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I had malaria last week. It was the day before my birthday, and I had no idea that my family had great plans for and hiking in the Aberdares, so I was perfectly content to stay in bed reading and relaxing.

After only one day in bed, the medicine had begun to kick in, and I started itching to get out and about again. I found out about the camping plans and thought it sounded like fun, so we packed up and went camping after all (minus the hiking).

When we came back, I had a nagging headache and still felt nauseous. I ignored that because I wanted to see a few clients who were making some great progress on their goals. I had some volunteer work at my kids’ school I was interested in doing, and I had a newsletter to edit. Also, I was asked at the last minute to give a couple of presentations to new students at the university where I volunteer, and that also seemed worthwhile. Then I had a new client in a far-away time zone to talk with late in the evening. Wouldn’t want to miss that!

The only trouble is that by the end of my activities, I ended up back in bed with chills, fever and a pounding headache. In fact, I ended up sleeping through my Skype call and having to apologize.

Today, I have come to terms with cancelling everything for today and tomorrow, really resting and taking care of myself. I made a fresh squeezed carrot, apple and ginger juice for breakfast and headed back to bed with a good novel.

As I lie here in my bed, I am noticing the way my body is feeling, the way it is telling me to take it easy. I had ignored these signs before.

And yet, I know the power of rest. Some of my favorite spiritual passages are:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.
Be worried for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Next time, I won’t wait for malaria to tell me to rest. Why not take some time for rejuvenation, for a lifting of the load, for peacefulness and a quiet mind on a regular basis?

Rest is so rich. It can mean rest from anxiety and worry, rest from work, rest can mean to be secure in a single belief, rest in the abundance and support of grace… A friend once offered me this verse, “The Lord gives sleep to the one He loves.”

And on that note, I’m going back to sleep.

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