Tag Archives: recovery

44: Exhausted

exhausted

I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.” Daniel 8:27 NIV

Thinking I would be too tired today to write another entry (I write two on a Saturday so that I don’t have to work on the Sabbath), I thought I may as well use that and ponder exhaustion. I’m very familiar, thanks to my chronic illness, with physical and mental exhaustion and the emotional lability that comes with it. But in this verse, Daniel is suffering from yet another kind of being wiped out. He has vision fatigue. My diagnosis is spiritual exhaustion.

I’ve noticed that, even in my own small way as a mystic, with the revelations, pictures and words that the Lord gives me, or the intercessions that he asks me to make, that exhaustion or feeling very ill often follows. The same is true of any spiritual ecstasies. If we pay attention in our reading, we see that this is something that all men and women of God have experienced. It is almost as though we have to pay for the high with a low. Hildegard of Bingen suffered bouts of illness after visions, as did Teresa of Avila, and in the Old Testament we see this here with Daniel and also perhaps most dramatically with Elijah. After the great prophet has dealt with the priests of Baal with immense faith and energy, he is floored by a death threat and runs for his life, ending up completely exhausted and full of woes to the point of being suicidal.

The Lord’s response to this is encouraging, for he does not berate Elijah, and he continues to favour Daniel, as he did both these female doctors of the church. God understands what his faithful devoted servants suffer, and they are always allowed time to rest and recover from what they have done or received in his service. Elijah is brought cake and water by angels, and told he must recover his strength “for the journey.” It might have seemed an odd thing for God to tell him that there was more to do, but I think knowing that more purpose awaited him was helpful and motivation to this man of God laid so low. To know God has never finished with us is a great boon, and to know that it is okay to stop and recover ourselves, and that the exhaustion is normal, is also a big help.

Sabbath is all about this of course, and so Sunday for Christians and Friday sundown through to Saturday sundown for Jews is a sacred time for all, but perhaps especially for those of us who are worn out. Rest is part of God’s creation too, and he set us a great example in sitting back and enjoying his handiwork on the seventh day. If the Lord and his greatest prophets all needed a break, you can guarantee that the rest of us do too. If nothing else, we need time to step back from all we are doing in the week and evaluate what is good as well as letting the visions settle and mature before they run off with us.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Not sure where the photo is from – will come back and rectify this later 🙂

Advertisements

31: Cave Man

31 cave stocksnap

He attacked them viciously and slaughtered many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave in the rock of Etam.” Judges 15:8

I am thinking about caverns, the places we hide ourselves or retreat to today, and this example from the life of Samson intrigued me. When we’ve been through something traumatic or exhausting, a cavern seems like a good place to be. We often draw ourselves in, like a snail into its shell, treating our own bodies or homes as a sanctuary, a place to lick our wounds or just take some time to breathe and recover ourselves.

For some of us, this can take many years. I often see it written or hear it said that men need “cave time” after confrontation or difficulty, but I think the same is true of women too, and even children do this. But an interior place of silence where we feel we can protect ourselves and defend our ground, is a very useful life-tool to have, and sadly, few emotional outlets are deemed acceptable to men, so perhaps this is why this one is well-used by them in particular. But these caves we hole ourselves up in are meant to be temporary: places of respite and restoration.

Staying here for long periods of time can lead to an isolation and seclusion that may become unhealthy for us. I guess it really depends on why we are there, why we are drawn back into our shells. These places can become a breeding ground for self-pity or a foundation for a deeper relationship with the Lord. If we find ourselves sickened by the violence of the world (including our own, as perhaps Samson felt), then time set aside in solitude and silence can become a hermitage, a place of peace and prayer.

So as with anything in life, it is about recognising seasons and not outstaying them. I find this a hard truth to take in today, since my life for the last twenty years has been an enforced cave dwelling, with my chronic illness keeping me hidden away from the world. I have come to love the quiet and hate the busy-ness of the world, and don’t have the energy to partake in society in any case. I hope I have used some of my cave time well, becoming a contemplative creative. God has certainly used my setting aside to mould me better into my true self. Perhaps I shall remain a recluse. But if the seasons change, my health improves and I feel the light at the entrance intriguing or calling me, I might venture out into new pastures.

All timings are the Lord’s and he uses our times of society and of seclusion for good, if only they are given over to him. So even in the recesses of our caverns, in the dark and failing light, we can say, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from stocksnap.com

163: Pothole

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Collapsed under the sheer weight of traffic, implosion caused by heavy loads that were never yours to bear, not for you to carry, even for that one moment in which they passed over, rumbling in thundering juggernauts. Now you stand, cracked and broken, dug out to the composite core, fissures filling with rainwater, and see no way out. There is no budget for repairs, no end to the emptiness, and you sink down and spread out in your misery, and even your edges are lost to you.

Road pock now avoided by all, leper of the lane, I pray might you now find a calm in the centre of the highway that you grace. Might you now relax into your frayed borders, new crow’s feet cracks forming as you take the time to laugh in the rain. Might you now, perhaps, sometimes sing of what lies beneath the smoothness and teach all of us how to make ponds and gardens out of the sinkholes in our lives.

 

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016