Friends, do you see this hot mess of a living room? On Saturday — this past Saturday. January 18, a full 24 days after Christmas — I was finally taking down and putting away our Christmas decorations. And smack in the middle of it all, I felt like I was hit by a bus. Coughing, dizzy, weak, achy, feverish, I got up, left this mess and crawled into bed. And so from Saturday until Tuesday my living room looked like maybe I’d been abducted by aliens or maybe the rapture happened. Whatever the case, all the people who walk in my neighborhood undoubtedly looked in my large picture window and wondered why we had a naked tree standing in our living room. Maybe they think it’s some cool, understated hipster way of decorating and soon, naked trees will be standing in all the living rooms in my ‘hood. Maybe I still have a bit of a fever.
But that’s not really my point. (Unless this naked tree thing becomes A Thing, in which case, I totally want credit.)
This picture perfectly captures what the past week has been like for me — a sudden stop in productivity. Last Tuesday, a couple of my children came home from school exhausted, took naps and woke up with fevers. So my week, my plans, my productivity, came to a screeching halt. Except for a couple hours Friday morning, I spent the rest of the week at home resting with the various children who caught our little plague.
Then Saturday, right in the middle of being productive, I got it. The plague. All my plans for the rest of the day were chucked. Sunday was even worse. I woke with a temperature over 102 and spent the day in bed. I read and watched Netflix in small portions. Any more than that made the pain behind my eyes throb even worse. So I slept. A lot.
Now that I’m starting to recover from this awful virus, we have snow and ice. School and all activities have been canceled.
Because of this sickness and the weather, I have been forced to rest.
You see, my schedule is over-full. I have spread myself thin this school year. With the children’s activities, my husband’s travel schedule, my own part-time job and all the other things I’ve said yes to, there has been little time for rest. I’m almost always multi-tasking, or when I’m doing one thing I feel guilty that I’m not doing the other thing that really needs done too. Many days, it seems I’m not doing anything well because I’m just trying to do everything good enough.
The thing is – I enjoy most all the things I’m doing. I’m doing things that really do employ my strengths and talents. Doing, going, producing, working, performing – it all feels so good. I matter. I’m needed.
But I don’t have time to just be. And I think that is the lesson I’ve been missing. Oh, I am such a slow learner. Fortunately, God is relentless in His mercy and grace. Last summer, I was waylaid with that whole faulty gallbladder mess. Then in the fall, I had to rest and recover from the surgery. And that whole situation took much longer than I anticipated it would. But because I tend to have a thick skull, I clearly didn’t learn the lesson of rest in all of that. So here I am again.
And my soul sighs. Be still.
I do not matter because of all the doing and going and producing and working and performing. I matter because I am. My value is not in all I can accomplish in the day. My worth is not wrapped up in all the ways I can say yes to those who ask of my time and talents. And just because I can do something – or just because I am good at something – does not mean it is mine to do. If all the doing and going and working prevents me from being, then I have gotten it all wrong.
So it’s time to reevaluate. But not now, not today. Right now, I’ll rest. I’ll receive this gift of grace, this gift of Be still. And I’ll rest.
And you? Do you get caught up in the doing and going and producing and working and performing? Do you forget that your value is not in all you can accomplish? Do you need to rest?