The word “rest” gives me anxiety. I’m the type of person who loves living on the go. I love knowing at the end of the day that I used each moment of my day productively. Give me too much free time with nothing to do and I start to want to pull my hair out. When I hear the word “rest” I often hear “wasted time” instead. Last year, I worked for a mission organization in Haiti where I led short-term teams, discipled women, took photographs, and more. Every ounce of my day was filled to the brim. From before the sun came up to after the sun went down I was busy. I loved the busyness. But it did not take long for me to become burned out. I wasn’t sleeping well because I knew I had so much to do the next day. I was sprinting and never slowed down. I worshipped the busyness.
Recently, I moved back to the States and I was unprepared for the switch of pace that awaited me. My life couldn’t look more different than it did a year ago. The pace here is much slower. As if a switch of culture and pace of life wasn’t enough, COVID-19 hit and I was given even more time. This summer, I at first felt guilty for all the free time I had and at times still do. I began to notice when people asked me, “What have you been up to?” I felt the need to express how busy I was. The truth was I wasn’t busy at all. There is a new term psychologists have coined for millennials and it is called “hurry sickness”. It is defined as a behavioral pattern characterized as continual rushing and anxiousness. It is hard to admit, but one could easily say I have “hurry sickness”. I constantly feel the need to rush and do, but in the rushing, I miss being still with God.
I cannot help but wonder if this season of my life God is calling me to “rest”. To rest from “hurry sickness”. To sit in His presence with the time I have been given and be still. To walk alongside him at His pace and not my own. In 1 Kings 19:4-8, Elijah journeys into the wilderness alone. He is tired and weak. Elijah himself admits to God he cannot go any further, so he lays down and sleeps. Later he is awakened by an angel who gives him food and drink. After speaking to Elijah, the angel lets him fall back to sleep. Then the angel of the Lord returns, but this time he says to Elijah, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” (1 Kings 19:7) God knew that Elijah couldn’t continue on his journey alone and He knew Elijah needed rest. This year has been the exact opposite of what I had imagined. I’m sure it was a surprise for you, too. I expected to be in Haiti and busy, but instead I ended up in the United States with more free time than I could imagine. I may not be busy doing ministry every day now that I am in the States, but God is gentle, gracious, and empathetic. He’s given me a moment to take a breath and rest. So that when it is time, I will be strengthened and ready for the journey ahead.
– Crystalyn Wyatt, Ten2 2020 Participant & Storyteller