Thursday, April 10, 2008

Physical Spirituality

I think sometimes we underestimate the importance of physical rest on the soul. And for many a weary mother, opportunities for physical rest are few and far between. It is tempting for mothers to feel guilty about resting during the day, or if not guilty, then simply overwhelmed at the list of "things to do." The problem is that there will always be something more to do.

I wonder if we realize how much our fatigue effects others? For example, how does it effect a husband to know he is coming home to a tired and cranky wife? How different would it be if he knew he would receive a sincere and warm welcome from a loving wife?
Do our children receive abundant love and kindness from us throughout the day, or do they feel like a burden? How about the effect on our own soul, and our passion for our Saviour?

Donald Whitney, in his book, Simplify Your Spiritual Life, says, "Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to take a nap." He goes on to say,
God made us a unity of body and soul, and one influences the other. When your soul is either happy or discouraged, it can affect how your body looks and feels. And when your body is exhausted, it tends to dampen the zeal of your soul. In fact, fatigue often weakens our resolve against temptation and provides excuses for anger, lust, and other sins. (p.161)
Granted there are seasons when this sort of fatigue is unavoidable (and we are still accountable for our sin). But I think we sometimes forget that our body, mind and spirit are intricately connected.

John Piper, in his book, When I Don't Desire God, quotes Martyn Lloyd-Jones on spiritual depression. Lloyd-Jones was a medical doctor before becoming one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century. He says,
Does someone hold the view that as long as you are a Christian it does not matter what the condition of your body is: Well, you will soon be disillusioned if you believe that...You cannot isolate the spiritual from the physical for we are body, mind and spirit. The greatest and the best Christians when thay are physically weak are more prone to an attack of spiritual depression than at any other time and there are great illustrations of this in the scriptures. (p.211)

It is truly humbling to realize our own weakness. We are not the Fountain of Life, but rather borrowers of life. The Only Immortal lends us energy even to take each breath. We are not God. So go take a nap!


Justin G said...

I followed your advice this morning and skipped corporate worship so that I could sleep in... :) Actually, I didn't go to church this morning because I caught the ear infection that Justin had and then in addition to that, was up last night at one, three, five, and six with Jacob, so Jacob and I actually did take the morning to rest, sleep, watch John Piper sermons on marriage, and pour hydrogen peroxide in my ear. (It really does help!) Anyway, just wanted to say that I really have enjoyed reading your posts again, and find them really encouraging. I imagine it is hard to find the time to write right now, but keep the posts coming when you can cause I"m looking forward to them!
love, Elisha

Christel Humfrey said...

Ha! It's tough to keep that growing boy fed! The ear infection sounds nasty...I hope you get over it soon!