Friends, I’ve been tired. Like bone-weary fatigue kind of tired. Where you just hit a wall like a tomato and kind of drip down said wall until you land in a pile of mush.
Ever felt that gross and tired?
I hit that point a few weeks ago. Having Crohn’s disease (chronic gastrointestinal autoimmune disease…say that five times fast), fatigue is my baseline. I start out tired. Even if I somehow manage to get eight hours of sleep, I’d still wake up tired. It’s an exhausting beast of a disease.
Earlier this year, I was sick with a flu/cold/sinus situation for about six weeks. It was miserable. I coughed to the point I ended up in urgent care one Saturday in so much pain that I thought I might have pneumonia (and the doc thought I might too). But it turns out the super fun coughing jags had cracked a rib, hence, the sharp, 8-on-the-pain-scale pain.
It took a few weeks, but the pain started to subside. And I felt better, back to my “normal.” And I got back to my regularly scheduled life and activities.
And then we dared to plan a vacation. Our first family one in a few years. My daughter and I had traveled together to Europe. My husband and son had gone to Washington DC. But it’d been a few years before we went away for more than a night all together.
It was time.
My husband was turning 50 (!), so I planned a family getaway. And then the fervent praying commenced.
Lord, please let me have energy for this trip.
Lord, please don’t let my intestines give me trouble on this trip.
Lord, please let me be supernaturally healthy and energetic for this trip. You know how important this time is for all of us.
And then a week before our trip…I got sick. Tap. Tap. Is this thing on? God, didn’t you hear me?!
I felt so defeated. We hadn’t planned a trip in literal years and my husband turns 50 and we plan one, and that’s when I get sick? Come on!
That same cold and sinus delight had returned. And one evening I was folding laundry and was bent over, and I had a sudden sneeze, and bam…my rib popped. The pain was so severe I almost asked my husband (with what little breath I could gasp out) to take me to the ER. That’s how bad it was.
And then, I woke up the next morning with wrist pain. I felt like I had injured it but there was no bruise, just pain.
That’s where the wall comes in. And then I did something really nice for myself. I said what I needed.
My family and I went to church and when we came home, I had a talk with them, a very nice talk. I explained that I was just feeling so tired and so yucky that I needed the whole day off. I declared it early Mother’s Day since we’d be on vacation on the actual holiday. I explained what needed to be done for the day: some dishes, dinner, those kinds of things. Then I took a nap. A couple of them.
My family stepped up. They didn’t complain. They didn’t really say much, they just did for me. They respected my need for rest and a time out. I needed to do literally nothing but take care of myself. So I spent the day napping, having tea, watching television, and hanging out with them. And that. Was. It.
And it was fantastic. Soothing. Healing. Soul rest.
I’m not saying it was a cure-all, but it’s no coincidence that within two days my symptoms were clearing up. My hand pain went away. My rib was so much better literally overnight (thanks to prayer, rest, and some kinesiology tape). And I was feeling stronger, physically but emotionally too.
I had voiced my needs. Out loud. I asked for what I needed, which is very rarely something I do. I’m not super sure I’ve ever really done it. Not like I did that day.
Have you ever done this? Only you know your true limits. What do you do when you reach yours? Do you shove on through, risking your health? If you do, knock it off. Taking a break is where it’s at, I’m telling you.
There’s a reason God created a day of rest. He knew that’d be where it’s at for all of us. We need rest. Not just sleep, but rest. Time to ourselves, to our thoughts, to unplug, and just be.
Do it. Take time for yourself. Really try to do it on a daily basis. You might only be able to squeeze out 15 minutes some days, but do it. Get your nails done. Read a chapter in a book. Watch an episode on Netflix. Take a bath. Take a nap. Call a friend. Get your favorite coffee and sit at the beach or a park and just look. Go buy a new lipstick or a favorite treat.
Those small breaks are refreshing, but sometimes we need bigger breaks too. It’s not selfish either, so don’t even allow yourself to think it is. A need is a need.
Our vacation was amazing, by the way. I’ll share more about that later. I believe giving myself that day off and then treating myself really gently for the next days, made a huge difference in how my body reacted on our trip. And God. I really should give Him the credit because I do believe He heard my cries for healing and rest and renewal. He has showed up lately in a big way in my life and I have to wonder if He’s really “showing up” or if my eyes are just more on Him so I can see with more clarity just how present He is every moment.
When was the last time you took the day off just for you?
Get some soul rest,