Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. I Kings 19:5-6 (NLT)
In our various roles as wives and mothers, our schedules reflect times when life is crazy-busy and we go for weeks on end with no breaks. The big project has an end date but there is so much to do before we get there. Clutter spreads itself around the house, quick, on-the-go meals are standard fare, homework help is sandwiched between phone calls and computer work, tempers snap, and guilt weighs us down. Will we make it?
Then the day comes when it’s all over. DONE. Yes, there is a sense of relief but there is also a feeling of let-down. Even with the craziness, there was a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Now what do I do?
In the story of Elijah, a wonderful and challenging victory left the prophet feeling depressed and useless. Instead of God saying, “Hurray, Elijah. Let’s go do it again,” He carefully tucked him under a juniper tree and told him to take a nap. He didn’t criticize him or tell him to suck it up. No, He let him sleep, woke him with a home-cooked picnic, and then told him to take another nap. Finally, after he’d rested, eaten his fill, and regained some perspective, God gave him his next assignment.
So, what is the prescription for that adrenalin letdown? Take care of yourself. Your body is tired mentally, physically, and spiritually. Pushing yourself to the next challenge, without taking time to replenish and refill your body and soul, is a dangerous plan. The enemy is waiting to strike at your weak points and take you down the wrong path. Depression may be lurking, too.
We live in a world of options but that means you must choose. Stopping the rat race and resting is not glamorous after all the attention you have just received. With family around, it may seem impossible. However, we must if we hope to regain our footing and avoid depression or worse.
God promises to speak to us in a still, small voice. Hopefully, we are spending time with Him so we can hear it. But if life is out of control, He is not above using a giant two-by-four to get our attention. How many times do we find ourselves with a bad cold, strep, or flu after we stop pushing ourselves to get to the finish line? He will put the brakes on one way or another.
God was not done with Elijah and gave him a gift of time to get some much-needed rest and sustenance. We must do the same:
Take a nap.
Make a favorite sandwich and sit at the table to eat it.
Take another nap.
Spend quiet time in the Word with your Father.
Learn to say “no”.
Talk to a friend just because you want to.
Get a Starbucks and drink it in the cafe.
Take a walk noticing the change of colors.
I’ve found it doesn’t take long to get back to “normal” but it’s a must-do. Elijah obeyed God, accepted the gift of time, and was soon ready for the next adventure.
Time for a nap?