I bonked. In endurance athletic terms applied to my work life, I bonked. Hit the wall. You know when your computer is stuck and keeps circling, circling… trying to load? That was me a couple of weeks ago.
I thought that I was keeping a good balance of my life and work. I have been eating well, practicing good sleep hygiene, emphatic about my Sabbath, in a small group, and of course exercising. (However, by the looks of my dirty house, I do not keep the balance in that department.) I was quite surprised when, a few weeks ago I totally bonked, quite suddenly at that. Kinda like what happens when your computer crashes. Circling, circling…
“Take care of yourself,” everyone says to me, meaning well of course, but it sometimes doesn’t come off very well as it usually means there is no follow up. To a self-sufficient, self-reliant, can-do-it-all-the-time kind of person, it can become a burden. It becomes another thing I’ve got to do for myself by myself. Not to sound whiny and needy, but sometimes I just want someone to take care of me – but isn’t that true of all of us? What I wasn’t doing is allowing my gracious Father to take care of me. I had taken over taking care of myself the way that I thought that I needed to. I wasn’t open to receiving, but going through all the “right” motions in my own way. Not that my way was bad, it was just incomplete.
I dragged through a couple of days, then took an extra Friday off, thinking I’d be OK. Sunday’s rest didn’t give me nearly what I needed. I needed a break and I couldn’t remember the last time I took a vacation. I was past due for one, but I limped through another couple of weeks anyway.
While the thought of taking a break was very appealing to me, another part of me was drawn to work even more and I kept putting it off. I felt addicted to work: I could stop for a day or so, but I’d soon get back to my fix. I slept well, but upon waking I was preoccupied with ideas and tasks. The solution to my restlessness was to do more, to feed the addiction. I was looking I knew that I needed to stop for a while but I became preoccupied with what shall I DO, even if I didn’t feel like doing anything? Furthermore, the thought of planning a low-budget holiday was stressing me out, so I just decided to have a “stay-cation” and try to be true to relaxation and restoration even while staying at home.
I asked forgiveness for the way I was living life on my own terms. I started to pray and ask God what would nourish and restore me. Goodness knows I didn’t have a clue.
So last Friday, I pulled the trigger and said, I’m OFF! I felt better immediately. It was great to spend a Saturday afternoon hanging out with my friends and their kids by the pool instead of in front of my computer. Saturday I also hatched a plan to knock something off my bucket list, which I will write about in the next post.
I do think that one can keep a good and sane margin and still have a break down once in a while. It is easy in this fast-paced and info-loaded world to forget the big story of which we are a part. We forget that our rhythm extends beyond the week through the whole year and beyond. Consider the Bible and the rhythm of feasts and fasts of the seasons, and on through the Jubilee years. There is a purpose to everything and every time, and we have to be more conscious of the way we live in the times.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Matthew 11:28-30 The Message