The Demands of Rest

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Two painters each painted a picture to illustrate his conception of rest. The first chose for his scene a still, lone lake among the far-off mountains. The second threw on his canvas a thundering waterfall, with a fragile birch-tree bending over the foam; at the fork of a branch, almost wet with the cataract's spray, a robin sat on its nest. The first was only Stagnation; the last was Rest. For in Rest there are always two elements--tranquility and energy; silence and turbulence; creation and destruction; fearlessness and fearfulness. This it was in Christ.
~Henry Drummond

My intent in coming home was to devote myself for 5-6 hours per day to editing the thousands of images I have backlogged from five or so weddings, to try to finish them before the baby is born. I had ideas of catching up on emails, having time to write and to sew and to think and to read.

Now I find myself at home, barely able to function. The increasing stress levels over the last couple of months finally took their toll on a body already wearing itself out to make a baby. The panic/anxiety attacks returned en force, bringing with them the inevitable convulsive neurological activity that signals another flare-up of my Lyme's infection, which had retreated in the lower-stress months I had before I got pregnant. Because I've been living on adrenaline for the last few months, my body has crashed, and I am discovering the demands of rest.

For instance:

*I can't focus on one project for a long period of time. This means that I must break up my editing with other things, and it's moving much slower than I would like.

*Meals are absolutely necessary. I have had three of them per day each day so far, and I have to take time to make and eat them.

*I have a very clear sense from the Lord that right now I should not spend my emotional or physical energy trying to figure anything out or deeply involving myself in any issues. Because of the emotional/physical nature of my panic/anxiety attacks, I understand the necessity of this rest.

*Needing to rest means that I have to take much of my day at my own pace. It demands that I refuse to set myself on a schedule that will drive me to access my adrenaline to make a goal.

It feels messy. It feels reclusive. It feels humbling. It feels human. I have limitations. So many people have asked me how I feel about not working anymore. "Defeated," I would tell them, to many a puzzled look.

In realizing my limitations, however, I am finding a truer rest than I have known in years. The guilt and despair that have dogged my steps as I have fallen further and further behind are slowly sliding from my shoulders as I let go of my own expectations of myself. I feel as though I am opening my eyes and my heart to an invitation to live again and to find beauty and to give life to others through my life. God no longer seems to be the conscience that is driving me to complete what I started. I find Him instead to be a haven covering me over with His provision and His rest.

Please forgive me if I am slow to respond to your letters or your acts of kindness. Please forgive the delay in the delivery of your wedding pictures. Please forgive me for not being deeply philosophical. Please forgive me for not rushing out to include myself in social gatherings.

I find I am content to rest for now.


Christy said...


Heidi said...

Ok, you made me cry. How have you figured out in three days how to rest when I've been struggling against myself for eight months to get myself to where you are? I have a feeling I need to let some things go myself and let the expectations fall from my shoulders as my body heals. I haven't done that yet, I'm realizing by reading your post. Thank you for writing this and reminding some of us that it's not just you that needs this kind of rest. I love you girl.

Lynette said...

Hey, it sounds like you're doing really well, I love what you've said about rest!

Live just for fun, no pressure, unedited, just like your picture of the dogwood blossom... stunning in its unassumed simplicity and beauty! I think you're blossoming in more ways than one Kelly and there is no effort to that growth, it just happens because of the Life within :-) Such a lesson for us there, just leave the Rest to Father, right? :-)

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