I was recently sharing with a friend how exhausted I am lately, coping with some harsh flares of my rheumatoid arthritis. “I love people,” I explained. “But when I am in so much pain I need space. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to answer the phone. I don’t want anyone in my house, even the housekeeper. And then that feels so selfish! I don’t want to be that kind of person! But I shouldn’t have to leave my own house to get some quiet.”
“Lisa,” she calmly said. “What did Jesus do when he was tired and needed to find renewal?”
“He withdrew” I said.
What does “withdrawing” mean to you? We all have read how Jesus went “away” quite frequently. There were times when it was just a stone’s throw away from his disciples (Luke 22:41), and other times He went to the mountains or desert. But even Jesus knew there were times He would literally need a boat in order to escape the demands of life to be able to talk with His Father.
Connecting with God takes time. I have learned that for me, those 8-minute little pre-packaged devotionals are comforting, but they don’t get me to the deep soul-quenching talk I need to have with God to feel fulfilled. And sometimes to get this we need to “go.” Go can mean changing the lighting, putting on some music, or stacking up some cozy pillows. It can also mean getting in your car and just driving a bit, or pulling over and looking at the sun set or a body of water.
And if we feel guilty about withdrawing in order to grow close to God? That is Satan telling us lies: “Real Christians should be able to connect with God anywhere, any time,” he says. “You are being selfish asking for that time to yourself. Your family needs you. You already spent time today ‘resting’ and now you need time to be with God. A good parent wouldn’t put her kids last.”
Do you hear those lies?
So know that I love hearing from you. I love getting your emails. You keep me going each day. But if you are like me and sometimes feel like life’s demands make you feel like there are not enough hours in the day to be everything to everyone, the best place to start is just being a child of the most Holy God. Everything else will fall into place. Our illness gives us a special connection with the Lord. He is close to the broken-hearted. He hears our cries. But we must allow ourselves to cry out now and then in order for Him to comfort us.
Prayer: God, so often I try to distract myself from the pain by staying busy, but more than any distraction, what I need to do is allow myself to rest in Your arms. Help me put aside “my” needs, the needs of others and the need to please, and instead just let me fall into the need for You.
About the Author:
Lisa Copen is the woman behind Rest Ministries. She started in her bedroom office in 1997 when she was unable to find Christian support for living with a chronic illness. She has had rheumatoid arthritis since 1993 and has had the worst season in her last three months physically. She’s ready for spring! You can see what books Lisa has written at http://lisacopensbooks.com . ALL proceeds (100%) support our ministry!