Annoyingly, I can’t find it online, but as a teenager, my father had given me a quote from Charles Kingsley saying something like, “If you are sad, work. If you are sleepless, work. If you are bored, work. If you are restless, work. If disappointed, work. If heartbroken, work.”
I have often said it to myself, and it is the cure for a lot of things: When sad, work. When bored, work. When restless, work. When bitterly disappointed, work.
But as somebody who tends to overwork until a burnout, it is not truly a panacea: a remedy for all disease or ills; an answer or solution for all problems or difficulties.
For one, the work I naturally tend to do, reading and writing, feeds just my mind, and some emotional needs. But I am a quadripartite being–a true panacea will need to satisfy spirit and bless the body too.
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Interestingly, when we lived in Virginia, the then Governor, George Allen, distributed a piece, when said, in effect: Sad? Exercise. Bored? Exercise. Under-performing? Exercise. Stressed? Exercise. Unfit and unhealthy? Exercise. Trouble sleeping? Exercise. Burnt out? Exercise.
But that too is a partial solution because it ignores the spiritual—just as a purely spiritual solution which ignores our physical, intellectual and emotional dimensions is also weak and one-sided.
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But I honestly believe that the river of my needs, and problems and difficulties find their answer in the sea of God. That the answers and fulfilment I seek are in Christ “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Col 2.3.
Hidden is the operative word. I need to find the answer for how to be fitter and more healthy. I need to find the answer for how to write more. I need to find the answer for how to read more. And, by faith, I know the answers are hidden in Christ.