Why Can’t I Rest?

girl laying in grass

I’m scrambled. Laundry invades my personal space. My feet fail me in the minefield of toddler chaos dispersed across the floor. My body tells the story of the struggle with the dead weight of tantrums and self-neglect. I’m tired to say the least. 

I started physical therapy last week for an impingement in my shoulder. The edges of my shoulders nearly met the tips of my ear lobes as my body seeks to guard itself against recurring pain. How am I to function in this space? And these are just the external things. 

Internally, grief crouches at the door of my heart waiting to pounce at the most inconvenient moment as I attempt to move forward after my father’s passing. Internally, I can’t seem to settle my mind on just one thought. The pressure of life, the woes of death, the anxiety for what’s to come is a little too much for this embodied woman. 

There used to be a time when I would push past my limits. I have now learned that some limits are meant to be respected, not conquered. But, how am I supposed to juggle the juxtaposition of feelings felt and the truth that I should be running towards? 

I am tired. Is there any rest for this weary soul? 

He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.

Psalm 23:2-3

My life seems anything but still and my soul feels everything but restored. How can I nestle into the truth of this passage when the whirlwind around me seems to be so much stronger? So I guard myself. I lean on my own understanding. I conjure up my own strength, and I self-protect. 

But, do you know what that leads to? Spoiler alert. It leads to a shoulder impingement that you have to go to spiritual physical therapy for. 

See, I injured my upper pectoral muscle in the summer of 2020. I massaged it out, I stretched. I moved on. From then until January 2022, I sought temporal treatment and tried to avoid injuring it further, but I failed. This shoulder issue I am dealing with now is actually a progression from the original injury. It went from a strained pectoral muscle to overly tense trapezoids, mid back pain, a random quad strain and an impinged shoulder. See, instead of resting and rehabilitating my original injury, I overcompensated in other areas to make up the difference. One isolated strain has now affected my whole upper body. I can’t lift my arms. I can’t hold my children. And let’s not talk about sleeping. 

He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. 

Muscle tweaks should be properly attended to. In the same way, so should spiritual and emotional tweaks. Let me ask you a question: What’s that thing that you have been stuffing? What’s that thing that you thought would go away with time so you just let it fester and now you find yourself in a place of suffering from a spiritual and emotional impingement? 

Have you ever stopped to think that maybe it isn’t that the Lord isn’t leading you beside still waters? Maybe it’s that you have become so guarded that you actually wouldn’t trust the Lord to lead you anywhere. As a result,you work really hard to create your own manmade lake in the name of sitting beside the stale waters of self sufficiency. I don’t know about you, but that’s me. I’m the stale water person! But I refuse to remain in this place.

I want to learn to lean. I don’t want what my hands can sustain. I want the endless mercies of God poured out at the banqueting table of His grace. I want to choose to trust that even in the midst of this chaos, He is able and willing to lead me beside still waters and restore my soul. But, for Him to lead me beside still waters, I have to first be willing to be led. For Him to restore my soul, I have to first acknowledge the places that need to be restored and accept the fact I need Him to do it. 

I can keep trying to go to spiritual and emotional YouTube channels looking for DIY remedies for “shoulder impingements”, or I can lay down and allow the one who made my body, studies my body and knows my body to begin the process of healing in my body from the inside out.

So let’s survey our hearts today and ask the Lord to reveal the spiritual and emotional tweaks that have kept us from receiving His restorative love and sustaining grace.

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