Don’t throw in the towel, grab a blanket

Have you ever gotten to the point where you are ready to throw in the towel?  The point where you are ready to quit?  When you can hardly breath and feel like you are drowning?

Perhaps it’s a physical ailment and the pain makes it so that you can’t even see straight.  Perhaps it’s a circumstance at work where you are trying to do the job of two or three people because of budget cuts.  Perhaps its finances because you are trying to give your family more time by working less.  Perhaps it was the loss of a job.  Perhaps it is a strained or broken relationship that causes your heart to ache each time you reach out.

I’ve been there.  I have felt the physical heaviness pressing down upon my shoulders.  I have wept uncontrollably leaving my eyes puffy and painfully red.  I have had thoughts of walking away from it all and saying no to everything.  I have had those days where I sit down to dinner so exhausted that I can hardly hold my head up and get my fork to my mouth.

That’s a distressing point to be at!  It makes us more vulnerable to illness, irrational thinking and to emotional outbursts.  Or perhaps those are symptoms that are exclusive to me.  I almost forgot, I am also prone to binging on junk food when I am stressed out.

I’ve been quick to look at those symptoms and then diagnose that I must be doing something wrong.  I need to quit doing something.  Historically, I have missed the root cause of it all.

I’m tired!  Get sleep!

My body screams.  My spirit yells.  My mind, the control freak that it is, is ignoring it.  I have things to get done my mind says.  I logically can’t do that while sleeping.  I am a mother of two.  When I see these symptoms creeping  up in my kids, I will stop them from what they are doing and send them for a nap.

I know how to identify it.  I know how to remedy it.  So why don’t I do it?  Why is it that I refuse to get a little extra rest?  Why do I not take the time to recharge?  A twenty minute nap would do me wonders but I choose to exhaust twenty minutes flitting around, getting nothing accomplished but ranting and speculating worries in my mind.

As I sit here, I have a beaming smile while I realize I must be certifiably crazy!  I’m surprised that I haven’t been institutionalized for this yet.  Why have I been able to fly under the proverbial radar?

Because this seems to be the norm in our culture.  Rush, rush, rush.  Do more, more, more.  Sleep less, less, less.  You would think we have a fear of epidemic proportions of beds and blankets.

Oh how I love the feeling of a soft blanket.  I have a favorite blankie.  It’s a two tone purple fleece tie blanket that was a gift from my friend Connie.  When I moved from South Dakota to Minnesota she gave it to me.  She said it was my hug from her.  While we were apart I could wrap myself in it, cherishing her love by its warmth and softness.

My perfect nap is in the fall sun, under my favorite blanket.  A bonus would be next to my husband, Eric.  Oh what joy, refreshment and renewal that would bring.  It’s a calm and serene vision.

But instead, I run through life like a crazy hooligan, driven by the messages in my mind that flurry like a three year old pushing the search button on the radio.  The messages are not complete and become senseless noise.  Which just gives me a headache.  It also causes me to shake my towel at life and yell, “I’m going to throw you away!”

That sure sounds like a temper tantrum that needs a nap.  It’s time to put down the towel, pick up a blanket and get some rest.

This all sent me searching into the Bible for God’s instruction.  I found myself meditating on only two verses.

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come upon you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man” Proverbs 6:10-11

When I read this through the perspective of a busy crazy person, I interpret sleep as a bad thing.  My brain says that, logically, even a little sleep will lead to poverty.  My brain takes that to epic extremes of being a monumental failure, despised by all people.  Wow!  My brain can be such a drama freak!

When I slowed down, to sit in the warmth of the sun and to pray.  I questioned this interpretation of the verse.  What if it means that those who sleep only a little, those who don’t rest, will fret away and in the end will be left with nothing of eternal value.  Oh the eyes of my heart are seeing the glory of new revelation.

There is a time for rest.  It should be part of our duty.  I’m not saying that we should become lazy or sluggish, the Bible does warn against that.  But God designed our bodies so incredibly that while we rest all of these unseen systems work to our benefit.

Look at the words from the Bible.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint” Jeremiah 31:25

Most of all I love Jesus’ words in Mark 6:31, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest”.

Don’t you just hear the compassion, the love, the care, the concern that Jesus has for you.  Come with me.  Come to a quiet place.  Get some rest.  Allow Jesus to draw us into the restoration, refreshment and renewal.  That is His desire for us.  Not that we would run ourselves ragged, but instead that we would find times to rest.

Picture God watching you sleep in that loving way that parents look in on a napping child.  Feel the way that God looks upon you with such overwhelming love.  How precious you are to Him, it almost brings Him to tears just watching the rise and fall of your chest while you sleep.  This time of rest is a gift from Him to you.

I hope that you and I accept this gift of rest that He has so graciously given us.  May we be reminded that we deserve it and that we need it.  May we find that when we take times of rest, the time of work following it would be filled with peace, patience and kindness because we are not running on empty.

Dearest Lord,

Thank you so much for the gift of rest.  Thank you for refreshment and restoration that can come from getting some sleep.  Lord please use our times of rest to prepare us for all that struggles that the world will throw our way.

Please help each of us to find those times to peacefully rest, to lay down our guilt that we should be doing ever more and let go of holding control over each situation.  May we abandon and surrender our wants to meet our most basic of needs. 

Thank you Lord, for the gift of Your messages.  May they encourage us and focus us on You.  In Jesus’ name, amen!

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