Clint Eastwood is known for a famous line: “Man’s got to know his limitations”. This is a very true statement. Often when we are grieving, we don’t realize how depleted we have become. We really do try to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible after our child has passed on, especially when there are other siblings who need attending to. We place ourselves on auto-pilot not realizing the detriment we may be causing ourselves.
I have suffered from burn-out on Grief sites on a few occasions to the extent of even shutting my site down a few times. I was not willing or able to see that I was allowing myself to be drained. I would stay up all night on many occasions writing or speaking with others, often not even eating until 2:00 AM. Sometimes, my computer would crash and at 1st I was angry. Then I would realize that it was God’s way of ‘pulling the plug’ when I refused to take a break when I desperately needed to do so. Sometimes I have wondered if I was simply being compulsive, but most times I was not willing to take off time to care for me. I would feel an unfounded guilt in doing so. I didn’t want anyone to feel as if I was abandoning them in their time of need.
I have to work at having a healthy balance.
I was reminded today of two near-drowning incidences where another was involved. I had a 3rd, but that is not relevant at this time. The first occurred at the public pool when I was about five years old. My mom had taught me to swim when I was three and we had to spend the summer in another State because my dad had a special teaching assignment at an University. However, she wanted a more thorough instruction for me because in the summer, I was in the water almost daily. I absolutely loved it and would only get out of the water when we were forced to take ten minute breaks every hour by the lifeguards. During one of these lessons, a neighborhood friend by the name of Cindy was struggling and placed her arms around my neck. My attempts to help her were fruitless and she eventually pulled me under while trying to climb on top of me to keep herself afloat. The second incident occurred when I was about 19-20 years old. We had been attending a wedding down in the park by a river and all went swimming afterwards. We hadn’t noticed the river rising during the day as a result of storms that had passed through the night before. In this incident, Debbie was hanging on for dear life to some rocks so she wouldn’t be swept over the stone barrier by the current. As soon as I noticed her, I jumped in and grabbed hold of her arm. She was then able to secure herself, but then I got washed over into the waterfall on the other side and she lost her grip on me.
In both of these near-drowning occurrences, I did not take note of my own personal needs and limitations. Years ago I read something written by Watchman Nee in which he laid out the importance of ‘replenishing the warehouse’. He pointed out that even Jesus took time to be away from the crowds and those in need, to go off and pray and be alone with the Father. He actually did this quite frequently. He had no reservations in getting His own needs met. Some would view such things as being selfish, but I do not see Jesus as ever being selfish. He was simply being wise.
Another grieving Momma shared tonight something her Dad use to say that I hope she doesn’t mind me passing on. She said he would comment: “The rescuers become the victim”. She had also had a similar near-drowning experience as I had with Cindy. This is a very wise and insightful statement. We who serve, whether it be in the capacity of meeting the needs of our family or a community, need to be vigil in regards to our own limitations. We are not being selfish by taking time for ‘me’. An empty warehouse can’t help anyone. In order to have the necessary stamina, we need to take time for ‘me’. It’s essential. We are not super-beings, nor are we the center of the universe. In our absence, we have to trust that God will provide and meet the needs of others He has placed in our path. If some get upset…and some will…we can still pray for them and trust they will find another to help them. We can’t allow ourselves to be pulled under the current and drown.
In that second incident I mentioned with Debbie, after I had been washed over the stone wall and was tumbling over and over again as if I was doing somersaults in the waterfall, I suddenly heard a ‘voice’ that simply said: “Rest”. I believe that was the Lord. As I obeyed upon hearing that, I stopped struggling to get to the surface and I allowed by body to go completely limp. As I did so, I immediately popped up to the surface. Even God rested on day seven, the Sabbath. Let us be mindful to do so, as well, in spite of the accusations and unfounded guilt that may be thrown at us for doing so.
Hebrews 4: (VOICE)
9 There still remains a place of rest, a true Sabbath, for the people of God 10 because those who enter into salvation’s rest lay down their labors in the same way that God entered into a Sabbath rest from His.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
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