So it’s been a rather hectic few weeks and I have felt like we haven’t stopped much so am very glad to be spending a few days in the beautiful village of Polzeath, Cornwall. The day before we left I sat down to write my blog as I try to do it weekly. I was so tired and I couldn’t think straight. I had a splitting headache and was desperately trying to keep a cold at bay, and I was forcing myself to put on the laptop and start writing. After a few moments I had to stop myself, turn off the computer and go to bed. It’s easy to overdo it and push our bodies to the limit and then get frustrated when we get run down, especially on holiday. I am still learning the ongoing importance to listen to my body and to know when to stop. I believe that rest was always part of God’s plan for us. Genesis say that ‘on the seventh day he rested from all his work’. It’s good to work and to be fruitful with what we do, but we also need to relax so that we are restored and refreshed enough to be able to go back to our everyday activities.
Learning to switch off is something I have struggled with since being a teenager. I suffered a breakdown brought by anxiety and depression breakdown. Through this I ended up having to miss a lot of school which led to me having to retake the year. As I tried to work through this anxiety and constant worrying I got into the habit of constantly doing things. This was to stop me thinking too much and getting anxious. So as I curled up to watch a film I would have to be painting a picture, or knitting or writing something, if I went for a walk I had to be constantly taking photos. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when it becomes obsessive, like it did with me, when you can’t sit and just be, or relax and unwind, then it can become very unhealthy.
As I got older this issue got complicated as the desire to prove myself became more of an issue. Looking back it was this desperate need for acceptance, in a nutshell I knew about Gods love for me but hadn’t completely understood it and accepted it and experienced it in all aspects of my life.
Being a Christian I was desperate to serve God and be a good witness and to share God’s love. It was easy to look at verses at us being called to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Mark 12vs31) and to focus on needing to be loving, accepting and merciful to others. For a long time I overlooked the bit where it talked about loving myself. By never stopping I was running myself into the ground. I ended up getting glandular fever which never got diagnosed and this led on to five years of ME/CFS. It didn’t matter to me that I was unwell, I just had to keep on living for God and trying to help others and push myself to the limits. I was so desperate to prove myself to God and to show Him I could be a kind, loving and good Christian that I missed the point. That point was God’s grace – the fact that we are saved fully through God sending his one and only son, Jesus, to the world to live, die and rise again. I finally realised that it’s not what I do, nor say nor how I live, nor something that can be earned, but something that simply has to be accepted. God loves me just as I am, whether that is well or ill, broken or complete, happy or sad. He loves me and accepts me. As I have started to understand that more I have realised that I need to take better care of myself and to love myself. If I don’t know how to look after myself and respect my body, pace myself and love myself, how can I expect to know how to love others?
So part of that is learning how to switch off. So this week I am trying to put down my camera, phone, notepad, computer and take some time just to sit by the rocks and watch the waves or walk by the sea and to listen to the sea, feel the breeze and spend some time with God allowing him to bring restoration and rest to my weary soul and body. I pray the words from my song ‘Restore my soul’ – ‘Lord please restore my soul, renew me and make me whole, fill me with your peace untold, would you restore my soul’
I pray you have a blessed week, remember to take some time just to rest and relax – to be still and know that God loves you.