Day 8 – home sick before Thanksgiving

Today marks day 8 of me being home sick… it’s never gotten terrible, & at the same time I’ve not gotten significantly well enough to actually try to work from home (at least until today.) As a by-product of this unforeseen down time, I’ve been reflecting on several topics, including:

  • This Summer’s sabbatical; 
  • Things I take for granted (until I don’t have them/have access to them); 
  • The value of work & purpose in everyday life;
  • How everything has a time or a season; 
  • God’s “gift” of limits

I decided to write about the limits I’m currently navigating.


Today, I’m experiencing limits with:

  • MY ENERGY. I ain’t got none. I’ve been averaging 2 naps, minimum a day (with gusts up to 4) but the energy level has remained in the “yellow” at best, but mostly in the “red.” (The fact that I have energy to think & focus & write THIS is a good sign).
  • MY APPETITE: I ain’t hungry, & nothing sounds appetizing. 
  • MY VOICE: I ain’t gone one, it is a labor to try to speak at a volume that can be heard by others (& it inevitable ends up in a cough from exertion anyway)
  • MY HEALTH (aka my ability to get better); I’m doing all I can, all I know to do to get better. I’ve got a plethora of friends praying for a boost to my health. 
  • MY LOCATION: I am ‘stuck” at the house for at least the next 2 days while the new HVAC units are being installed; 

I’m sure there’s more, but I just wanted to illustrate a few of them. And not in a complaining way; in a ‘reality’ way… this is true for me now, & there’s nothing I can do to overcome them. I can’t be victorious; I can’t push beyond them without potentially severe consequences; this is me through at least tomorrow. 

The rest & rhythm muscles I developed this Summer on Sabbatical are showing themselves to be helpful in this. Being content (not thrilled, but ok) with being stuck in a spot I’d not choose to be, doing what I’d rather not do, for a time longer than I want to… I can either complain about it & waste the time I have home to rest, or I can embrace it as the current season of my life… a season that I’m hoping & praying will be a quick one, followed post-haste with good health & normal.  I can’t change anything by complaining or worrying, & I won’t get well any quicker by trying to push into physical reserves that aren’t there.


So I’m thinking thoughts, letting them wander a bit. Watching the USA World Cup game against Wales. Reviewing my notes for last week’s message (which will hopefully be NEXT week’s message.) Thinking about family time at Thanksgiving. Reading a book. Pondering possibilities for the SF Giants 2023 roster as the MLB Hot Stove League kicks into full swing.

And I’m reviewing texts & Marco Polo’s from friends & loved ones wishing me health; listening to a podcast from a friend’s church (because I want to feed my soul too!); plotting putting together a lunch style meal. And I’m thinking about things I’m thankful for. Because there’s a lot.

Do I ever REALLY stop? & other musings…

Just looked at the calendar. Five Mondays from today, theBean & I will be on our first day of sabbatical. I’m trying to prepare for this time away, with the purpose of being as intentional as possible about what we’re doing. So, I’m revisiting some studies that I began about 10 years ago on the Sabbath & Sabbath rest. I’ll be blogging some of my thoughts, discoveries, wonderings, & questions here over the next several weeks…(If you’re interested, you can read more about WHY we’re taking a sabbatical HERE)


 

A couple of my favorite ways to study something in the Scriptures are to

  1. find the word in the original language, along with a working definition of the word;
  2. do a word-search & find the first place in the Bible the word is found…
  3. ‘popcorn’ around to other places the word is found, referenced, discussed, etc…

I looked up Sabbath & found the first time the word itself is used is in Exodus 16:23  & it shows up quite a few more times, most notably in Exodus 20:8 – the place in Scripture where God gives Moses the commandments (of the most famous “10 commandments,” the command to remember the Sabbath & keep it holy is #4. But I digress. Fun rabbit trail though.) The definition of Sabbath is “to stop; rest; come to rest; cease.” The more I dug, I discovered that though the word first showed up in Exodus, the first time the concept or practice of Sabbath appears in the Bible is in Genesis 2:1-3 as a part of the creation narrative. It says:

Heaven & Earth were finished, down to the last detail. By the seventh day God had finished His work. On the seventh day He rested from all His work. God blessed the seventh day. He made it a Holy Day, because on that day He rested from His work, all the creating God had done. The Message

Think about it. The final ‘act’ of creation was God creating Sabbath, Holy Time –This was so important that He built it into the fabric of creation by working six days, then on the seventh day, He STOPPED. And then He RESTED.


The more I roll this around in my head, the more I see how tied together the two are: you cannot rest until you stop. So I think about what it takes to stop, to REALLY stop. And I think about myself & my own life patterns & pace of life. I reflect on our cultural norms, behaviors & attitudes that are normal, at least until they are held up to the mirror of God’s Word. And I ask myself, “Do you ever really stop? Do WE?”


We live in a 24/7 city – in a country that celebrates busyness, activity, & multi-tasking. We rarely think about let alone embrace the fact that we have limits – on our time, our physical/mental/emotional capacity, & on what we can do & do well. We often push ourselves & our schedules to the limit, cramming as much activity into our days & weeks as possible. We usually don’t get enough sleep & survive/re-engage with life because of coffee/energy drinks. (An interesting fact – in 2006 when I began my studies on Sabbath, I researched the caffeine, how much was consumed in the US, & how much money was spent on it. Here’s what I found: In 2006, more than $12 Billion was spent on coffee, & another $1.1 Billion was spent on energy drinks, most of which were consumed by people in the 18-25 year old range. Fast forward to 2014 – close to $40 Billion was spent on coffee last year & a staggering $13.5 Billion was spent on energy drinks, a figure which is estimated to rise to at last $21.5 Billion by the year 2017. And the reason more than 60% said they drank coffee/energy drinks? In essence it was, “I need it to get going & keep going. Can’t do what I do without it.”)

When we have time off, we use it to get everything done that we couldn’t finish during the work week, &/or we pack our free time with all sorts of activities. Technology doesn’t help us out here – the modern conveniences of ‘staying connected’ through our smart-phones, computers, omni-present wifi, mp3 players keeps a constant barrage of stimulation & noise bouncing around our brains.

No wonder silence seems strange.


 

Do I ever REALLY stop? When was the last time I took a day, set apart as Holy Time, & didn’t work… didn’t get preoccupied/distracted with something… just intentionally set myself up to BE?

The defense mechanisms kick in quickly. Countless reasons for WHY I do what I do, & WHY taking much time (let alone a day) is just about impossible with all the things that fill my busy schedule come to mind.

And then I think about what I read last week from Matthew 11:25-30, especially the part about finding God’s rhythms of grace for life… & I contrast that to the driven, life-sucking pace & practices that lurk around me… And I want that rhythm, God’s rhythm for me. And so I invite Him in to the mess of me… & I trust He will FINISH what He starts.