacating!!!)
When we take time to pause and care for our needs, we are putting aside the worry and pride of "doing it all" and submitting our life, and the lives of those we love, over to God's providence. When we worship Him in our stillness, we are acknowledging that we cannot assume the weight of the world on our shoulders. Instead we are laying our cares on the altar and trusting Him to provide... believing that He is in control and will allow all things to work together according to His purpose and in His timing. We then return more capable, alert and ready to serve.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalms 62:5-8)
Today, I am slowing my pace and removing myself from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Today, I am on vacation. I am taking to heart my Lord's welcoming call to, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Please don't misunderstand, ordinarily I am greatly blessed by my family and work and the opportunity to share and serve others. But my anxiousness yesterday was a symptom. It showed me that I need a break. Rather than ignore such a symptom, I choose to recognize that I need to stop and be in solitude with my Comforter... alone. I choose to allow my Healer to care for me. For I do not wish to be anxious or heavy burdened or edgy. I wish to be filled. I wish for peace. I wish for the fullness I can only find with my Savior. So, today, I am taking the day off to regroup, relax and worship. How wonderful.
Ladies, please do not allow anxiety to rob you of your spirit. When it becomes increasingly evident that you need to stop... STOP! Rest in the Lord. If you need a break, make arrangements to take one as quickly as possible. You are no use to anyone if you are not revived and at peace. Do not let yourself pass out from lack of oxygen because you are trying so hard to serve others. Take the necessary steps to breathe in solitude with the Prince of Peace. Jesus wants you to take care of yourself when you are in need of refreshment. Remember to take time out to be with your Holy Comforter. In Him, be calm... be still... be quiet... be.
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