The Perfect Storm Can Bring Perfect Rest
With all this talk of restoring rest this month on Faith Barista, you might conclude that rest has come easy for me.
The opposite has been true.
If you flipped through the pages of my photo album, you’d find a peculiar child sporting a buzz cut, dressed up in pink. My mind was always up to monkey business, getting into drawers, to score myself a pair of scissors. By the time someone realized I was missing, I emerged from the bathroom, with my hair oddly clipped in all the wrong places.
You’d wonder why the little girl with bright eyes and open smile never had a picture taken wearing a dress. My mother said she could never dress me up girly because I could never sit still.
I loved to run fast.
I’d trip and instantaneously scrape two holes on the knees of my stockings before she could call out “Bonnnieee!”
I grew up, never having lost that excitement for life. I don’t like to stand still. I love feeling the wind whip through my hair, with time whirling by, colors and sounds awash on the playground.
Although I was born in the winter, my spirit was fashioned for summer.
This all changed by the time I learned that we were made for all seasons in life.
The Perfect Storm
I was never aware of my body’s physical limits until life intersected in the perfect storm.
I had unexpectedly returned from overseas missions less than one year out of an original five year commitment. I sold everything and put away my heels and business suits for good. Why did God bring me back to high tech?
I was disoriented about God’s calling, adrift like a ship without sail.
Tensions in my family of origin were at the worst. I had started dating my now-husband and our budding romance placed tremendous strain on relationships that had grown co-dependent and unhealthy.
At the same time, the economy tanked during the dot-com bust. My engineering job got downsized and I ended trapped in a marketing job, working for The Boss-From-Hell. He had my cell on speed dial from sun up to sun down, handing me 5:00pm assignments that due the next morning.
Rather than confronting conflict at home and work, I avoided the complications of dysfunction and facing unemployment. It was easier to muscle my way through.
This way of dealing with problems — solving them by doing what needed be done — had always worked for me.
I didn’t want anything or anyone to fall apart. Until I woke up one day, with pain shooting through my wrists and fingers.
The lack of sleep and rest, combined with stress, took it’s toll on my body. I couldn’t type one letter.
Carpel tunnel syndrome, which is a condition cause by repetitive stress injury (RSI), cannot be cured with a prescription or a week in bed.
I was thrown headlong into an indeterminate season of learning to rest.
I embarked on a three year road to recovery, filled with daily multi-hour physical therapy sessions. I learned what it is to eat the bread of affliction.
Without the ability to grasp a toothbrush or use my chopsticks, I experienced complete helplessness.
I could no longer be the Bonnie who was productive. I was forbidden by doctor’s orders to type or write more than 5 minutes per hour.
I was cut off from my greatest comforts: I could not write or journal. I could not even hold up a book.
I struggled with sleeplessness as pain jolted me awake during the night.
I could do nothing for anyone, for God or myself.
In that place of total dependence — stripped of all I thought was valuable to God and others — I experienced the greatest season of fruitfulness in my life.
I learned the lessons of soul rest.
Where I Run
The storms in life that threaten to pull us under aren’t part of God’s original design. We are given free choice and as a result, we are subject to our frailties, as well as those of others in our lives.
The amazing thing about grace is this: God can make a way to us — in the very storm we work so hard to avoid — the moment we call out to Him in faith.
Just as the apostle Peter did.
“Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:30)
The world likes to focus on the external signs of godliness, but God has always treasured the heart that longs for Him. It is in that heart God nurtures spiritual fruit that outweighs anything we could ever do to please Him.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control are seeds that God plants and waters in the spaces we clear for Him.
I learned that Jesus created us to enjoy physical rest, even at the cost of surrendering the things we think are purposeful.
Our purpose is one Person: Jesus.
As we make our way to Jesus every time our souls grow weary, we taste the joy of soul rest.
I am now grateful for the limits my body has. They are wonderful indicators, like the lights on my car’s control dash.
They remind me to stop.
I still love running. But I love being still even more now.
Resting is where my soul runs free.
Resting is where my body, mind and spirit learns to surrender.
There, I find soul rest with Jesus, the One who chooses to love me every day.
“Friends, don’t get me wrong:
By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this,
but I’ve got my eye on the goal,
where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus.
I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
~ Phil. 3:13,14, 20 (The Message)
What encourages you to find physical rest?
*We’re in an ongoing series in March — Whitespace: Restoring Rest. Check out our topic for today and next week’s!
*** NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN — FAITH BARISTA JAM! ***
Faith Barista Jam Thursdays – I serve up a topic of faith, you write the post. Let’s encourage each other. Add your voice. Swap our stories.
Today’s Topic 3/17:
Share your your journey to find physical rest.
Share your post by clicking on the blue button below “Add Your Link” or just comment directly.
Next Thursday’s Topic 3/24:
Share how you experience emotional rest.
Approach it any way you feel inspired! Only required ingredient: keep it real. Thanks for serving your personal brews!
Build the Keep Fresh Fresh Community: Link back to Faith Barista or Grab the HTML Code For March’s Special Restoring Rest Faith Jam Badge
It’s a jam session. As time allows, say hi & drop a comment when visiting the community faith blends!