I have come to the conclusion that I need a time-out. You know that thing people do in some sports games when everything is in full swing and someone makes a sign with their hands like the letter ‘T’? You know that thing a mother imposes on a toddler who is throwing tantrums and needs to calm down? That thing. I desperately need that thing.
Three years ago I took one week off. After that a weekend here and there, and then the Corona gobbled up everything like that little circular mouth on the arcade game. Pac-man I think they call it. It ate up all my peace in the blink of an eye and I went into survival mode. I have never been so distressed or felt so out of control during my entire adult life. Not even when I was involved in motor vehicle accidents, and there were two serious ones. My equilibrium was disturbed. If it wasn’t for my faith in God and the fact that I am grounded in Jesus I would have given up altogether.
The first thing I did was try to figure out how to survive in the short term. The first five weeks without the promise of any income were looming ahead of me like a monster. Because we employed nine people at that point it was crucial for us to make sure that they were taken care of. So we made masks. Lots and lots and lots of masks. Every day for five weeks. And we sold them and every week we were able to give our staff some money for food. During this time I had to face my own mind. There was the thought that possibly we wouldn’t make it financially in the long term. What if the economy collapsed altogether? What if the banks didn’t approve the payment holidays we applied for? What if, what if, what if?
My husband helped me clear a piece of soil in the garden which was overgrown with irises. Iris bulbs are so invasive! I planted a succulent garden there. One that would grow into its design. A prophetic action; a hope for the future. Then I started thanking God for filling the jars. Like the widow in the Bible who’s jars were filled with oil and she could sell them to pay her debts. At that point I had no oil, and not jars, but I had to activate my faith.
Level 4, with some restructuring, allowed our business to reopen and we began slowly. Short hours, a skeleton staff. Baby steps. God has been immensely and immeasurably good to us and we have expanded and restructured even more as the levels lightened. Because we needed to be cautious a lot of the practical work fell on us and it has been a heavy load to bear.
It has become abundantly clear to me that even though I have been able to perform my self-imposed duties I could only do it for a limited time before I would crash and burn, physically and mentally. Referring to what I said before, without faith in God I would not be here writing this testimony. Our business is almost fully operational again and we have learned to do a lot of things differently. We have also learned to do a lot of things better and more efficiently and effectively. Everything comes at a price and we have sacrificed much.
Even though my body and my mind are protesting I can say with gratitude that it is well with my soul. It is my responsibility to do something about my physical and mental health. I have to spend time recharging in ways that are unique to me. Each individual has to get to know their own body and take care of it. Because I am very much an introvert I know that spending time by myself doing things that bring me joy will definitely help. Until I am able to take a proper holiday I am going to do what I can do.
I need to do what David’s exhausted soldiers did in 1 Samuel 30. Two hundred of David’s six hundred men were too exhausted to keep pursuing the enemy so they stayed behind with the supplies at the Besor Ravine. When everything was over and David’s army was victorious, the men who had stayed behind received an equal share of the spoils as those who had fought in the battle. The tired men didn’t give up and go home, neither did they decide that they were losers. They stayed with the program. Just like them I am not giving up. I am staying with the game. I am still doing my part in running two businesses but I am taking time out from the extra activities. From those things I would normally do because I really want to, so that I don’t get to the point where I am forced to give up on everything.
I need to paint some pictures and listen to music and dance. I need to craft some things of beauty and walk on the beach and swim in the ocean. I need to read some books and write some lines. I need to get back to the place where I can give out of my abundance instead of giving out of lack.
Survival has served its purpose, restoration is at hand.