When my husband prepared to deploy for the first time in our marriage, I got a lot of advice. One of the most common pieces of advice I heard was, “Get busy, and stay busy.” The implication was that if I was busy enough, I wouldn’t have the time to laze about eating copious amounts of chocolate, weeping over every bite in misery. And while that may be true, I’ve found that busy-ness isn’t really an ideal way to live life, in any circumstance.
When I am busy, I tend to have a single track mind. Eyes set on the goal, blinders up. So whether I’m at work or running errands or shopping with my sister, I’m focused on the task at hand, and possibly evaluating the next task to be conquered. Suddenly, I’m arranging an entire week’s worth of events in one day! After about a month of this, I have a headache most of the day, my stomach is in constant rebellion, I’m irritable and snippy, and sleep is elusive. This is not better than desperately missing my husband.
The problem is that we were not designed to live in such a state of constant movement. As Dr. Archibald Hart, author of The Anxiety Cure puts it, “your mind and body were designed for camel speed. Your life is moving at the speed of a cheetah. No wonder you’re having anxiety attacks.” Cheetah speed is not sustainable without doing significant damage to one’s mind, body and spirit. We need to be quiet, to be still. We need rest, even when we are afraid of might come out of taking such time to rest.
The question then becomes, what can I do while I’m resting in order to be sure I don’t slide into that dark abyss of loneliness, fear, and general self-pity? Even though doing while resting seems contradictory, I’d contend that not living like a cheetah does not mean ceasing to move altogether. The comparison is camels and cheetahs; just move a little slower. I appreciate the reminder of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. In all circumstances, the endeavors of my life ought to be to glorify God and to enjoy Him.
With the risk of sounding heretical, I’ve revamped a few of the passages that helped me to focus on the truth during that deployment and have true rest in my spirit:
- “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things, even this deployment: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36).
- “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s…. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, even though you are without your husband, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31).
- “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things,including me and my husband, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
And enjoy Him forever:
- “The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup: you make my lot secure during all seasons of life, including this deployment. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who has given me counsel, even though I don’t love this situation: my heart also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me, and particularly during those lonely nights: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices: my body also shall rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in hell; neither will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:5-11).
- “Happy is that people of whom this is true; happy is that people, whose God is the LORD, because this truth extends beyond our circumstances” (Psalm 144:15).
- “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid of being alone, of losing my love: for the LORD is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation” ( Isaiah 12:2).
- “Rejoice in the Lord always, even if this doesn’t seem like a season full of joy: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).
So instead of getting busy, I allow myself to rest. I am enjoying the blessings of the Lord, because I enjoy the Lord, and trust Him with my heart and my husband. And I even in this simple shift, I glorify God and find relief from the anxiety and fear that can be so overwhelming.
Hart, A. (2001). Anxiety cure. Word Publishing,us.