Yesterday I sold copies of my books at a local sale. I had been worried that I would be overly fatigued by it–carrying the heavy box, interacting with people, etc–but I was okay. A friend visited with me for the last hour or two of the sale, and she kept urging me to participate with her ballet studio. I kept saying no, that I didn’t have the energy. I was surprised at her persistence, because at one time she was extremely ill with Lyme disease, and she continues to have some chronic problems with it. In fact, she was the one who first introduced me to spoon theory.
Since I’m prone to self-doubt and recrimination, I began to find myself wondering yesterday if I really did have more energy than I thought I did and if I was just being lazy and not wanting to do things rather than not actually having the energy to do them. So I began reminding myself of a few facts last evening, and I decided to type them up here to be able to find them again in the future if I start to feel like this again:
I am not simply “being lazy.” I reached a point where the demands on me–mental, emotional, AND physical–were increasingly unbearable. Slowly, and with major resistance, I gave up on various activities: ballet, swing dance, job applications, subbing. Those last two required the actual commands of God to make me give them up because my sense of responsibility for those activities is so strong. God TOLD me this was the right decision, and otherwise, I probably never would have made it.
And this break has been good for me. I have finally reduced my activity level to match my energy level (which is why I am no longer experiencing the extreme fatigue that reminds me of how sick I am). I have made a wise decision. I have also, through this enforced rest, learned that you shouldn’t do things out of a crippling sense of guilt and obligation, and I’m beginning to believe that the practical choice–in things like career trajectory–isn’t always the right one. If I have true faith–willing to do the “impractical” thing for the sake of God’s plan–then I will keep resting as long as he tells me to, and without guilt.
Our associate pastor, Dale, preached today on 2 Chronicles 36:14-23. He particularly mentioned the fact that after the Israelites went into exile, the land finally had the Sabbath rests and Years of Jubilee that had been owed to it and that the Israelites hadn’t given it over the centuries. Dale suggested that the land was allowed to rest in order to prepare it for the return of the Israelites. I really felt like God was saying that this was my Jubilee rest. Situations and my own sense of obligation had kept me from really resting for years, and I never would have truly rested unless God had forced me to. But this rest, which feels to me like a waste, is actually a time while God is preparing the next portion of my life: preparing a career and/or a future for me. I just have to remember all this and keep myself from falling into despair and self-recrimination.