I took a sick day yesterday and I’m taking one today too. The sad part of it is I’m kind of happy about it. I’m not happy that I’m sick because I actually feel pretty rotten. You know, congestion, headache, sore throat, the usual symptoms. But I’m happy to have the excuse to be home, stay in my bed, sip hot tea, watch TV, read, and rest. I think this is interesting because there’s no reason I can’t do some of those activities on days I’m not sick, except that I rarely allow myself to do them.
Life just gets in the way. Chores, errands, work, family, and every other role I play seems to supersede resting. I grew up in a family where I felt that productivity meant value. The more I did, the more valuable I was. Resting, napping, or “doing nothing” meant laziness. So now, even though I’m a grown up and I can decide what I do on any given day, the story I tell myself is this:
If you’re not busy doing something that has a measurable result, you aren’t valuable.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:27-29
“Come to Me, all of you who work and have heavy loads. I will give you rest. Follow My teachings and learn from Me. I am gentle and do not have pride. You will have rest for your souls.”
I’m looking for rest for my soul. If I have to be sick to experience that rest, something is wrong. Jesus promises us that if we come to him with our heavy load, He will give us rest. He is gentle and kind and wants to love on us. Why is this so hard for me to do? I long for it, I think about it, I set a goal to do it (there’s that story I tell myself again!), and then the days and weeks go by and I don’t do it every day. So I give up.
Then I get sick. I’m tired. I have a lot going on. (Don’t we all?) My plate is full. And because I won’t choose to rest, I end up getting sick and then I have to rest. Seems like it would be easier to choose, doesn’t it? I want rest for my soul.
Jesus, help me to rest in you. Not just when I’m sick. Help me rest when I’m well, when I’m busy, and when my plate feels fuller than I can hold. And help not to find my value and worth in what I do and accomplish. I know I’m already enough.