FILL UP THAT TANK
About this time last week, I was sitting at my desk when, all of the sudden, my chest tightened and my throat closed up. “What the heck just happened,” I thought. As the minutes passed, I did what anyone would do… I googled every symptom I was having and diagnosed myself with sixteen different and, of course, fatal diseases. Panic stricken, I called my doctor’s office, and one of her nurses encouraged me to come in so they could check my vitals. When I got there, my blood pressure and heart rate were a little elevated, but the nurse didn’t seem to be too worried. The next day, guess what? The same darn thing happened. So, I went back to my doctor’s office to sit down and talk with her about how I was feeling. My husband, being the doll that he is, came with me because he knew I was really concerned about myself. As we sat with my doctor, she listened intently to everything I was feeling and, in the gentlest way, said, “Jill, I think what you’re experiencing is anxiety.” “Are you sure it’s not this or that,’’ I said. “No, the doctor said once more, I think you’re experiencing anxiety. It’s not abnormal. I see it all day, every single day. You need to make a conscious effort to relax.” “Relax? How the heck do I do that,” I thought.
As soon as we got into the car, I thanked my husband for supporting me and being kind and being patient and being, well, my hubby. And, in a strong, rarely used voice he said, “You have got to relax. Calm down. Enjoy life. Stop trying to make so many positive changes. Stop trying to be all things to all people. Get a grip. Settle down. Keep life simple.” Totally dumbfounded by his very direct and, dare I say, accurate statement, I knew what he was saying was true.
I am, like most, constantly thinking about what I need to do, change, achieve and the list goes on. It’s never ending. In the west, rest is something for the weary and not the warrior. But, we’ve really got that backwards. When we’re rested, we are our most productive selves. And, rest and relaxation are not signs of laziness, rather, they’re signs of someone who understands their basic needs and intentionally strives to meet them.
Sometimes in the afternoon, I’ll drive through the neighborhood where men, who have been hard at work landscaping homes, have taken a break, and, by break I mean taken a “siesta” underneath the shade of a tree. They’ve worked so hard and know they still have lots of work to do, but they listen to their bodies and honor it’s needs.
Rest and relaxation are not just important, they’re necessary. If you’re in a place similar to what I was in last week, I implore you to slow down, rest and relax. Life is short. We’re not hamsters on a wheel. We’re created by and mighty God to do mighty things. But, we’ll never do mighty things without fulfilling our basic needs.
We wouldn’t hop in a car and set out on an important journey with an empty tank of gas, would we? No, we’d fill up our cars up, balance the tires, check the oil, wash it, wax it and get it smelling like a rose before we ever took off. Will we do the same for ourselves? The choice is up to each of us, and it’s a great one. Rest. Relax. Fill up that tank. It just might make the journey less stressful and much more beautiful.
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