today, is one of those days.
I write this post with a near view of my bedside table complete with: a half eaten tupperware of brown rice, Pepto Bismol wrappers, an empty bottle of Gatorade, a freshly stocked supply of Imodium and a squeezed out applesauce pouch. Indicating only one thing, a Peruvian friend hiding out in my digestive track initiating varying patterns of earthquakes and tidal waves; thus, keeping me a) in the comforting billows of my bed b) near a toilet c) from being productive and d) out of touch with Olympic prime time.
iPad Olympics billows of my bed
After lamenting my losses, it occurred to me that perhaps my little friend is probing my intestines to teach me a lesson or two on ‘ceasing’. Shortly preceding my tummy tumults, I read a post by a respected teacher and friend, Matt Lantz, on his Confessions from a Sabbatical. Almost a week into my aching, his thoughts came back to resonate a little more audibly,
The word for sabbath means “to cease”. And only in ceasing can there be rest as God intended. Over the years, I think my attempts to rest have been simply because I’m not at work or not working hard. It is also possible to rest without ceasing. I think the sabbatical was the first time I have ever experienced rest because I ceased. And the rest wasn’t just relaxing or refreshing, it was enlightening. I had this thought one day: “If I ceased like this every week, I wouldn’t be as blind as I have been.” So, I guess, in taking the time to cease I not only discovered genuine rest; I also experienced insight into how I ought to return to my work when my rest is over.
Until recently being forced ‘to cease’, I thought I had an accurate perspective of ‘sabbathing’. As I attempt to ‘rest’, I’ve found myself still going: cooking, running, writing, painting, reading; all life giving things, refreshing and relaxing, even enlightening, but still in motion, ‘i-n-g-ing’. However, being capable of very little these past few days, I realized how very rarely I actually stop… everything. Though I’m not writing on confessions from a sabbatical, I would agree with Matt that these past few sick days have been the first time I’ve experienced rest because I ceased, or was forced to cease.
So, as I continue to mimic my former rabbi, the following are a few of her confessions of a sick day.
Confession #1: I am vain. One of the most, literally, gut-wrenching parts of ceasing everything, has been stopping a) sun exposure and b) exercise, two things I regularly group into my ‘resting’. Now, I’d like to lie, as I have the past few days, and say that I miss these things for legitimate reasons like soaking up vitamin D or enacting endorphins. However, when I found myself sitting in my gym parking lot two days ago, with a stealthily packed bag of workout clothes and swimsuit after telling a concerned friend I was headed to the doctor, a tainted motivation of these two ‘delights’ came to the surface… vanity. Fortunately, an eruption of cramps kept me from my planned noon boxing class, out of my swimsuit and sent me in tears of repentance to the doctor. To be honest, ceasing here has revealed my narcissistic fear of a) being pale and b) falling out of shape. Widdled down even further, these fears of not attaining a certain physical appearance really stem from an insecurity of being unaccepted and eventually, unloved.
a few days ceased from these fave activities
So, where does she go from here? This sin revealed doesn’t stop me from plotting how to get to the TownLake trail right this second, nor does it demand I be locked in a closet and out of sunlight. More deeply rooted than changing the behavior, is digging beneath the marred motivation to the belief of these nasty ole deceiving lies; lies that her physical appearance indicate her worth and value; lies that she isn’t accepted and that she is unlovable. Disguised with convincing validity in her head, these lies, unconfessed, make the Truth that much more unbelievable. The Truth is that though she is more depraved than she could ever imagine, she is more loved than she dared dream; so loved, in fact, that her worth lead to a sinless man’s death in her place declaring her acceptance redeemed. Worthy. Valuable. Accepted. Beloved. It is this truth that sets her free, but what she lacks is faith. And so she prays as she has so many times before, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”
Confession #2: I am forgetful. Just three days back after spending a week on a mission trip to Peru, I was so consumed with what I had missed and how to get caught up that I jumped straight back into the hustle and bustle of life completely forgetting the faces and places that tremendously influenced me while spending a week outside of my North American comforts. Ceasing social activities and work responsibilities has forced me to remember and reflect on how experiencing God’s love for the people I encountered in Peru transformed my heart and mind. The original intent of this post was to share more of those thoughts, but it seems as if the good Lord had other things he wanted to bring to the keyboard. Potentially more on Peru later, but for now, a sneak peek:)
quirio, peru. an old settlement where we spent most of our time
this woman. mmmmm. one day. some day. we’ll meet again.
a few more of my favorite peruvian pretties
Confession #3: I crave connection. As much as I fight for alone time, and have a tendency to isolate, I desperately crave connection; to know and be known, to love and be loved. Hence, my first bed ridden go-to was exhausting every single social media avenue. How can I whimsically but subtly alert the whole world that my intestines are turning inside out? Because, it’s vital that they know, right? I’ll tweet this, instagram that, text him, facebook her. Then, I’ll write a blog post about all of it! For cutsie sake, for laughter sake, but really, for sympathy sake. I’ll see you, hear you, know you, understand you and ‘like’ you, if you see me, hear me, know me, understand me, and ‘like’ me….. Isn’t that what we’re screaming through all of our networking? “Here I am!! Somebody, LOVE ME!” So, maybe I’ve thought a lot about this before, and maybe I’m totally off. However, I do know that fit hit the shan when after a few hours of striving for connection, interactions with others ceased, and I was alone, desperately longing to be cared for. It took me two whole days to settle into a ceasing of interactions with others to rest in contentment with the only One who fully, wholly and completely sees, hears, knows, understands and loves me.
tweet-i-n-ging + instagram-i-n-ging gracious and patient sympathizing souls
In closing, I consider it the severe mercy of Him who loves me so, to allow this little friend to enter my body causing humiliating symptoms and debilitating reactions so that my eyes could see, ears could hear and heart could be softened to His relentless and lavish steadfast love.