I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue since 2005. This means that my energy is always very limited. Exhaustion often forces me to rest, regardless of what I want, or need, to do.
Until today, I have always understood ‘rest’ as time spent sitting down, or being in bed.
However, to my astonishment, God has now shown me that rest can also be a state of mind, and even a way of life.
With this approach, whether or not I am active, living restfully means noticing my sensations, thoughts, and emotions as they occur, acknowledging their reality without judgement, then sharing them simply and honestly with God.
Hopefully, this process will teach me how I need to change in order to live more restfully, so I can be at peace with myself, with God, with others, and the world.
My soul finds rest in God (Palm 62:1; NIV).
10 thoughts on “Rest”
I missed your post this morning as oart of my devotions. I say that so you know hiw much I appreciate you and the service you do for our Lord. Knowing that you battle your ill health to write is a real testimony to your faith, that enourages me often. You are in my prayers every day sister, may our Father bless you today out of His Heavenly riches.
Oh, Alan, what wonderful praise! I’m sorry I was so late with my blog, but those 200 or so carefully-chosen words have taken me about 3 days to write, a very late night, and an early start today. I managed to get it finished by lunchtime, and published straight away, which was an incredible relief. This blog is linked to an awesome, overwhelming series of insights that I’m working on this week, and will continue to post. This afternoon I will be resting! Take care, Alan, keep writing, and may God bless you too XXXXX
“On the 7th day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the 7th day from all his work that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2) What a beautiful example God has set for us. Thank you Ruth for sharing your struggle with chronic fatigue. I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue back in 2006 and given a very stern warning from my doctor to get my driven perfectionism under control or it would escalate into a form of chronic fatigue. I’ll be honest at that time I wasn’t walking close to the Lord and was a workaholic (a teacher that works 60 hours a week for her students seems so honorable). It would take the restoration of my relationship with the Lord to fully grasp the gift of rest and His grace to break the hold perfectionism had over my work. I still have flare-ups of fatigue when I carelessly push myself and fail to engage in His rest. I call them my “hurting days” as every part of me aches and my brain is terribly foggy. It takes those flareups to remind me not to squander the gift of rest.
Dear Beth, thank you SO much for writing. I was stopped dead in my tracks by your phrase, “driven perfectionism”. Before reading any further, I want to thank you for those words, which describe me precisely, as well. It’s no exaggeration to say that you have rocked my brain.
I’m going to have a shower now, whilst trying not to rush. Then I will allow myself to savour the rest of your message. May God bless you today for reaching out to me with such honesty and wisdom. More later. With love from Ruth XXXX
Dear Beth, I’m thinking of you, and now including you in my prayers. Quick update:
I’ve read the rest of your message, but not even begun to sit with it and absorb it yet, though this will happen when the time is right.
Meanwhile, I thought you might smile to know that your wise words have already found their place in the prayers I say each day.
May God bless you, and help you with all the limitations you live with.
Love from Ruth XXXX
Ruth, I am so humbled that the Lord has used my comment to bestow a blessing on you! I know your poems have been such a blessing in my life. They are part of my morning devotions and I often come back and reread them later in the day. Thank you for including me in your prayers! Beth😊
Hi, Beth. Thank you for your kind words and lovely message. To pray for you is my pleasure. I’m delighted that you find these prayers helpful. Every day, as I press “publish” I pray that someone, somewhere, will find help in them.
You might smile to hear that when I read your words, “driven perfectionism,” I crammed on my hat and sunglasses (bright light is a good way to trigger a migraine for me), and put my head out of the back door so I could share them with my husband. He was washing the path just outside with a pressure-hose, whilst trying to avoid “help” supplied by our 2 black cats. As he saw me, and cut the noisy motor, I simply pointed to myself and cried out, “Driven perfectionism!” which made him smile with instant recognition of a deep truth. We’ve been married for 45 years, so he understood immediately. You said just two words, but what years of suffering they encapsulate.
May God bless you indeed, today, Beth ☦️ xxxx
Dear Beth, I’ve had a few days now to start absorbing the implications of your amazing message. I hardly know how to answer, as we seem to be exactly the same in this overpowering struggle with ourselves. The empathy, sympathy and understanding I would normally feel, and send, in response to any sort of honest sharing like yours are very real. However, they somehow seem either unnecessary, or even out of place, because I feel, vividly, as if we share, like one person, how we experience being ourselves, and living our lives. I do hope this makes any sort of sense.
Despite, or perhaps because of this, you do, of course, have all my sympathy, and all my fellow-feeling. What you describe rules my days, and haunts my vivid dreams.
Using “habit-bundling” (this comes from Noom: I can explain later, if you wish), I have linked praying for you to one of my daily, early-morning activities (this is a prayer I say before getting weighed, if you like details). So you can be assured that I’m remembering you with deep gratitude, and asking God to help and bless you, every day.
NB I’m finding that as I consciously try hard to control my driven perfectionism each day, I can pull myself up, and manage this for a for a while. During this time I feel joyful and relaxed. However, at som point, without conscious awareness, I start to lose this tentative, unskilled control. Once it has gone, I can’t yet get it back. Inevitably this means, at best, fatigue, depression and a bad headache. At worst, it’s more like a collapse: I am overwhelmed by exhaustion and migraine.
If you have the energy and willingness to discuss “driven perfectionism” and its consequences any further, I’d be very much in your debt. However, I hesitate to ask, as you may not have the energy, or even the desire, to do so. I want to say clearly that I’m not putting you under any sort of pressure over this. If you don’t reply, or say no, I will understand completely, and promise not to ask again. Neither would this make any difference to how I think of you, or to my prayers for you.
Writing this to you has made me realise that I need to go back to my wonderful psychotherapist, Dianne, and talk it all through with her, so please be assured that I’m not relying on you alone to help me.
With many thanks, some tentative new hope, much sympathy and my sisterly love,
From Ruth ☦️ xxxxx
Thank you Ruth for remembering me each day in your prayers! That means so much and I do feel the Lord’s blessing through them. I can only hope what I share in answer to your question is of help to you. To begin I’m a strong and driven person by nature, which is a beautiful thing in the hands of God. Only during my late teens through my 20’s, I took that strength and drivenness into my own hands to serve my own purposes. I fell prey to my own self-sufficiency. On paper all that I accomplished in college academically and athletically as well as during my teaching career would look impressive. Yet is was for myself and not to the glory of the Lord. Apart from God, my strength and drivenness would become the enemy’s chain of perfectionism. The toll it took on me came in the form of adrenal fatigue.
Only in returning to Jesus in my early 30’s, repenting, and fully surrendering all of myself to Him did I see the chains of perfectionism fall away. I came to realize that perfectionism was the enemy’s lie that I could do everything perfectly in my own efforts. In reality, only Christ is perfect. I’m not going to say that I don’t struggle with the temptation to fall back into the thought pattern of perfectionism. I do. Lovingly He has given me safeguards. First in His word with verses like “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men (or self)” Colossians 3:23 (the parentheses are my addition). So often I say, “Lord I know I’ve given it my all and I trust You with the outcome.” Secondly, He has given me some trusted people in the form of my husband, my parents, and a sweet friend whom I can trust to bluntly tell me when I’m being to hard on myself. In that I’ve had to heed their warning and learn to see my work through their eyes.
As for my drivenness, my purpose is to serve the Lord (Ephesians 2:10), and He will never ask more of me than I have the strength to give. Deuteronomy 33:25 says, “Your strength will equal your days.” For me that means, He will always give me the strength in the day to complete that which is most important to Him- love God and love people. Yes, my daily “to-do” list might not be complete because I petered out of energy BUT I give myself the grace to know that is okay because I trust I’ve accomplished what He wanted. Oh the enemy will do his best to berate me for not “accomplishing” more, but I have a choice of who to listen to- the Lord or the lies of the enemy.
So to conclude, I know that the Lord could heal my body fully, but I also know that my adrenal fatigue keeps me humble and keeps me falling back into the trap of self-sufficiency. It gives me the physical reminder that I need to be dependent on Him in all areas of my life. I absolutely love what Paul says about the thorn in his flesh in 2 Corinthians 12: 9- “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
The Lord has taught me how to praise Him in the physical pain I often experience in my hips and back due to sports related injuries, to praise Him in my limitations because I don’t have energy to do everything, to praise Him on the days that the adrenal fatigue causes every part of my body to ache to the point that I don’t want a single soul to touch me. Right now He’s teaching me to praise Him in the brain fog I often experience first thing in the morning or at the end of a long day when I can’t process words spoken or written. In that He sent the words of a dear, wise, and Godly woman who wrote “Silence, Is my offering, And stillness, All I have to share; Solitude, My sacrifice, And darkness, Lord, My only prayer.” Through that beautiful poem you wrote Ruth, the Lord was saying to me, “All I want is for you to show up and sit with Me. It’s ok that there are days when you keep your eyes closed because the light is too bright and all you can do is be silent and still. On those days, your silence and stillness is a gift just like the days when you can sing hymns, dig into my word, write and journal.” Again I do hope there are things you can glean from what I shared. Blessings as you as you journey into a day of Sabbath rest.
Dear Beth, thank you so much for your reply. I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you. Your wonderful description of your earlier life sounds remarkably similar to my own, until 2005, when I was struck by Chronic Fatigue. It’s good to know that you have such a lovely, supportive husband, and some trusted, helpful friends. You have clearly made great progress in managing your driven perfectionism, and your Adrenal Fatigue. I too live with chronic illness and the limitations it imposes, so I know how hard this is, and realise just how much hard, personal work you must have done to reach your current position.
You are absolutely right that chronic illness keeps us depending on God’s strength, rather than our own. Everything God sends, including illness, brings treasures and blessings for those who look beneath the surface, with his help. Although it can be demanding, and a big struggle, I definitely find it to be a very good and effective teacher, like you, and Saint Paul.
Each time I press “publish,” I pray that the day’s blog will help someone, so reading your last paragraph gives me great encouragement. Many thanks for all you wrote and shared, Beth. You have kick-started a much-needed learning process deep within me, prompting new insights, and fresh learning, every day.
May God bless you for your kindness and openness toward me.
With love from Ruth ☦️ xxxx