Why Withdrawing Can Be a Healthy Step When Coping With Illness

“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” (Matthew 14:13)

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 that feels so selfish! I don’t want to be that 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.
“Yes,” she said quietly.


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’ve 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 sunset or a hody of water.

And what 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 without a doubt that I love to hear from everyone here at Rest Ministries. I cherish your emails. You keep me going each day. But if you are like me 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.

Prayer: Lord, help me to remember that withdrawing from the world to spend time with just You is a holy thing and not something I should feel guilty about!

About the Author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries, lives with her 8-year-old son and husband, and deals with rheumatoid arthritis and all it’s symptoms and side effects. It’s through her ministry she is able to keep getting out of bed each day, but she’s learning it’s occasionally okay to put the covers over her head.

You can now read this on your Kindle. Find out more at http://TodaysDevotionOnKindle.com

When you take time to withdraw where do you go? Do you go somewhere or just have a retreat in your own home? Do you turn off the phone? Avoid the internet?

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3 thoughts on “Why Withdrawing Can Be a Healthy Step When Coping With Illness

  1. And…I say a great big AMEN!! You are so right, Lisa, when you say that Satan likes to point out how ‘selfish’ we are. It seems he loves it when we feel guilt and condemnation about taking care of ourselves.

    Love this article!

  2. Lisa, thank you for posting this. It is so important for us, especially women, to feel OK about taking time away to be quiet, spend time with God, enjoy His creation, whatever helps us feel more connected to Him and gives us peace. I just had a message from a woman who has been dealing with the guilt of taking time for herself (as I have as well). While we want to make sure we don’t isolate, we do need time to replenish. It has taken me over 3 years to learn this!

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