[Part 3, Chapter 16]
It was hard to admit to myself. Even harder to admit to Julie.
“Julie, I don’t want to talk about it at the moment, but I now agree my health niggles are probably stress related. I know I’ve been under pressure. You know I’ve been feeling anxious.”
There, it was out. But I still didn’t want to discuss it. I’d had two visits to Emergency with chest tightness and shoulder pain and had received the all clear. But was still tense all over.
Things needed to change.
Normally, I would go for a run. You know, more effort, push out a performance, track a workout, get a rating, go hard or go home. But I didn’t.
I went for a stroll. A slow one. It was intentional, Holy Spirit initiated.
You see, I had been doing things a lot more quickly lately, rushing. I hadn’t planned to, it just seemed to have happened. Margins had been pushed out of my life.
The good news is, neither you nor I lose favour when we rush or become anxious. Sadly, what we do lose is our awareness and appreciation of favour.
There I was, strolling up the road, and I prayed, “Father, what am I missing about you and me and your heart that has me living anxiously?”
You can ask that question about anything. It’s one of the best questions I know.
Straight away this verse came to mind.
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
This is an invitation of favour. Jesus invites us to come to him!
Whatever stressors are in our life and whatever is the cause of anxiety, Jesus yearns for us to come to him for perspective, so he can give us his rest and peace.
Doctors, counsellors, dieticians, personal trainers, pharmacists, psychologists, life-coaches … they can play a vital role in our wellbeing in certain situations, but they are not the generators of favour that release soul-rest and peace.
Strolling down the road, hearing Jesus’ invitation to come to him, I prayed, “Jesus, I am so grateful you don’t burden me with expectations to live up to. I lay down any presuppositions I have about people liking this book, that I have to meet self-imposed deadlines, and that I even have to meet with all these people before we go away. I give it to you. I receive your favour in place of expectations. I allow you to order my days and schedule. I yoke myself to you.”
“And now, for the remainder of this stroll, I choose to simply appreciate your creation and enjoy your presence.”
And I did.