Friday, June 4, 2010

When the Journey is too Much

Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. I Kings 19:4

Do you ever feel as if you have had enough?  In the passage of scripture above the prophet Elijah had grown weary on his journey to the point he asked the Lord to take his life, then he laid down under a broom tree in the dessert and slept. He was awakened by an angel whom the Lord had sent to feed him and strengthen him. Elijah ate the food the Lord prepared to nourish his body and then he laid back down under the tree and rested some more. 

He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. I Kings 19:6

When we grow weary on our journey through life we usually don't think about resting and nourishing our bodies. We are often encouraged to rush off to our doctor who quickly writes out a prescription for anti-anxiety drugs or anti-depressants. Resting is seen as a sign of weakness in a performance-driven world where we are encouraged to keep pushing ourselves. Often what we need most is rest and nourishing food.  It's okay to rest when we grow tired, weary, anxious, or depressed.

Then the angel of the LORD came again and touched him and said, "Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you." I Kings 19:7

I'm finding extra rest and eating healthy to be helpful to me as I go through a "wilderness" experience in my personal life. I  was feeling quite anxious and discouraged in recent weeks. I was pleasantly surprised that after just a few days of getting to bed earlier and taking a short nap after work how different I felt. The anxiety has lessened tremendously, and I feel as if I can cope much better with things. I've also let some things go. I'm not stressing myself out about the housework and yard work. When I feel up to it, it will get done. For now I need to curl up under the broom tree like Elijah did and rest and nourish my physical body so that I have the strength needed to continue on.

I type medical reports for my job, and the most common complaints people see their doctors for are exhaustion and depression. Even children are experiencing this at alarming rates. The outcome is always the same; usually a medication for depression and another for anxiety. Oddly, many of these patients return still exhausted and depressed, and the doctors add yet another medication on. I often wonder why these medications fail to help. Could it be possible that what is really lacking is rest combined with healthy nourishing food? 

When your walk through the wilderness seems long and tiring, and it feels as if the journey is too much to bear, remember it is okay to feel discouraged and in despair. These are normal emotions that all human beings experience at one time or another. Your journey through the wilderness won't last forever. It will pass. In the meantime, why not rest and nourish your weary body? Think about Elijah under the broom tree and let it be a reminder that when the journey becomes too much that God provides strengthening for our physical bodies through rest and nourishment. Rest is a God-given prescription that strengthens and refreshes weary travelers.
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