Thursday, September 17, 2015

To press on, or to rest...

Yesterday I went for a run, if you could call it that. Over a month ago I was running, stepped in a hole and stumbled. Something popped in my upper hamstring area. Since then I have had pain in the back of my left leg whenever I try to run or even walk uphill. For the first week or so, I thought that I should rest it a bit, so I didn't go running. Of course, life here requires quite a bit of walking, so it was not possible to rest it completely. 

Recently I have been trying to go for some light jogs. If I try to take long strides my leg hurts quite a bit. Instead I have just been trying to slowly strengthen it with walking and jogging. As I was trying to run, I was wondering if I should just push through the pain to try to strengthen my leg, or if I should stop running and take a rest. 

In general I am the type of person who really wants to push myself. When I was training for basketball in college, I ran until I actually passed out. In many races that I have run, I push myself to finish well and end up vomiting. Obviously, those are examples of being unwise, pushing myself beyond my physical abilities. But challenging myself to press on through times of exhaustion and pain in running has been a picture of persevering in life. Even the apostle Paul uses the analogy, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil.3:14)

But the Bible also talks a lot about rest. It begins in Genesis 2 where God says that he rested from his work of creation on the seventh day, and continues throughout Scripture. Rest is included in the 10 commandments, and in the New Testament Jesus says, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

As I was trying to run along the dirt road, I was pondering about these things, not only in regards to the pain in my leg, but in daily life. Recently, David and I have been juggling many responsibilities, and I have often felt like I have reached my limit. I have always been extremely extroverted, wanting to spend time with people, but recently I have found myself longing to just go hide in my bedroom. I  often wonder, do I need to just press on or do I need to rest? Sometimes it becomes painfully obvious that I need to rest. When I find myself not loving my family well, I realize that I need some time alone to pray. As I was out running and some trucks forced me off the road, I decided I needed to walk a bit. 

So if there are not trucks forcing me off the road, what can help me know when to press on and when to rest? In Genesis, the seventh day was set aside for rest. The problem is, when you and your husband teach Sunday School and sometimes Children's Church, help with transporting kids with special needs to church, sometimes preach, serve as treasurer and an elder, assist with church mercy needs, oversee the GSF kids movie, sometimes host guests for lunch, cook and clean for a family of 6 and monthly participate in GSF family church in the evening, Sundays can be a bit exhausting. Recently I have realized that I need to find some other times for rest.

As I was talking with another missionary she mentioned that she finds it very helpful to have a time of personal retreat for quiet, prayer, listening to sermons and Bible reading every few months. As we were talking about how long we have been back since furlough I thought that it certainly had been 3 or 4 months. It has actually only been 2. I love living and serving here in Buundo Village, Uganda, but I am also wanting to be wise in order to get the rest I need to effectively serve long-term. Please pray that I would know when to press on and when to take time to rest. Also, feel free to pray for healing for my leg. :) 

These passages come to mind in the midst of my weakness.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us... So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Cor.4:7,16-18)

"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Cor.12:9)

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