I have been neglecting my blog lately but I have been tired. Not just a little tired, but bone-crushing tired. The kind of tired you get when you're pregnant and capable of falling asleep mid-sentence. I'm not pregnant; so what is it? I thought maybe I was being too lazy in the mornings at home with the kids. I signed them up for VBS this week and volunteered with the ittie-bitties. So I'm busy in the mornings and still out of juice by mid-afternoon. I think I would feel better if I exercised but the idea of putting one foot in front of the other seems overwhelming right now, much less breaking out the Pilates video.
I know some of you will wonder why I don't go to the doctor. If you read Tuesday's post, you will see part of the reason. I've had bad luck with doctors. I'm not a fan of modern medicine beyond extreme cases. I mean, I give my kids Tylenol or Motrin for their fevers; I'm not mean. I take an Advil myself from time to time. But I prefer nutritional/herbal solutions and like to look at health from a holistic perspective. I know there are doctors who share my views. I drive almost an hour to the pediatrician even though there is one right down the street because my kids' doctor both will prescribe an antibiotic if it's called for and recommend Briar Rose to boost immunity and pulmonary function. She rocks.
I haven't found that magic doctor for myself. I have had a couple great recommendations but they are out of my current price range. Insurance has a funny attitude toward doctors who prescribe hyssop and whole grains over steroids and narcotics. I would go into my whole conspiracy theory about prescription drug companies and their plot to TAKE OVER THE WORLD but I'll spare you. Suffice it to say: I have to be in fear of death before I will go into a doctor's office.
So, instead, I've gone to the best resource I know. My concordance was lacking so I typed "What does the Bible say about energy?" into Google. If you ever want to try it, it's interesting. I have decided someone has typed that sentence with a different word at the end for just about every topic in the world. You would be amazed at what pops up as recommendations and if I had not had two little people vying for my attention while I tried to figure out how to gain enough energy to actually take care of them I would have explored further.
A brief disclaimer, if you will allow the lawyer in me to rear her ugly head: Concentrate on what the scripture itself says on any given topic. There will be some commentary. The views expressed by persons on the internet belong to those expressing them and not necessarily the Christian church at large... this blog included. I know there are some haters out there but there are lots of funky, loving, weird-in-a-good-way folks like me. I'm sure the truth is somewhere in the middle (closer to my side of the middle, of course, but I am trying to be generous). Take all of it with a grain of salt.
So my Google search came up with one verse on openbible.info. "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. That is a promise and my God is not a man that He should lie. Well, I'm definitely weary. And I'm willing to come to God, but it begs the question, "How?" Because I've been praying. Maybe not without ceasing, but a fair share of my time is devoted to prayer and I'm still so darn sleepy!
I remembered that in Nehemiah 8:10, he says, "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." If you think about it, you will know that this is so true. It is hard to be both truly joyful and truly exhausted at the same time. Not happy, joyful. Happy is like the Kool-Aid of emotions. It's fun while it lasts but there is inevitably going to be a sugar-crash. Happy is dictated by circumstances; joy is from God and is available for use in infinite amounts. It rises about circumstances and allows you to do the same. Those days in NICU or PICU, when Eddie's condition was "hopeless" and he was unconscious and hooked to machines, there was very little to be happy about. But I had a joy that transcended it all. I slept little in those days but had boundless energy and strength because I did not grieve but was filled, daily, with the joy of the Lord. I have to ask myself, again, "How?"
Another reason I don't go to the doctor with the sole complaint of fatigue and my current list of circumstances is because I feel confident the diagnosis will be anxiety or depression. I know I'm stressed out and I may be grieving a little so I don't think it would be incorrect. But I don't think I need meds. I think I need God. If joy, rest, and strength are promises, then I can rely on Jesus, the Great Physician. If I can rise above the darkest days with a desperately sick baby, then I can take two preschoolers and a lay-off. But how?
The Bible has the prescription. It really does have the answers to any question you might ask if you go a bit beyond the basic Google search. I found mine in the gospel of John. It comes (no big surprise here) from Christ himself. He says, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love...I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." So how to we get joy? We obey Christ's commands. What command does he give along with this promise? LOVE EACH OTHER. So if my joy is broken, it is a symptom not the disease. If I don't have joy or strength, if I'm not getting enough rest, then I'm not giving enough love.
We all know the people in our lives who we are loving incompletely. They are the ones with whom we are quick to anger and slow to forgive. You may have one or two you could name or you may have whole groups that bring out the devil in you. It may be someone as intimate as your spouse or general as those who hold certain political beliefs, are of a certain ethnicity, or have made a specific lifestyle choice. Hatred, the antithesis of love, eats up energy. Anger absorbs joy. I was able to have supernatural energy in the face of illness and death, because it was accompanied by an overwhelming love for Eddie and for God. In those days, it was easy to love everybody. I spent so much time witnessing the divine in the life of my beloved son that it was easy to see Him reflected everywhere I went. When you can see God shining in the eyes of others, even your "enemies," it is much easier to exhibit grace.
Normal life, for me, proves harder. I thought I got tired and then easily irritated but now I think it is the other way around. I am easily irritated and therefore tired. I am going to pray to love completely so that my joy may be complete. I am going to remember what it is like to see with the eyes of my heart, to see others as Christ sees them, and I'm going to pray that my heart be the heart of Christ. I am going to strive to be loving, not just to the world in general, but to those closest to me. I am going to ask God to change my heart so that I can love the haters, because judging them exhausts me. And I know that He will answer my prayer, because it is always His will that we obey Him, that we abide in Him, and that we partake of His joy and amazing grace.