Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. ~ Matthew 11:28-29 CSB
CREATED FOR REST
“I just finished the Pentateuch!”
“Congratulations!” My brother isn’t usually that sincere, but he was that day.
Reading Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy so close together can be tricky for our low attention spans. I mean seriously, why do we need to know the exact right way to kill a goat? Also, thousands of goats? That’s a lot of killing.
. . . back on topic.
Reading all of those books one after the other, something struck me that has never sunk in before: the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. It’s up there with “Don’t murder!” and “Don’t make idols!”
I don’t think I’ve ever taken rest seriously enough. And as a healthy preteen without much responsibility or stress, maybe I could ignore my need for rest and be “fine.” But now as a Lymie entering adulthood?
WE WERE CREATED TO NEED REST
As a chronic illness warrior, I learned to accept this. I let myself rest. And rest. And rest. I read books and watched movies and laid in bed doing nothing. And I let myself off the hook, postponing school, fighting the guilt that came from letting people take care of me, and making peace with the fact that I couldn’t do what I did before.
If we’re going to survive, this acceptance is just part of the grieving process of a spoonie. We learn that if we’re going to take care of our relationships and pursue our dreams, we must prioritize taking care of our bodies.
But lately, God’s been pressing a new lesson into my heart. Sabbaths aren’t just resting our bodies. Our health isn’t just physical. Humans are eternal spiritual beings with emotions and creative brains. We aren’t animals. We were created in God’s image. And this includes being created for rest.
So, we need to take care of much more than just our physical health. Chronic illness warrior, what if you took care of your mental, emotional, and spiritual health with the fight and dedication that you take care of your physical health?
I know. That takes time and energy. Energy we don’t have a lot of. It’s easier to just push through. It’s easier to stuff the emotions away and deal with them “later.” And it’s easier to crash into bed after a long day with a good book or TV show than muster up the energy to open up your Bible or put your focus into a real prayer. It seems like it takes less time to just keep working rather than giving your brain a break.
CREATED TO NEED MORE THAN JUST PHYSICAL REST
Imagine living spiritually and emotionally healthy. Imagine if you didn’t have to function every moment through unimaginable grief, and instead took the time to process some of it. What if you weren’t scraping the bottom of your emotional energy every time you talked to someone or tried to shoulder one more painful emotional blow? And while it might seem like just pushing through your mental fog and exhaustion is the way to get everything done, studies show that breaks and rest and feeding your brain increase productivity in the long run. Even if those steps take a little time.
You are worth taking care of your health. And to glorify God to the best of your ability with your body, you also need to take care of your mental, emotional, and spiritual health. You are created for rest in every area of your life.
I’m not saying it’s easy.
As all us spoonies know, taking care of our physical health isn’t easy. It’s often a full-time job. Taking care of the other aspects of our health isn’t necessarily going to be easy either. It’s going to take time and focus and persistence.
I say this as someone who is currently overwhelmed with stress and things I need to do. Who has a thousand reasons why rest — all of its kinds — are impossible right now.
But just imagine what it could be like if you valued all areas of your health like you do your physical health. Remember that our whole being is created for rest.
Author and Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer
Sara is the author of He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen's Thoughts On Faith Through Chronic Illness and host of the annual Diamonds Conference for chronically ill Christians. She loves to write and adventure - be it a new board game with her family, trying a weird food, or diving into a fantasy book. Sara is a TCK, a Lymie, and a Young Life Leader.
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