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How Sickness Teaches Us To RestI took a sick day Monday. And for anyone who knows me, that’s a more significant accomplishment than hiking a grandeur mountain, most days. 
Taking a sick day, you might question. How or why in the world is that a larger and grander monument than hiking Mount Everest or running a marathon?
All my life I have been addicted to productivity and the belief that every moment is made for working. Perhaps from living “on edge” or in flight or fight mode the majority of my life; perhaps from having my own struggles. But from going to school as a teenager, to attending college and working full-time, the number of days I have missed work is nearly non-existent. However, the number of days I have gone in sick could probably extend to the number of fingers on my hands and toes on my feet. 
Last year, I wrote an article about missing work due to COVID-19. This year, I am writing about missing work for an extensive cold. Clearly, the Lord is still teaching me something.
First Signs and SymptomsI knew a cold was coming. Sniffling my way through the workday, my eyes glazed as my throat lurched. I told my students I was sick. I definitely felt sick. But I was a hard worker, and hard workers don’t miss work I told myself.
By the time I got home Friday evening, I was exhausted. The cold was progressing, but I was in denial. As someone who struggles with sickness anxiety, I didn’t want to believe it. 
But as I snuggled down into my comforter, I could barely breathe. My nose was stuffy, my throat felt like Freddy Kreuger had sliced it, and my ears were popping. In between coughing up mucus, sneezing, and stuffy sinuses, I knew this was going to be a weekend of rest. 
On Saturday, my symptoms heightened. I will surely be better by Monday, I thought. Yet after three days of resting, Monday rolled around, and as I attempted to get up for work I knew I still didn’t feel 100%. 
I was given an ultimatum in my mind: Do I go to work, or do I rest one more day? 
And for the first time in my life, I chose to rest.
Choosing to RestWhile I wrestled with myself quite a few times that morning, numerous feelings erupted from my chest. And I’m not talking about mucus or bodily fluids! Anger. Frustration. Confusion. Annoyance. 
I knew that if I pushed myself just a little bit, I probably could’ve gone to work and been okay. But as I lay back down, I started to realize something. 
Choosing to rest when you’re sick is not a sin. And God doesn’t tell us to work ourselves to death when we’re not feeling well.
Lessons from the SickbedEspecially for those of us who have options to work from home, choosing to rest in a society that screams go is difficult. It is not easy. It certainly feels more uncomfortable than comfortable. But in my days of rest, I truly believe that God spoke something profound over my weak and weary soul.
Because on my days off, the Lord spoke more to me in one day of rest than in my months and years of busyness. The Lord whispered His voice in one singular day of taking care of myself over my days and hours over-extended, bowing to the god of productivity. And in my bed, I heard him say, “rest and eat.” “Rest and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” Immediately, I knew the reference from Elisha. 
Where the journey is too much for him and he wants to give up and die. But instead of giving up, the Lord feeds Elisha and gives him rest. He knows he’s been through a lot so far and is weary, but he also knows that if Elisha does not start taking care of himself in the here and now, the journey ahead will also be too much for him. Can you relate?
Rest and EatOver the past decades I’ve carried so much physical, mental, and emotional trauma and pain it often takes my breath away. It’s exhausting, debilitating, and discouraging. I keep on trekking, but the weights continue to grow in stature and density. I do not like to take rest days, and often, my rest days are filled with mental tasks if not physical extremities. Maybe there is a reason I succumb to busyness, so I don’t have to slow down and deal with everything I’m feeling.
Yet God has been calling me to just stop. To rest. To eat. To sleep. To be with Him in these moments.
Fight the BusynessSo why have I heard more from God on two days of resting than I have in years worth of busyness?
Perhaps because He never called us to be busy.
To be slaves.
To be addicts to productivity and wealth.

He formed the Heavens and Earth in six days. Yet on the seventh, He rested.
Not for Himself, but for us.
Who am I to think I’m exempt from needing that?
To pause.
To breathe.
To stop.
Heck, to be sick and recognize I’m not immune.

He called me to live.To breathe air and chase mountains.
To accomplish tasks and demolish strongholds.
But He also called me to rest.
In Him.
And pause.
Perhaps so I can hear.
Perhaps so I can listen.
Perhaps so I can selah.
As was always intended and created just for me.

For while no one ever says, “I love being sick.”Stuffy nose.Clogged ears.Coughing mucus.Nasal pressure.Sore throat.Stomach pain.The whole works that have infected my body.Plagued my soul with too many thoughts for comfort. 
I begin to set the frustrations aside. I still hear the questions in my mind: “How did I get sick? How could this happen to me? Why me?” Productivities’s accusations split the skin like cracked and cold winter hands: “You just need to push more. You just need to work harder. You simply aren’t strong enough.” Uncertainties voice riddles in the background: “How long will this last? How do I get better? Why is sickness a part of humanity?”
But today, I am choosing to declare and acknowledge that I am not infinite. Nor am I powerful, perfect, or created to be a machine that works until it dies. I am not perfect. I am not anything without my Creator. 
And so, as I’m sick, I will remember that I am human. I am created for work. But I am also created for rest. 
Sickness isn’t a failure.It isn’t a judgment call on me.It happens to all of us.And still, He is with me.He can heal me.He can provide.With time.With rest.As He sees fit.
Fight For RestThrough the window in my bedroom, I stare at the fresh sheet of winter snow outside. And though I am still sick, I smile within. God not only had me take a sick day yesterday, but he closed school today due to inclement weather. I am always surprised by His grace for my needs. But why should I be? He’s always able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we ask or imagine. So when it comes to taking care of me while I’m sick, why should I expect anything different?
I’m on the path to healing from my cold. It’s been 8 days of rest and I’m going a bit stir-crazy. But as I take my antibiotics and prepare to go back to work, I have a fresh and new mindset. Much like the blanket of snow outside my window. It accomplishes what it is set to do, but it does not rush. It goes where it is sent when it is sent, but it always rests in its Creator.