“Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Is. 40:30-31
This promise fills me with hope. Oh, for my youthful energy to be returned. To walk and run with vigor, to push on without my middle-aged sag slowing me down.
Yesterday was the three-year anniversary of my cardiac arrest. Since then, the biggest physical effect has been feeling tired, not having enough energy to tackle all the stuff I want to.
It’s really hard! And discouraging—I’m not gonna lie. Sometimes I cry out to God, “I have DREAMS, Lord! I have books to write and blog posts to share and speaking engagements to pursue. I long to do fun stuff with my kids and keep the house clean and organized.” But many afternoons I spend sleeping, not working. Life seems to be rushing by without me.
I cry about my lack of output sometimes. I stress when I compare myself to other more industrious friends.
But, when I’m in my right mind, I know I wouldn’t trade the times of less productiveness. Before my cardiac arrest, my shoulders constantly tensed with the weight of obligation. I didn’t revel in the overflowing blessings of my life—I barely even saw them—but focused on the next task.
Why did I live that way? (I surely knew better, being a Christ follower and all.) Fear. My husband had lost his job. We weren’t making enough money. So I pushed myself to do editing job after editing job, to the exclusion of my family, my health, my life. I let go of my Father’s hand, because I didn’t trust he would lead me where I wanted to go.
Just this past weekend, I was traipsing across a street with my kids all in a line. I held my littlest one’s hand, but she broke away and ran ahead. She didn’t see a car coming. I tell you, I SCREAMED at her like a crazy-maniac mama! If I needed to, I would’ve hurled my body on top of hers to nab her away from danger. If in the process, she suffered a few bumps and bruises, well, it would be worth it to keep her safe.
That’s what God did with me. He loved me so much, dear friends, that he killed me. I’ll be forever grateful that my heart stopped beating for those minutes. I relish the memory of the time of recovery as some of the most cherished days of my life. I had to slow down. I had to receive instead of give. And as I did, gratitude replaced anxiety. Peace floated in, and stress disappeared.
Dying taught me how to rest. I learned that the weighty obligation I carried wasn’t worth it. I don’t have to find my identity in my accomplishments, but in what Christ accomplished for me on the cross and what he is accomplishing in me right now!
I’ve also gleaned the skill of listening to my body, letting myself refuel when needed. When I refill physically, my spiritual, mental, and emotional disposition perk up as well. The toughest part is letting go of my desire to perform, but God’s growing me in that area too. I know, even when I’m not doing anything at all, work is getting done–he’s doing it! I belong to him, and he can use me however he wants–even if it’s while lying in my bed.
I’m happy to say, my energy level has been much better lately. For this I am truly grateful! But I pray the three years of repeated lessons about rest will never leave me. Because when I wait on him (rely on his strength not my own, find my identity in him, and keep my eyes on his accomplishments), then my strength is truly renewed like the eagle’s. And hopefully, he won’t have to stop my heart to show me his love.
Remember, he loves you like there’s no tomorrow,
Shine Your Light: Do you ever struggle with finding your identity in your accomplishments? How have you overcome this?