As mentioned in my last post, a couple months ago I fell which resulted in a concussion. Concussions are serious and recovery is no joke. The first couple weeks were spent in a dark, quiet room with little to no outside interaction. No computer, phone, television or any type of screen time was allowed. No reading or cognitive activity was allowed. The only thing required was to rest. For some this may sound like a really simple thing to do. It may even sound like a ‘vacation’. To me it seemed like a punishment or mild torture.
I found myself overwhelmed with thoughts. No one thought and no one subject. My mind was like someone had opened the top of my head and dropped a billion little bouncy balls inside my head. Those balls bouncing everywhere were my thoughts…holy yoga, nephew’s pictures, dinner with my sister, holiday schedule, visit grandmother, skull in the neighbor’s yard, Bible study homework, nursery volunteers, chairs in the living room, women’s ministry program, encouragement card, bedding set for my daughter, anatomy of the brain, concussion care, business trip to San Diego, my next blog post, God’s purpose for the silliness, what’s hiding in your heart, mermaid tails, hidden talents, hidden junk, small group research, new life group, trunk ‘n treat, text to friend, new software, nursery procedures, beach getaway, new focus, etc. You get the idea. My thoughts were racing and they were random. I sat in the dark room writing just to try to get the thoughts out of my head.
As time progressed, I realized that I was fighting this time of rest. My mind would not shut down and my to-do list seemed to be huge. How was I going to spend days or even weeks like this? What was going to happen with all my responsibilities? What if something fell through the cracks? After writing all my thoughts down, I took several deep breaths, closed my eyes and just tried to hear, think and see nothing. It was at that moment I heard from the Lord. This is what I heard, “Stop toiling and striving, and just rest. When you get back to working, you will do it from a place of rest.” That was the moment I breathed in the Lord’s peace and exhaled all the junk that I had been toiling, striving and stressing over for quite some time.
Something happened right then. I realized that the time spent toiling and striving with busyness was preventing me from hearing from the Lord. It seemed I could hear what the Lord was saying to others, but I couldn’t hear what He was saying to me about me and my heart. Fighting this concussion recovery and time of rest was fighting something that my Lord meant for good. He was teaching me how to rest. You would think at my age, I would know how to rest. Turns out, not only was I not good at resting, but I really didn’t even know how. The scripture that confirmed what I was hearing from the Lord was Matthew 11:28-30. “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.”
I have heard this scripture many times, but this time there was something deeply personal about it. It was as if Jesus was speaking directly to me. He let me know through his words that this quiet time of concussion recovery was meant for me to come to Him. It was a time for me to say, “I’m here to hear, Lord.” When I let the quiet in and stopped with the toiling and striving, I could see that I was weary, burdened, and in need of rest. His gentleness encompassed me in the deepest way. And then the last words repeated in my head, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Over and over again I heard this in my head until it felt imbedded in my heart. The toiling, striving and stressing was not from the Lord, and the work I do should never have felt heavy.
My passion for the Lord and his daughters gave me such a sense of urgency that I was allowing it to drive me. All the while, the Lord’s desire would be that His love, mercy and grace should drive me. If Jesus’ character drives me there will be no toiling and striving. In this experience, I learned that I can embrace what and where the Lord is calling me and still rest. Many of us want to serve the Lord in a great and mighty way. We often will fill our calendars volunteering, going to meetings, and attending events in an attempt to feel like we’re fulfilling our responsibilities as a follower of Christ. However, if we’re running ourselves ragged to the point of burn out, then we should probably ask ourselves a few questions. Does this feel easy and light? Am I in a state of disturbance, confusion or uncertainty (turmoil)? Do I feel like I’m working with constant difficulty (toiling), struggling, and striving? Is there a scripture that confirms this path for me?
God has really used this time to reveal some things buried deep in my heart. This may not be a great epiphany for you, but for me this was a huge lesson learned. A perspective change occurred for God’s glory and for my good.
I hope and pray that by sharing this that you may also find a place of rest and an understanding of the Lord’s intent for his children. Dear friends, that message for me is just as much for you today. Stop toiling and striving, and just rest. When you get back to working, you will do it from a place of rest.
“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.”
Stop toiling and striving and just rest. Even when you are working do it from a place of rest.