Today marks day 210 in which I have worked straight, and I’m talking 7 days a week. I don’t say this to brag or to boast, or to emit pity or sympathy. I say this because if I am going to work my recovery, then I need to continue to follow the steps. Step 5 states that “We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Principle 4, “Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.”
You see, I made a conscious choice to work 7 days a week because I wanted to get through my graduate degree as quickly as I could, and to get a lower tuition bill because let’s be honest here: education is very expensive and if carrying a full course load was going to save me a lot of money, then hey, let’s do that right? So for 2 1/2 years I’ve been attending school full time and working full time. About a year and a half into it, I began to burn out, become weary, yet I refused to back down and take a break. So I pushed myself, ignored my pain detector, and ignored the increasing warning signs from my body that I was pushing a little too hard. I just knew that I could manage a full time work schedule, full time graduate school schedule, part time CR volunteer schedule, and still maintain my home and family life. I put off spending time with my parents and my sister because I knew that as soon as I got finished, they’d still be there and I’d have plenty of time after school to do it. So about a year and a half into it, I was really falling apart. My pain was so loud at that point yet I had ignored it for so long that it became a necessary way of life. It became a comfort. God screams to us in our pain…yet I was completely ignoring it. Little did I know what message God had for me.
The well known verse of Matthew 11:28 “Come me all who are weary and I will give you rest.” I kept hearing the whispers of that verse yet I refused to acknowledge it. Rest? I couldn’t rest, I had to keep going! In my stubbornness, I was in denial that I needed to rest. There’s no rest for the weary, right? I had a goal, a plan, and nothing was going to stop me, apparently not even God, as I stubbornly continued down that path, refusing to rest. In fact, I didn’t even know what it meant to rest. On the seventh day God rested, after He had finished all His work. I misconstrued this in my mind to reassure myself that I could not stop until I was finished. But…I failed to define what it was that needed to be finished. It was a cycle of insanity…that would never end.
After those 1 1/2 years, things began to happen in my life that blind-sighted me, things I never thought would have happened. I wanted to end my life. I wanted to end my life at a time it was revealed that my Mom was fighting for hers. Talk about a heavy blow. I was pretty much forced to slow down at that point. God yet again saved me from myself. Instead of focusing so much on myself, I was asked to follow a different path, a different plan than the one I had already set my heart on. God asked me to walk my mother to Him, and told me that I would be walking back without her. It was as if I was living out Romans 12:1-2:
” Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
You would think that would have slowed me down…but it did not. Still, I stubbornly pressed on until my body physically began to break down. I began to get sick. I began to struggle deeply with my mental health and emotional regulation. I rarely get sick. However recently, I found myself out of commission for a full week with a very nasty virus which ended up in pneumonia. I had no choice then, I HAD to rest. I physically could not get up anymore. That’s what God had been trying to tell me all along. I’ve been so busy trying to play God and follow my own path, that I have failed to listen out for Him and His messages to me. God did not give up on me. I finally asked him what it meant to rest, and He told me. And now I confess this fault in my stubbornness to listen to God and the truths that He had for me. I have found myself astray and now I am working my way back to making a daily time with God.
For me, to rest means that I need to take the time out of my busy schedule to talk with God, to listen to what He has to say. To ask Him for discernment for HIS will in my life, not the will that I had been executing on my own. I’ve been trying to do this on my own for so long I forgot that I had left God behind. Instead of listening when God told me to rest, I stubbornly told God that it wasn’t good enough, that there was more I could do. I had begun to play God. And this, my friends, is what I am admitting to you today. It’s time to revisit that step and take that daily inventory.
If I am to be more like Christ, then I need to honor Him by resting. Thank you for letting me share.
April Brantley, CR Mental Health Team X-Factor