I’ve been burning the candle at both ends since early 2023. The most significant stressor is we moved from our home of twenty-two years and downsized considerably. All kinds of stress come with moving beyond the physical exertion it takes.
At the end of July, my body decided it had endured enough and made the decision for me to embrace the need to stop. I ended up in the hospital for three days, with weeks of rest following at home.
Rest is a funny thing. We work so hard each day that we count anything that is not work to be fun, and we call that fun rest. We justify exhausting ourselves on vacation because it is the only break, or rest, from reality, we will see for a few months. I say “we” not because everyone does this but because I’m having trouble accepting that “I” did this. It’s easier to put it in the context of everyone.
Humor me. I’m healing.
I took what I thought to be three days’ rest but learned rest and sleep are not the same. There is a difference unless sleep is truly what your body needs. Even after sleeping 21 out of 24 hours for three straight days, and then getting more sleep in a hospital bed for three additional days, I still couldn’t do what I expected. My husband was out of the country, so I called my sister, who came to stay with me.
At first, she needed to remind me to slow down, sit down, and lie down. Not constantly moving is a foreign concept for me. Don’t get me wrong, I can veg with the best, but it is short-lived. It makes sitting and writing difficult at times. When I was physically tired in the evenings, my sister suggested we go for a swim.
When I go to the pool, it is usually with the grandboys, and I’m exhausted afterward. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect. How could making my body tired when I was already at a deep exhaustion level be helpful? But I obeyed and listened to my nurse sister’s wisdom.
I walked in the water while she swam laps. Another lady was sidewalking, so I joined her. She was a former high-school math teacher, and we chatted while strolling. We had a lovely time together, and I made a new friend. My mind rested by focusing on another, and my body rested by getting gentle movement. I also slept ten hours that night.
It wasn’t just the rest I needed. It was a complete restoration.
The definition of the word restoration means the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. I needed not just to sleep and stop everything but to get myself back to its former state…or, in this case, improved condition.
But it wasn’t only my physical self that needed restoration. My spirit needed it as well.
My sister and I sat over a peppermint tea and discussed what revives our souls. Music came to mind quickly. The old hymns have a healing balm that gets deep into the crevices. Daily devotions or getting into God’s Word is imperative to our spiritual restoration. As is corporate worship with the body of Christ.
That one opened a considerable discussion about how wonderful it is to be in fellowship with other believers who are as imperfect as we are, which reminded us of the importance of individual friendship. We may not share our most profound heart issues in a large group, but find that one flawed friend who gets you, and you’ve struck gold.
I have a few of those friends, and I’m so thankful for them. They’ve checked in on me, brought meals, and offered anything I needed, which brings me to another form of restoration—allowing others to serve you. When we allow others to help carry our burden and walk beside us, we allow someone to be the hands and feet of Jesus. That may be what they need to restore their soul. I sure would hate to be the one to squelch the Spirit in a friend’s heart because I was too proud to allow them to meet me in my time of need.
“One who stays stubborn after many corrections will be suddenly broken, beyond healing.” Proverbs 29:1
I also recognize God has provided me with an opportunity to adjust course. He’s given several warnings that I’ve ignored—no more. I never want to get beyond His healing touch. Listening to and heeding God’s voice is imperative to keep my heart soft toward Him.
“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment and learn again to exercise his will—his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.” Albert Schweitzer
This new lifestyle isn’t always fun, but if I genuinely desire healing, I must be willing to do whatever God asks of me.
“Do you wish to get well?” John 5:6
Do I? This is what my Lord is asking of me. I can complain and say there is no one to take me to the healing pool, or I can obey and pick up my mat. I’m not used to it. I don’t care for it. It’s outside my comfort zone. I’m leaving behind what I know and learning a new lifestyle. But I’m obeying.
If I desire to live a life of wellness, I must be willing to do whatever is needed to get and stay well.
It is my responsibility.
If you don’t know where to start in your own journey to healing, consider James 5:13-16. These verses are the only place in the Epistles that tell us what to do if we are sick—PRAY. That is something we can each do at any stage of health decline. Whether alone or, as James instructs us to call the church elders, it doesn’t matter. God makes it our responsibility to seek His healing.
For me, rest and restoration will be a journey of all things in moderation. Less rigid and more flexible while living under the grace of God and enjoying life. Instead of strict rules that dictate my daily behavior, God has given me His Spirit to guide me into truth, enabling me to live a liberated life in Christ.
So, for today, I make moment-by-moment decisions for a healthier me. Emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I have hymns playing in the background, spaghetti squash cooling on the stove, and my bathing suit laid out for my evening exercise. I’ve spent time in the Word and meditated on it all day to write this blog post.
I’ve allowed my sister to love on me by prepping salads for the week, doing my dishes, and vacuuming my rugs. There was an hour-long nap, time outside watering plants, and quiet time listening to a Christian audiobook. I connected with friends at yoga this morning, laughed, and relished the gift I have been given with this new home in the perfect community for me.
Finding what restores you is essential. My unexpected rest was an unexpected gift.
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What will you do today to restore your health? I’d love to hear. Please leave a note in the comments below.
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