A few months ago, my friend updated her status with these words artistically written in different colours,

“Temporarily closed for spiritual maintenance.”

Knowing who she is, I found it quite hilarious and loaded with mischief. I laughed at the choice of words and the thought of what may have ‘inspired’ her to put it up. I didn’t bother to ask if there was something going on. As far as I was concerned, she was just being her silly, mischievous self.

A few weeks later, I realized how important those words were and how much I needed to shut down for spiritual maintenance too. I was tired and frustrated. I felt like someone who had been given the impossible task of filling a basket with water. I had a few questions. I had a few “I-should-have-done-it-this-way” moments. I had a few doubts. I needed a break, not just for a day or two. I needed a long break.

You know, society has made it almost impossible for us to be real with ourselves. We are told to

“fake it until you make it”
“show up even if your legs can’t move”
“snap out of it quickly”

and the most common one among those of us who go to church,
“don’t give the devil a chance.”

While some of these may be good motivational and encouraging cliches, we also need to learn to draw the line and strike a balance. We need to understand that –

It is okay to rest. From our work. From our toil. From our labour. From our activities. God set an example for us by resting after He finished the work of creation.

It is okay to withdraw. From people. From the crowd. From the world. Withdrawal isn’t always isolation; rather it is a time to do a reassessment of yourself to be sure you are doing life right and not just following the crowd.

It is okay to be quiet. About situations. About your opinion. About life. Quietness gives you the opportunity to think clearly and sometimes that’s all you need to have a genuine brain reset.

It is okay to refill yourself. With encouragement. With truth. With prayers. With the words of God. It is frustrating to pour out of an almost empty cup and it is impossible to pour out of an empty cup.

My friend’s mischievous and hilarious status became my reality so, I took long walks early in the morning and I prayed as I walked. I listened to music during the day. I played the audio Bible at night. I had healthy conversations in between. I ate healthy meals too.
And as I did these things, I was reminded again that life is not that hard.

Hear what Jesus Christ said to His disciples; a great piece of advice that is still relevant to us today:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out of religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you will recover your life. I will show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything ill-fitting or heavy on you. Keep company with me and you will learn to live freely and lightly.”

My dear friend, life is not that hard. It is not.

By the way, I am still “temporarily closed for spiritual maintenance”.