"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out? 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 on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
I was sitting in a meeting when I felt my heart rate rise. I guess my body eventually caved to the mental to-do list I'd been replaying over and over in my mind, for several days by that time.
Panic overwhelmed me. My breathing was cut short, my heart was pounding at double-speed, and tears filled my eyes.
There was no specific trigger - it was just my body's way of telling me it was time to quiet down for a while.
I've been moving at reckless speeds lately, mentally beginning one task before the previous task even has a chance to subside. My to-do list is out of range for any one human alone in the time span I have for it all, yet my pride keeps me rooting along, saying that I can do it all, have it all, without rest, and that it will be fine.
Go to to the gym regularly and keep my hair looking nice. Be a great mom and read to my child every night, teaching him wrong from right. Grade all of my students' papers, and give them good advice. Get all of my paperwork done in time. Make the phone calls. Pay the bills. Keep the house cozy and homey and nice. Fold the laundry, scrub the shower, vacuum the floors. Cook healthy food, and don't let my child whine or cry when we are somewhere waiting in a line. Maintain the blog. Take photos often. Dress the part, and make sure skin and teeth glow and shine. Be a thoughtful friend, a dear coworker, a pleasing daughter, a helpful sister, and keep being nice in hopes of someday being someone's wife. Go to church, volunteer, and be sure to tithe. Whatever you do, don't step out of line.
I'm sure you have your own list of things you're juggling. Whether it's a pursuit for perfection, or like me, you simply feel like it's all you can do just to get by, it can be exhausting and overwhelming when we walk through these busy, filled seasons of life.
But when it's all said and done, sometimes we just HAVE to stop - even when it feels like we shouldn't, can't, and that it wouldn't be right.
Even when it feels like the world will stop spinning, like we are letting every one we know and love down, like we will be embarrassed or put to shame if we retreat and pause, if we take a break to calm our souls and minds, we have to be humble enough to heed the cues and know when enough is enough- to know when it's time.
And, what I've learned, though it is painful to admit, is that the world does indeed keep spinning on without me. Just when I think it will all fall to pieces if I don't do it all just right, I look up from my spot of rest and see that the world and my life keeps going on right along. Every little thing truly is alright.
We have to be humble enough to remember that God holds the whole world in His hands- and His power is enough to sustain us, regardless of it we are doing everything "right."
This is what it means to live out of His strength and not our own - to recognize that while everything we do is important and valuable, He is still in control of us and our lives.
We can lie down in green pastures, and gaze upon still waters, and all the while, the world will keep spinning in all its beauty, on and on. And, when we feel that we have caught our breath, we can step back into the messy, glorious sunshine of life.
"Even the sun has to know when to set and when to shine."