I have just got back from holiday, from a week away in Montenegro. I didn’t realise how much I needed a break, until I had one. It was only when I left all the worries and strains of my life behind me, that I realised just how desperately I needed the time and space away from it all.
Life these past few months has felt like running on a treadmill set on a slope. Every week the slope has got a little steeper the pace a bit faster. I have tried to keep my eyes fixed ahead, tried to convince myself that next week would be easier. I have tried to ignore the weight on my shoulders and the shallowness of my breath. Closing my eyes to the things I have been dropping as I ran. I have been so focussed on putting one foot in front of the other.
But I needed to step off the treadmill, to shake off the stress and leave it behind me. I needed time to remember who I am, away from the daily grind of life.
I needed to remind myself that I am more than a job. More than targets, the ones I hit and the ones I don’t. I am more than what other people think of me, more than their judgments and praise. I am more than my past, more than the weight of my memories. And more than my future, what I will or won’t achieve. I am even more than the reality of my present. I am more than Chronic illness, more than the battle to keep my head above water. My life is more than the sum of the love I have given out and received, more than those I love and those I have lost.
I needed to rediscover how to breathe again. How to sit and simply be. To breathe in the reality of God’s goodness and his complete control over my life. To let go of the illusion that I could ever do this on my own. To absorb his love and grace and release some of the pain and confusion of this last year. I had to feel the air fill my lungs, to remember what enjoying life felt like. Breathing in the promise that life in all its fullness will be mine. Sometimes you have to switch off all the distractions of modern life to rediscover your purpose.
Sometimes you need to travel to realise that some things don’t change. To see that you can go to any corner of the world, and still be known by the one who put the stars in the sky. I could flee to the depths of the ocean, or scale the tallest peaks and still not escape his love. No matter how far I go, I will never really be lost.
And nothing truly miraculous has happened. I am back home now and my fatigue feels just the same. I can feel a wave of stress waiting to hit. In many ways nothing has changed. But I caught a glimpse of that spark I have lost along the way, remembered that life is for living not simply existing. That spark will help motivate me with the changes that I need to make, some were set in motion before I went on holiday. I am going to do what I can to turn the treadmill down and leave some of the stress behind for good.
As the busyness of life sets in once more, and my holiday becomes a more distant memory, I have to remember to stop and be still. I have to keep breathing in God’s promises and his faithfulness. Deep breaths filled with the beauty and joy of life. Taking every day as a new beginning, a new page to be written.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.