|Like walking in the mist...|
The last few months have been an interesting time for us here, getting used to a new routine that impacts everyone, with me starting 'Vicar School'. It all started off well, but by Christmas I was exhausted.
Some time ago I was diagnosed with CFS or Chronic Fatigue (I still say that I doubt the diagnosis but I did have clinical exhaustion). Since then I have changed my lifestyle, had a lot of prayer, taken better care of my body, had more prayer, eaten healthier, started running and I have generally been ok. I get the odd wobble, the odd tired day but mostly ok. Until December. In December I had a whole host of the old symptoms come back. Feeling continually nauseous, headaches, no energy, stressed, memory problems, and very very grumpy to name a few.
The reality is I was doing too much. Christmas is always a busy time of year, there is just a lot to do. Then add to that, I had a deadline, I had a mission project to complete, I had a preach to prepare and several services to lead. And just when I was ready to drop I had a Christmas lunch to cook and a power cut…
For weeks I had been saying, right, come boxing day I will be in PJ's all day on the sofa, doing nothing but watch Christmas movies all day. That thought kept me going (it’s the little things…) but in truth I should have stopped before then because I’m still paying for it now.
And what I realised as I look back is that I was so busy I had so little time for God. For about a month I tried to go it alone. Not deliberately but it just happened. I would oversleep and miss my prayer time. I would be so busy during the day that I had no time to stop and read my bible. Many days I had an afternoon kip when I should have been reading, and I haven’t done that since I was really ill.
Bill Hybels (a well known American Pastor) uses the phrase ‘too busy not to pray’ and I think it was famous evangelist Smith Wigglesworth who used to say that on his busy days he took extra time praying in the morning. Now I know why. On those days you need all the help you can get!
To be honest life without God is just not worth living. It's a bit like walking in the mist, you can't see where you are going, any decisions have to be almost guessed at, there might be the odd few landmarks pointing out of the mist, but your direction is not visible. Of course I didn't actually turn my back on him, I just didn't take the time to be with him, but that was enough. I don't want to have to be reminded about this again, because I don't ever want to try and do life without God again, deliberate or otherwise.
The peace that I feel when I walk closely with God is tangible. The encounters that happen when I am close to God are amazing. The atmosphere in our home is different when God is our guide. We have more fun, more laughter when Jesus is at the centre of our lives. I feel more balanced, I feel well, I know what I am supposed to be doing when I listen to God.
All those things and so many more, it's hard to describe how life is better walking with God, just that it is. And not just better, but amazing, fulfilling. I used to think I was happy before we really knew God, but this, this is just life changing (I'm not saying life is perfect and nothing ever goes wrong as we can see from this post, but it just feels so right!).
I hope this is a lesson I never have to learn again...