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FSM 259 / FN 268        DO
Without God's Rest, You'll Never Do Your Best!
A Talk on Nervous Breakdowns by Peter Amsterdam and Gary (Peter #74, 8/88)

       During a leadership meeting held in Japan (8/88), chaired by Peter Amsterdam & attended by leadership representatives from different parts of the World, questions & problems encountered by our Homes around the World were prayed about & discussed during a two-week period. One unscheduled topic was also brought to the fore through a specific incident & prayer request put forth by Gary, highlighting to all present the danger of pushing themselves too hard, to the point of experiencing an actual nervous breakdown, which was the condition that Gary found himself in!
       2. Mama offered some counsel along these lines. She said: "As leaders we need to learn how to avoid getting so burdened; we should rest in the Lord more, delegate more responsibility & organize ourselves better so we don't get under so much pressure. I think it does fall under the verse, `Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all!'--Psa.34:19. Nervous breakdowns are just one of those afflictions, just like any major sickness or operation, that we have to recover & recuperate from.
       3. "There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this happening, especially how to avoid it in the first place. But if we do have a breakdown, let's not be ashamed of it & feel like we failed. Let's take it more as one of the liabilities of our job, & as an attack of the Enemy, & as one of the `afflictions of the righteous'. Once you've had one, you should try very hard not to allow one again. Or if you haven't ever had one, thank the Lord & do all you can to prevent one. Unfortunately, it almost creeps up on you unawares. If you've never had one, you just don't realize what's happening sometimes until it's too late! But by all means, we'd better start delving into our situation & circumstances & figure out what is really wrong. Most of all, we should try to set conditions & safeguards so it doesn't happen, or if it does, that it doesn't happen again.
       4. "One very important lesson is that we can't treat our Family Members like many of our leaders have in the past. When a job came up, they'd say, `OK, here's a job for you. Go do it!'--whether you felt incapable or whether you were tired or whether you were sick--`A job is there to be done, so just trust the Lord & He'll pull you through!' Well, it sounds good in theory, but maybe it wasn't the Lord's Will that a particular person was asked to do a certain job, if they had a breakdown as a result.
       5.        "A lot of times the blame falls on the part of the person who has been asked to do the job, because they didn't tell their leaders how they felt. But mostly it's a mistake on the leaders' part, because some don't think of asking people if they want the job or if they have the strength for it. Some are not very conscious of the needs of others, so they domineeringly assign them the job & expect them to do it.
       6. "If the person you choose for a job has serious reservations, maybe you should check around & see if there is any other way to do it or anybody else to do it. When somebody balks, especially someone who is generally quite cooperative, someone you have confidence in, who has done a good job in the past, you'd better sit up & take notice & see why. They may have a very legitimate reason for balking & that may be the Lord's way of showing them, & you, that they're not the person for the job!--Or maybe the job should be changed, or the approach to it altered. If you have somebody else to fill in or substitute & do the job, why should you push people to a point where they almost can't take it? Why should we make it difficult for people when we could give them the time of strengthening they need, a time of rest, or a less demanding job that may be just as important, but with less pressure & more teamwork to bear the load.
       7.        "Sometimes the Lord allows you to get physically sick, or in rare cases to even have a nervous breakdown, in order to show you how desperately you need Him & to force you to get filled up spiritually. It's not because of any problem that you have or because you're not strong spiritually, but it's just that the job may be too rigorous & demanding for you, & you probably just need a rest. That's certainly one way the Lord has of showing you that you need rest." The following beautiful poem by Grandmother, which Dad has often referred to, describes why the Lord sometimes allows things like this to happen:

First Place
       I was longing to serve the Master,
       But alas, I was laid aside
       From the busy field of workers
       In the harvest field so wide.
       There were few, yes, few in number,
       And I couldn't understand
       Why I should be left inactive,
       It was not as I had planned.

       I was longing to serve the Master
       And the need indeed was great.
       For me it was easy to labour,
       But oh, it was hard to wait.
       To lie quite still & be silent
       While the song was borne to my ear,
       From the busy field of workers
       In the harvest field so dear.

       I was longing to serve, just to serve the Master,
       But He led to a desert place,
       And there as we stopped & rested,
       His eyes looked down in my face,
       So full of tender reproaching,
       They filled me with sad surprise!
       Did He think I had grudged my service,
       Or counted it sacrifice?

       "Oh Master, I long to serve Thee!
       There are so few at the best.
       Let me off to the field!" I pleaded,
       "I care not to stay & rest."
       I knelt at His feet, imploring,
       I gazed in His face above,
       "My child," He said, "don't you know
       Your service is nothing without your love?"

       I was longing to serve, to serve my Master,
       Oh, this was my one fond thought,
       For this I was ever pleading
       As at His footstool in prayer I sought.
       But there in that lonely desert,
       Apart from the busy scene,
       It dawned on me slowly & clearly
       Where my great mistake had been.

       My mind was so full of service, just service,
       I had drifted from Him apart,
       And He longed for that sweet communion,
       That union of heart with heart!
       Well, I sought & I found forgiveness
       While mine eyes with pain were dim;
       And now, though His Work is still precious,
       The first place is kept for Him!

       8. With this counsel, Gary brought his prayer request before the other leaders present. Following is a transcript of the meeting:

Opening Prayer by Peter
       9. (Peter:) Thank You, Jesus, for time to be together & to share these different lessons. Often we go through different experiences in order to be able to comfort others with the comfort wherewith we've been comforted. (See 2Cor.1:4.) We've all found that our battles & trials & tests have always worked together for good, because we've been able then to turn around & pour out our hearts & share lessons with others who are suffering the same thing. These experiences can even be a warning so that others don't have to suffer; they can learn through teachers who've gone through the same trial they're having. Dad has poured out so much about his life & his tests & trials, Lord, which has given us a real foundation to stand on in times like this. He has made us aware of the Enemy's devices & how to fight them & what to do about them.
       10. So we ask in Your Name, Jesus, that You will please lead & guide us now. We want to share these experiences & we need to learn from them, so we ask that You will speak through Gary & me & any others--that You will pour forth & share with us, so that we can learn from You. We know, too, that as leaders we expect to have troubles & trials & tribulations, & it's good that we can discuss them amongst ourselves while we're all together here. So thank You for these experiences & that we are able to learn from them. Bless & anoint Gary in the points that he shares. Strengthen him, Lord, for Thy glory. Praise You Lord! Thank You Lord!

Gary's Story & Prayer Request
       11. (Gary:) As you know, I want to ask for prayer, but first I want to explain the reasons for it. One, I desperately need prayer, & I also believe I need to expose a weakness in my life. I think it might also be a warning, at least to other people like me.
       12. My modus operandi for the last couple of years has been to take on too much, even though I may have felt in my heart, "I can't do it." When I'd be given an assignment, I'd jump in with both feet, & try to give it my all, by God's grace. This meant I would try to land in a new situation with both feet running. I'd get involved as quickly as possible & learn as much as I could about every aspect of what was going on, so I could get control of the reins & direct things the way I felt they needed to go. I assumed that I had to do a lot in a short amount of time. In fact, I've pushed myself to the limit in most jobs & ministries I have done in the Family, as part of "my line of duty".
       13. Well, as a result, the story of my life has been that I ended up getting sick or wiped out at the end of each major push I undertook. But I reasoned: "That's the way I am. I'll go in & do the job for a few months, probably get sick, get up & start on the next one!" And for the last two & a half years that I've been travelling around, that's basically what it's been like. I accepted it & I assumed it was the way I was supposed to be. It worked, it got the job done, so I figured that's what my approach should be. It was a "live-fast, die-young" kind of philosophy, because I figured time was short & there was too much to do to slow down & go at a normal pace.
       14. This last time around was a little different though. When I went to India, we travelled around to different cities & held a series of leadership meetings. Just the first week of meetings in the first location totally wiped me out. It was like the JLC meetings that Jo, Isaac & I held in Japan, except now there weren't three speakers; most of the time there was just one--me! After one week of it, I was pretty much wiped out, so I recuperated for a few days at Goa Beach, checking out a possible YES site while en route to the next set of meetings. At the end of all these meetings, as well as several months of overseeing the evacuation & reorganization of the work in the Indian subcontinent, as usual, I ended up getting very sick. At this time it wasn't as though I was really pushing myself, as I was between assignments & therefore in a depressurized situation, so I chalked it up as just a test before my next assignment.
       15. Then I went to the Philippines, & suddenly at the Jumbo things seemed really different! It wasn't just a case of lacking confidence, but being able to do the job--it was beyond that. I felt like I was floundering, "lost in space" much of the time! I knew something was different about me, but I tried to do what I'd always done before: face it & fight it, as fighting it with my will was my standard approach & philosophy. For example, if I got sick, I just pushed to recuperate as soon as possible, so I could get back to work. Only this time, my trials didn't fully vanish!
       16. I started being faced with a lot of fears, & I did my best to try to face these problems in the power of the Spirit. I shared my lessons in meetings with others, so the Lord did get a little mileage out of it. Perhaps I should have unburdened my heart more with everyone in those meetings at that time, clearly admitting my dilemma & weaknesses & asking for prayer. Thank the Lord, I did share it all in full detail in my reports to the Folks.
       17. Maybe I'll try to explain a little bit what I was going through at that time. Usually before I go into a meeting, like most people, I feel a little flustered & have butterflies in my stomach. But once I get going it's not so bad. What was happening this time was that it wasn't just butterflies--I was actually afraid to lead a meeting! I was virtually afraid to even talk to people! I was afraid I just wouldn't have anything to say.
       18. Even when I did muster up the courage to lead a meeting, I would start comparing myself to others. For example, I compared myself to Sara D., who had visited the Jumbo before me. I thought, "Sara gives a meeting & she can just get up there & pour her heart out for hours & it all comes so naturally & easily. But I can't, & I don't even know if I have anything to say." I was feeling so defeated that I even questioned, "Lord, why did I get called upon to visit here? Maybe I should have stayed at the airport!" It is kind of humorous to think of it now, but at the time it was very real! I could not fight my way out of that one, which made it doubly bad!
       19. At the time, Mama & Peter had suggested that maybe I could go around & visit the new pioneer Homes in the Philippines, but I just didn't have any confidence to do that (although I did arrange for others to do so). It was so ridiculous, because I'd given lots of meetings & visited lots of Homes in the past, but this time I was just powerless to do anything.
       20. Well, thank the Lord, by persevering I did get more into the Work there at the Jumbo, but when it was time to move on to another assignment, my back went out & I couldn't even get out of my bed! I had to lie there in absolute pain! The strange thing was, there was no logical reason that I could see for why my back had gone out. I hadn't misstepped or over-exerted myself in get-out, etc. I fought hard because I didn't want to have to just lie there, & thank the Lord, I was up hobbling around in two days. Although the vertebrae in my lower back had returned to the proper position & the pinched nerve was obviously released, my leg remained virtually paralysed! I hadn't wanted to lie there for two weeks recuperating, so I did what I could, but inside, something was unusually different. Although I couldn't explain it at the time, I knew something was very different this time around.
       21. I landed here in Japan to attend these meetings, & although I felt in a weakened state, I was hoping that getting a chance to get "filled up again" in these meetings was the answer. On the other hand, I felt like I had collapsed about 100 metres from the finish line & I was barely able to just crawl along on my hands & knees to finish the race. Thank the Lord, I was able to get a few days of rest before the meetings got underway, as having a chance to rest up also improved my outlook on life.
       22. During this time I got a message from the Folks, who had received my reports of what I was going through. The basis of the message was to encourage me to rest. They said, "You've got to face the facts. You're an invalid at the moment, you can't push yourself so hard."
       23. That was shocking to me! I didn't really want to accept the fact that I was an "invalid". Although I tried to, I couldn't even relate to it. At first it was very difficult. It was as if I'd been trained as a runner & I'd expected certain things of myself. I expected to be able to kneel down at the starting block & bolt down the track, but now suddenly I looked down & saw my legs in a cast! It took a while for it to really dawn on me that I couldn't do it any more. My built-in reaction was that I could do it, that I was capable of pushing myself like I'd always done. But I began to wake up to the degree of my incapability. I'm starting to realize that not only am I an invalid physically, but it's as though my physical condition is a manifestation of my spiritual condition at this time.
       24. I have recovered miraculously quickly from my back injury, as I was only bedridden for a couple of days and, thank the Lord, I can get around fairly normally now. I guess anyone who sees me walk by or sit in a meeting wouldn't think I was in such bad shape. I have the use of all of my limbs & my mental abilities are fairly intact. Other than maybe having to fight the good fight of faith a little more than usual, I am restored, & for that I'm very thankful. At the same time, I know that I am now handicapped. For example, I know I can't run a race or play volleyball right now; I have to take it easy. It's not a fear that I can't do it, but rather a realization that one wrong move & I could be flat on my back again, as it'll take time for my back & leg to completely heal. I think the parallel here is that it's also going to take some time for me to fully heal spiritually. In the meantime I've got to take it easy & I can't do all I want to do. I've got to work within new limitations.
       25. As much as I have fought & I have tried to overcome, this paralysis or numbness still remains in part of my leg & foot, so there are certain things that I can't do. If I try to do them, my body is going to give out & I'm going to collapse & I may end up back in bed. You might say I now have a built-in device to keep me from overdoing! Just the other day we were discussing in one of our meetings how we, as leaders, need to determine when we need to take some time off. Someone had said that many people have a "barometer"--some sign like a headache, or a herpes outbreak, or a sore throat or a cough--that they develop when they begin to get run down. This signal tells them when they need a break.
       26. Until now I didn't even have a barometer. Not only have I not had a barometer, but I assumed that I had to always keep pushing: I had to keep gaining ground, I had to keep seeing the need & I had to keep doing something about it! Even if I did take a break, I still carried this ongoing attitude to the point that when I did try to stop, I couldn't.--Or I'd feel condemned about it! That's not to say I didn't take my Word time & get fed with the Word, & also take get-out & even an occasional day off, but my feeling was, "I've got to keep doing something even if I'm flat on my back. I've got to keep producing." I'm now seeing all that for what it really was--a lot of self-effort!
       27. I was still getting hit with this muddled state of mind. To back up a little to when these meetings first got underway, I was getting hit with waves of doubts & extreme feelings of incapability, so that the first day our meetings began, I felt really out of place! Even though I knew everybody & I'd worked with almost everybody here before, I'd totally lost all confidence that the Lord could use me. Strange as it may seem, I just felt out of place. I almost felt like I was a special case that people were kind of humouring!
       28. Even during the keynote speech, I remember what was said, but somehow I wasn't really fully there. Partially this could have been because I was in pain & a lot of my energy was being sapped at the time. My leg was bothering me & I didn't feel totally up to par physically. But still, it went beyond that.
       29. After the morning meeting I lay down & had a nap & I was listening to Mama's Comfort Tape. A little poem that Mama read particularly touched me--the one about why the Lord has designed things the way He has, & that He's arranged it that way so I would know I had need of Him. It was just so comforting at the time, & I made a commitment to fight against these lies of the Enemy that I was a permanent stretcher case. So even though I was still relatively fragile spiritually, I did feel much more restored that afternoon.
* * *

Long years ago I planned it all for thee,
Prepared it that thou mightest find need of Me.
Without it, child, thou wouldst not come,
To find this place of comfort in this Love of Mine.
Hadst thou no cross like this for Me to bear,
Thou wouldst not feel the need of My strong care.
But in thy weakness thou dost come to Me,
And through this plan I have won thee.
       --From Mama's Comfort Tape
* * *

       30. It was still a steep mountain, because I had this ongoing feeling that my opinions weren't really even worth voicing in our meetings. However, as I found myself in an environment that I could relate to, & the subjects that were coming up were things that I did have feelings about & could express an opinion on, my confidence started to grow again.
       31. Then the definite possibility came up of me going to Europe with a team to help with the organization of the Work there. Now before, when I heard about the possibility of me going to Europe, it was still sort of vague & somehow it seemed I could cope with it. But when it was actually formulated into words as a more or less definite thing, suddenly something snapped! Spiritually, it was as if my legs gave way under me, & I was flat on my back, in great pain, rendered immobile. I was so very vulnerable. In previous situations, a challenge like that, along with a little bit of encouragement, gave me the faith to launch out, whether I originally had full faith for such a mission or not. But in this case, that little bit of challenge, even though it was encouraging, made me snap!
       32. It was difficult to understand what was happening in my life, & I tried to trace it to a root cause. Was it pride, fear, self-righteousness, the usual problems? It could have been any of those things, or most of those things, for that matter. But still, some key seemed to be missing.
       33. At this time a message from Mama came, suggesting that I'd probably had a nervous breakdown. That really hit home. I'd never thought about it before. I would have never assigned that term to the way I felt, & in a sense it was kind of startling to even consider it, but deep down it seemed to ring true. I never knew much about nervous breakdowns before. I kind of assumed somebody who has a nervous breakdown collapses & starts babbling or getting the shakes or crying uncontrollably or something to that effect!--And it's true that some of these symptoms may occur with some people who have nervous breakdowns.
       34. However, even though outwardly maybe it didn't show, inwardly I did feel many of those things! Though I might have still seemed to have it "together" outwardly, inwardly I often felt like crying uncontrollably or totally collapsing, etc. When I would try to get ahold of the Lord & take my stand & claim a few verses it would help some, but it didn't bring about a full victory. It only offered temporary relief, rather than a full recovery. In many ways, my mental capacity & my physical capacities were OK. I could walk around & wasn't all that hampered. But again, paralleling my physical situation, I was limping around, & although involved in meetings & all, if I took one misstep on that foot, I could fully collapse & be incapacitated. My limp foot was the result of a pinched nerve. In other words, my situation was caused by nerves--in this case, a nervous breakdown. So I believe there was a lot to this parallel.
       35. What made it much easier, as far as absorbing this suggestion that maybe I'd had a nervous breakdown, was the Folks' sweet way of presenting it. Part of their message suggesting that I ask for prayer read: "One of the things that is difficult when you're out there by yourself is that you don't have anybody on your level or above you to counsel or share with for months on end. That's very difficult. It's amazing that you lasted as long as you did in that job & still came through with flying colours. You accomplished your mission & did the job the Lord had for you & you didn't fail. It was just that when you finished, you collapsed. Nobody is going to blame you for that. They'll salute you for making it!"--How encouraging!
       36. In thinking about nervous breakdowns, I remembered when I was a kid I knew an old man who was shellshocked. He seemed normal most of the time, but sometimes he would fall apart. I didn't fully understand it at the time, but my parents explained that it was due to experiences in the war when he was on the front lines. So now, years later, every time that he heard a gunshot or a firecracker or any loud sound, it brought back all of those trench scenes from the past & he totally fell apart.
       37. That's kind of the way I feel now. I feel relatively normal most of the time. I feel like I can do a lot of things that I could do before, but it's like I'm spiritually shellshocked. When I think of being on my own or when I think of having the kind of responsibility I had previously, it frightens me. So with me, the sound of gunfire that sets it off is the thought of responsibility. The thought of having the ultimate responsibility of going into a new situation was the explosion that knocked me down again. Outwardly I seemed to be coping, but inwardly I was a bowl of jelly just at the mere thought of it.
       38. Just hearing of the responsibility of going to help organize the Work in Europe was as real as doing it. I probably wouldn't have caved in any more if I had gone, than I did when I just heard about it, because it was a reality to me; I knew what it involved. As I mentioned before, although I often lack confidence when asked to undertake a new mission, when this Europe possibility was mentioned, instead of simply saying, "Praise God, the Lord will have to do it," I simply said, "I can't. I'm going to cave in, I just don't have it any more."
       39. And strangely enough, that was all I felt I could put into words at the time, I couldn't understand more than that, so that was the extent of my return message! But God bless the Folks, they had enough discernment to see something was really wrong.

The Word on Nervous Breakdowns
       40. At this point, maybe I could share a few points that I have found out about breakdowns. I've been reading some different Letters & it's becoming clearer to me. Before I had a very extreme definition of it, whereas now I think it's something that not only I, but a fair number of different folks in the Family have been on the verge of at different times! We're constantly in high-pressure situations! We not only work long hours, but some of us have this high-pressure, high-stress, constantly-changing-gears type of job, going from first gear through fourth gear, then back from fourth gear to first or even reverse--a constant grinding of our gears. Therefore, maybe what I'm talking about is something that others could relate to as well. I'm not planning to do a preach-athon because I'm just barely coming out of it myself, but thank the Lord, there is a fair amount written in our pubs about this subject.
       41. When I would run out of spiritual fuel, so to speak, I got used to operating on my reserve tanks, & then I'd eventually come in for a refilling. I'd fill up all my tanks, as well as all my reserve tanks. However, this last time there weren't any more reserve tanks to fall back on & I pooped out, & that's the state I'm in now. At least realizing that I am an invalid makes it easier.
       42. I've heard similar testimonies from folks in our age group, that is, around 40 years old, where we do something we used to be able to do, like a back flip into the pool, & then we're laid up for three weeks because our backs go out. We say, "I'm not as young as I used to be!" Well, that's certainly true physically. Now, I'm not saying that we're over the hill spiritually, but personally I think maybe I'm having to become mature enough to realize that I'm not as young as I used to be, physically or spiritually! I don't think I can keep up such a rapid pace any more. It's not that I'm a failure; it's a fact of life, like growing older & losing hair or going grey, etc.
       43. I read a lot of good Letters like "The Lamp", & "Letting Go & Letting God", "Breakdown"--Letters of that nature, so I'll read you a few parts, to better explain my situation.
       44. "When [EDITED: "he's"] tired [EDITED: "he"] needs to rest, when [EDITED: "he's"] weary [EDITED: "he"] needs to retire from the fray & give the battle to others. [EDITED: "He"] needs to know when to fight & when to be still, when to give & when to save, when to work & when to play, when to feed & when to pray. As the Shepherd of the flock, [EDITED: "he"] must feed of the firstfruits like the husband & the Shepherd for strength. [EDITED: "He"] must feed of the flock as well as care for them. [EDITED: "He"] needs to choose between that which is good & that which is the best for him & the Kingdom." ("The Lamp", ML#1367, DB1, pg.623, par.9.) That's one area where I've really failed--in choosing what's best. Like Jesus said, there is one thing that's needful, which is to spend time with Him. (See Luk.10:42.)
       45. I've had too much of a short-term goal rather than a long-term goal, & obviously, if I've operated that way, I'm sure that I've put other people under similar pressure in situations that I've gone into as an over-Shepherd. Obviously I've made them feel that they have to produce & push like that themselves, when the fact of the matter is we don't! I'm beginning to realize that I don't have to.--It's just not God's plan! God's pretty patient; He goes fairly slow with things even if He knows there's a big job to be done. He still proceeds methodically & slowly. The sun comes up & the sun goes down, all in its proper course & time, but I can't say the same thing about myself! The Scripture commands us to let our moderation be known to all men, but instead, as I look back, I think I've let my over-exertion be known to all men! Lord help me!
       46. Since we as leaders are always endorsing certain pushes, maybe our next one ought to be a rest revolution in the Homes that we oversee, & we should be the ones spearheading it!
       47. Here's an excerpt from the Letter "Letting Go & Letting God": "Some people are used to having so much natural strength & drive that when they don't have it, it really gets them down! But that's the very thing that stands in the way of the Lord showing His strength."
       48. I do feel down when I'm not in full health or strength or stamina. I tend to feel condemned & out of it, & I search my heart for all these reasons, when the Lord is probably just trying to slow me down because I won't otherwise. Even when taking extra rest or Word time I almost feel condemned for doing so!
       49. Here's a good passage I found in this Letter, about my always pushing to get things done or fighting to get healed: "This is the mistake my Mother made about healing when she first got prayed for & told that she should have faith. She worked so hard at trying to have faith, it nearly killed her. People just don't realize it's not anything that you do at all, it's just something that you accept from the Lord, like Salvation. Your works must not be self-works & self-effort. It's gotta be the Lord."
       50. The next development after all this is what Dad describes as the results of pushing ourselves all the time--a nervous breakdown!
       51. "It's harder for people that are talented & have a lot of natural talent & ability & drive & have got it all to just trust the Lord, because they've got so much natural strength, & they're used to leaning on that. They're used to having it there, & when it's suddenly gone they just collapse! First of all you get physically exhausted, then nervously exhausted, which results in mental exhaustion, & eventually almost spiritual exhaustion!--What the World calls a nervous breakdown." ("Letting Go & Letting God", ML#1493, DB2, pg.50-51.)
       52. In looking through different medical books, I couldn't find any actual symptoms given for a nervous breakdown, or if there are any, they're relatively vague. They haven't been able to pinpoint it, because it's a very spiritual thing. In fact, the medical profession can't even accurately define it, let alone explain it! But here in God's Word it says that first you get physically exhausted, & then nervously exhausted, then mentally exhausted, then spiritually exhausted. And that's the best way I could put it, I feel spiritually exhausted. I just don't have the faith to run another major race at this time because I'm spiritually exhausted! It's just like when you're sick--you have to lie down, whether you want to or not, whether you like it or not. And if you're spiritually exhausted, you've got to lie down too & recover in God's good time. That's what I have to do now. I have to get retrained in that whole area of my life.
       53. Also the Letter "Breakdown" (ML#66) talks about the same subject: "Now I know how people feel when they have nervous breakdowns.... Adrenaline is like the fuel & your body is like the furnace! You're dumping fuel on the fire immoderately & then all of a sudden you run out of fuel. And then when you need it, it's not there! It's a physical & a nervous thing.... If you overdo it, physical exhaustion sets in on top of the nervous exhaustion & you have neither the nervous or physical energy to keep you going! It's a strain on your body, your mind & your spirit, & then the Enemy attacks.... Everything just looks like a mountain & you just become almost hysterical." (DB4, pg.233, par.1-3.)
       54. Then Dad goes on to say that it's not the Lord's fault, it's our own fault. I overdid, I abused my body by not resting enough, & not going at a moderate pace. I didn't stay in the Word, & I allowed all the other problems I have described.
       55. This next excerpt is from the Letter "Oplexicon". I read this Letter because I was thinking, "I feel so muddled, I feel so confused, I don't understand all of this. It's like I'm not even getting anything from the Lord. I feel perplexed." So the Lord quickened the word "perplexed" to me & I thought of the Letter "Oplexicon".
       56. It says: "Our word `perplex' means to puzzle with difficulties. It comes from the Latin word `perplexus', meaning `entangled'.... Our word `icon', meaning `image', is from the Latin `icon' & Greek `icon' meaning the same thing.
       57. "Another related subject is the `solar plexus', a radiating network of nerves centring near the stomach & very important to our spiritual emotions. It's the physical seat of the fountain of the spirit. In Oriental religions like yoga, it is the centre of spiritual emotion which demons seek to control.... Or a complete snaring of the human spirit by an icon demon." (ML#261, DB5, pg.335, par.10-11.)
       58. Dad says the Enemy tries to entrap or weave a snare & entangle us, & that he resists the Truth & sort of twists the Truth. That was exactly what I was going through, this twisting of the Truth, & I didn't have the strength to stand up to it. I knew it was wrong, it was so ridiculously wrong, & yet I couldn't put up the walls to resist it. I couldn't stand up against it somehow.
       59. At this point I don't even know what all to pray against, but because of this Letter, "Oplexicon", I would like to pray specifically against Oplexicon. The Letter mentions idols, & I was just in Thailand & India which are loaded with idols--they're everywhere. There's so much fear & darkness there. If any place is representative of the Devil's domain, I would say that India certainly is.
       60. (Sara: Remember how you had such a hard time getting a booking out of India, & the man at the travel agency said it must be some spiritual force that wanted to keep you in the country?) Yes. To buy a ticket & fly somewhere is usually pretty straightforward, but in India it took us three attempts to actually leave! Our travel agent was surprised to see us come in morning after morning! He said, "There's a great spiritual force holding you back!" He was a sweet young fellow who ended up praying with me to receive the Lord. I guess I should have realized that the Lord was speaking very clearly through him.
       61. We've already had a couple of prayers against any influences from India, but I'd certainly like to include this again along with this prayer request.
       62. One verse I'd like to claim is, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord & He shall sustain thee" (Psa.55:22), because I do take a lot of the burden on myself. I don't know why, but I do.--And I feel like I have to attack every problem when I go into a situation & react to every need. So my prayer request is to learn to truly cast all of these things on the Lord.
       63. The other verse is, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour & are heavy laden, & I will give you rest." So, my ongoing request is that I can find that rest & take that rest & not fight this time of rest. "Take My yoke upon you & learn of Me, for I am meek & lowly in heart: & ye shall find rest unto your souls, for My yoke is easy & My burden is light" (Mat.11:28-30).
       64. One other aspect of this experience is that while I don't claim that I've learned everything I need to learn in 48 hours or less, this has given me a much greater understanding of both my weaknesses as well as others' weaknesses. As a result I've gained a greater tolerance of people's weaknesses. I think my tolerance level has shot up dramatically in the last 48 hours. Thank the Lord!

Peter on Nervous Breakdowns
       65. (Peter:) Those were very good lessons for all of us. I can share a few points along the lines of nervous breakdowns, because I've had one too, & I've been on the verge of one recently! Like Gary said, a lot of it is due to overdoing & not heeding the Lord's checks.
       66. Some years back, I was working hard on a number of urgent projects, including the approvals of the DTD Tapes. The WS Units were on "Red Alert", & then went to "Scarlet Fever"!--Ha! We were trying to get out the Posters, numerous Books, the DTD Tapes, etc. It was one of those times when we had to get things done now, because due to various factors these projects had to be finished by our proposed deadline or we might have never gotten them out the door! We were in a situation where most of the communication between Mama & the WS Units went through me. She would come & talk to me for long periods of time & I'd frantically take notes & then pass them on.
       67. About a year earlier, I'd switched my schedule around because I had so much to do. I'd get up in the middle of the night & work from 3 a.m. till 7 a.m., then I'd sleep for a few hours! I was working about 18 hours a day of solid work & sleeping three hours here & then a further three hours another time. All in all, it was pretty stupid! I look back on it now & I can't believe that I could even do it physically. I continually took on more & more work. I never said, "That's enough, that's all I can manage." Perhaps originally, my level of ability & spiritual & physical strength & my acceptance of responsibility was up to it, but it slowly started diminishing. It wasn't a drastic drop, it was more of a continual weakening, without my even fully realizing it was happening.
       68. I was on edge all the time & had become quite grouchy, because I never slept enough, was always tired, & I was overworking--constantly taking on more work. Finally one day I just exploded! I had a huge stack of work to do & I seemed to be getting further & further behind, yet feeling like it all had to be done right away. Mama came into the room & we started going over papers like we normally did. I was attempting to accomplish so much, without resting in the Lord, & I just snapped! I threw the papers on the floor & told Mama, "That's it! I can't take any more! I can't keep doing all this work!" Poor Mama! I think it surprised her because until that time I had never indicated to her that I was feeling overworked or under pressure. The workload, though heavy, was fairly consistent, & I was keeping up with it, so she had no indication of the way I was feeling. I didn't communicate my state to her, so she had no way of knowing the condition I was in.
       69. God bless Mama, she reacted very sweetly & lovingly, & we talked about what happened, & from that point on she was very careful to keep an eye on how much work I was getting, or if I was getting under too much pressure.
       70. I was like a rubber band that you keep tightening & tightening & tightening until it breaks, & then it's limp. I didn't have to recuperate in bed & I still continued to do some work, though not as much or as quickly. I was there mentally, but for quite a while I just couldn't accept responsibility & had a hard time making decisions. I could do a minimum amount of work, but I couldn't handle too much.
       71. Over the years I've been able to increase my workload but I never worked that hard again, ever! As far as productivity & long hours & great amounts of pressure, I've never been able to do it again. I don't think I ever could, neither do I want to!
       72. It was like having an athletic injury, like a ligament that gets stretched & torn. It might get back into shape so that you can walk again without a cane & you look okay, but you always have to favour that leg. You're always mindful that you can't do this or shouldn't do that, because you know where it leads. It's just like having a weak back; you have to make sure you don't do things that cause strain on it.
       73. For a period of about a year before this breakdown, I had a severe back problem, & Dad had told me I should work in a reclining position. I worked sitting on a reclined chair. Later Dad said he was praying about my back, & the Lord told him that I needed to lie down, that I needed to work in a bed. When Dad told me this, he also arranged a bed for me that had been in storage. It was a young child's bed; it had a little white railing around it & it was a little humbling! For a long time I lay in that bed propped up with pillows to do my work.--And it worked; my back eventually got stronger. Looking back on it, it was like the Lord was trying to show me the state I was in--that I was spiritually bed-ridden.
       74. Since that time, I've been under pressure at times, but I have recognized it when I was pushing to the edge. So if that happens, I have just shifted down into neutral & coasted. I can no longer keep it in first or second or third or fourth gear with my foot to the floor, always trying to see if I can get the gas pedal down a little bit more, or just get a little farther, like I used to do. I now know I just can't do that any more!
       75. Sometimes I just turn it off, I just put it in neutral. Sometimes I avoid having meetings with anyone because I know I am feeling under pressure. The job just gets too heavy sometimes. There are too many things to take care of, too many people to take care of, too many decisions to make, so I just throw it in neutral & put things off for awhile or let somebody else carry the load!
       76. Like Gary, I used to be able to handle a lot of pressure. I thrived on it! It was exciting! You're so busy & you never have enough time & you're just doing everything, you've got more work than you can possibly ever do & you just keep push, push, pushing! It's fun, it's exciting, & it's a thrill! At the end of the day you feel like you've accomplished a lot! But what you don't realize, at least I didn't, is that this pace eats away at your spiritual strength & your physical strength as well. I was using up my spiritual & physical reserves!
       77. Of course, you always justify it with, "Well, I'm reading the Word!" During the whole year that I was sleeping so little, I was reading, but it wasn't real feeding because my reading time was like my work time--getting through it & doing my duty, but not having real fellowship with the Lord. It was similar to how when you overwork, you don't have any real fellowship with others. So you get tired, you push too hard & you start going downhill physically. I shouldn't say "you", I mean "I".
       78. I don't know how it works for everyone else. I'd push too hard & get physically tired, & that for me is a real danger sign.--Because when I'm tired & I don't get enough rest, plus there's a lot of strain, I get spiritually tired, & it opens a channel for the Enemy to get me into depression & discouragement. With some people it's different. They first get attacked spiritually with heavy battles that bring on discouragement & depression & fear. This then leads to spiritual tiredness, which brings on mental strain which deprives them of sleep, resulting in the same kind of breakdown.
       79. You don't nosedive from day one to day two. It's the result of a constant draining of your resources--spiritual & physical & mental--that brings about a breakdown. Finally the point comes, at least with me, when all of a sudden my body & my spirit go on strike! It's very difficult to make decisions or to field questions in that condition. I wouldn't want to see people because I knew I'd be faced with having to decide things. I found myself having a difficult time making even simple decisions. I'd find myself drifting mentally, just staring out the window or at my desk, not doing anything & not thinking anything, just staring. Thank the Lord, He pulled me out of it & helped me through it. Now He helps me not to get in that state in the first place, because I recognize the danger signals & I try to pace myself wisely.
       80. It's foolish to ignore the danger signs, especially when you're aware of them. You start getting a little weaker, you start noticing you're more tired, maybe you're not getting spiritually fed as much, pretty soon things start to "bug" you more & the weights of the job begin to feel heavier & you start having trials feeling that you're not capable--just one thing after another. Things build up & all of a sudden you snap, you just can't take it!
       81. It seems to me that the people who are prime candidates for having problems along these lines are people who have a lot of physical strength & energy, & can tackle the job & can get in there & really go with it & go, go, go! Because just like Dad said in what Gary read, we depend a lot on our own strength. You don't hear of people like Mama having a breakdown, for example, even though she endures a tremendous amount of pressure. One reason is that if she overdoes, she gets hit with a headache for two or three days. She has a very definite warning alarm. She knows if she does this & that & the other she's going to get a headache, so she avoids doing it.
       82. But those of us who are stronger physically, with more physical stamina & energy, we tend to try to bear a lot on our own & we don't see the danger signals, & therefore we're headed for trouble. We push & push & we begin to reach the stage where we're doing a lot, but not accomplishing much. Because of the strain & tiredness, it takes more physical, spiritual & mental energy to accomplish anything.
       83. So what do we do? We take a rest, maybe take a day off & sleep for a day, & then physically we feel okay. But the problem isn't just physical weakness. The tendency is once you get rested & you get a little more balance there, you think you can push, push, push again. But on the nervous & the spiritual side, your reserves are still at a low ebb, because they do not heal that quickly. Physically you get back up, you feel stronger, so you once again begin to take on more responsibilities, when in fact, you fail to realize the real problem is more of a long-term injury. It's more of a mental, nervous, & spiritual strain, which you don't overcome that easily.
       84. Let's say you're exhausted, so you physically rest. Maybe you even take an afternoon off & you read a couple of Letters, & you think, "Wow! I feel great!" But that physical rest is just a little injection of fuel. It's just like a squirt that maybe gets you out of the mud, but it's not enough fuel, if you will, for you to soar back out into space. It keeps you from having a crash landing completely, but in your strengthened physical state, because you've rested & you've had a little bit of Word & you've had this spiritual squirt, you're often tempted to think, "I'm back in action!"--And start to go, go, go again! That is dangerous!
       85. Maybe you can do that for a while, & maybe, like in Gary's situation, for years. But it's a slow downward spiral; you're losing ground spiritually, you're using up your reserves. What you need then is to rebuild that strength. To do that, it means you can't constantly be drawing on it, instead you have to constantly refill it. It takes time. You can say, "Well, I'll devote my energies to reading." That's fine, you're filling your reserve tank with fuel. But if you're using it up as fast as you're replenishing it, you're just maintaining, or maybe even slightly losing ground.
       86. So first off, you have to recognize when this is happening in yourself. You have to learn how to gauge it, so that you don't give out more than you draw in. It's like Dad says, you can't feed others out of an empty cupboard, out of an empty shell. (See "Lashes of Love", ML#606.) You become dry & you become very susceptible to the attacks of the Enemy, because you're down in almost every way. The Enemy knows it, & he comes in hard & fast with doubts & comparison trials & condemnation.
       87. I have come to the realization that I'm not what I used to be. I'm not as young, I'm not as strong physically. Of course, this depends on your definition of strength, but in one sense I'm not as strong spiritually--as far as being able to take a lot of responsibility & really handle it. I'm not! Nowhere near! If that's going to be the criterion of being strong spiritually, I don't have it. I'm much weaker in that sense.
       88. On the other hand, if your definition of being strong spiritually is that you're much more dependent on the Lord, well, even though I can't do the things I did before, maybe I am stronger spiritually because I know what I can't do. And I know when I get thrown into a situation where I have to do something, or I have to perform or I have to be able to maintain a certain amount of responsibility, I have to also pray & ask the Lord to pull me through, because my reserve tanks are empty. I have to depend more on the Lord to do it. So it depends on what your definition of being spiritually strong is.
       89. In the context of this leadership meeting, I'd say it's a problem you all need to watch out for, because there are a number of people in this room who are naturally strong & have that drive & that push, but you have to see the danger signals. You have to realize, like Gary read in the Letter "The Lamp", that there is a time to pull back from the fray, & give the fight to others. That's a real key. But besides being a problem for you leaders, it's also a problem for many Family Members. They may not have the same type of responsibilities that you do, but they are under pressure, lots of it, & they too can be susceptible to such breakdowns.

The Need to Rest from the Battle
       90. I'll refer back to my breakdown. As I said, all the work generally funnelled through me from Mama, & I would pass it on to the different people involved, whether it was to MWM or the Units. I'd get ten pages of notes to pass on. Then I'd send phone messages off, & at the same time receive other messages to ask Mama about.
       91. Well, later the situation changed, & all of that no longer had to funnel through me. We were in a new situation where Mama herself could pass on that work to others. It expanded the base of the work, & more people carried the load. If everything is pivoting on just one or two people, it's too much for those people. So the Lord arranged it so that every project that was going on no longer just went through me, it was more spread out. That was a great relief on one hand, but on the other hand, the Enemy tried one of his dirty tricks--the old line, "Look, you're not needed any more," which is, of course, a bunch of trash.
       92. Maybe we should look at it this way: In governments or in virtually any organization, you have some person who's president for a certain term of office. They're under tremendous pressure for that amount of time. But then when their term is up, they're out of office & somebody else takes the reins & carries that load & bears that responsibility. But that doesn't mean the ex-president is all washed up. Ex-presidents often go on to something just as important if not more important. Often they become very well-paid consultants & teachers, & their very valuable experience is frequently greatly sought after. Their usefulness has by no means ended, in some ways it has multiplied.
       93. I don't feel useless because every little question & every little thing passed on from Mama doesn't go through me. At first it was a real battle, I have to admit, but now I realize it's a blessing. There have been times when I haven't been invited to certain business meetings, & I was just tickled pink not to have to attend. I knew it had nothing to do with me, so why should I be there? I can be more useful doing something else & not trying to hold on to what I had or what I was or who I was or any of that.
       94. We have to realize that we just cannot take that kind of pressure indefinitely. There's a time in war when you're on the front lines; you're fighting & you're making decisions & it's a life-&-death situation. But eventually reinforcements & fresh troops come in, & you & your troops are pulled out. It doesn't mean you lost the battle, it doesn't mean you'll never be in another battle, & it doesn't mean that you'll never be back on the front lines. But it does mean that if you stay out there constantly, going, going, going, you'll collapse, & you will lose the battle. You will then be either killed or so wounded that you won't be of further use down the line.
       95. There are times when you simply have to pull back, you have to knock off, & you just can't accept a job. It's not a sign of weakness, & it's not a sign of old bottle-ism or washed-out-ism or anything else; it's just a matter of being tired & needing rest. The Word says, "Ye shall find rest unto your soul," which, as Dad said, is your body & your spirit as one together. It's not enough to just get rest physically, although that's a major part of it, but you have to have that rest spiritually, a time when you don't have such responsibility.
       96. You have to rest, & sometimes you must pull back. The goal isn't to go unrelentingly full-blast in overdrive until you completely collapse, & somebody has to peel you off the ground & make you rest. You won't get to that stage if you'll stop earlier & rest earlier & pace yourself, like a long-distance runner instead of a sprinter. A sprinter's only going to go a hundred yards or 50 yards, & that's the end, that's the whole race. So he gives it his all, everything he's got, all the way through, for the whole race.
       97. But we're not in a sprint. We are in more of a marathon, running with patience (Heb.12:1), & it's going to take time. Long-distance runners pace themselves; they go slower but at a steady pace. It's a bit like the hare & the tortoise story: The slow, steady tortoise eventually made it to the finish line, while the hare didn't. We have to pace ourselves; we have to have a good balance of Word & rest & work.
       98. Dad is a perfect example of that. He generally doesn't overdo in work. He might overdo by getting out there with the handymen one day for too long or something like that, but he's usually only going to work a certain amount of time on his papers, & then he takes a break.
       99. I know how busy he is, but I've seen him say, "Well, now it's five o'clock, it's time for get-out. I'm going to go play!" And then he goes & has a swim, or takes a walk or whatever. Mama too, she works very hard, but she also naps. She's not ashamed of the fact that she's tired & that she has to nap, & she sleeps in in the morning when she has to. During her work hours she really blasts through, but she makes sure she gets sufficient sleep & rest time. She isn't embarrassed about it & isn't too proud to say she needs it.
       100. And really, in a sense, for us stronger ones, it comes down to pride. We just don't want to feel that we're weak, we don't want to let people know that we just can't do it, especially if when we were younger we could do it all the time. But we're not as young any more, & there comes a time when you just have to realize that & stop & rest to avoid the problem. (A regular schedule helps!--D.)

Speaking Up & Rest Days
       101. Another point is that generally people can't tell that you're nearing that state, & you have to realize that you can't tell it in others either. It's kind of hard to tell when somebody's about ready to fall to pieces, because usually they don't tell you. In my case I knew early on that I was under too much pressure. I knew I was in bad shape, but I didn't want to fail & I didn't see a solution to the problem. In other words, we were in a certain situation & I couldn't see any other way that it was going to work. I was wrong. I'm sure there would have been a solution because I know the solution wasn't for me to crack up! But I was too proud to speak up! I liked doing the work because I felt important & I knew everything that was going on. I never spoke up until I just exploded!
       102. So it's your responsibility to pipe up to whoever you have to pipe up to, to say, "I need some rest", or "I need some time off", or as in Gary's case, "I'm sorry, but I just don't think I can take on that new assignment right now".
       103. I have a weak back & it at times has caused me a lot of pain, so I just refuse to do things now that I feel might endanger my back. It would be stupid for me to lift something heavy, knowing that my back is weak, especially if there are others around who can do it for me.
       104. In some cases there's not anybody else to do it, nobody that can do it for you, so you either have to muster up the faith to be able to do it or leave it undone. But if there are other people around who can share the load, let'm do it; otherwise you're just taking unnecessary risks. Spiritually or physically, if there are people around, please share the load, because if you don't, you can't bear it yourself & you'll collapse. Remember, too, that if someone in your Home does speak up about their need for rest, or says they are under pressure, you, as their Shepherd, need to take it seriously & do something about it. Don't make them feel badly or like a weakling. Help them to get the rest they need.
       105. It's similar to the principle that Dad has taught us about keeping gas in our cars. You can either keep your gas tank close to empty or you can run on full, it just depends on what level you want to keep it, but it's better to keep it full. Well, it's a lot better to keep your spiritual gas tank full & take those times off & get away from it all when you need to. And if you take a W&R day (Word & Rest day), that's not the time to take along the big stack of papers that you haven't done yet, or to take along your work mate with whom you know all you're going to do is talk about problems! Neither is it the time to ride bicycles all day & burn up all this other energy so that you come back even more physically exhausted!
       106. Mama said when people go on W&R, they should make rest & sleep one of their priorities. They'll want to read the Word, & they should, but they also need to rest & sleep. But like Gary said, so many of us feel like we've got to generate something, even on our day off. We have to talk to somebody or we have to read, read, read!--And we can even do our Word study in a pressured mode!
       107. When I hit those periods, reading is one of the last things I can do. I'm just too tired. Sometimes I'm too weak even to hold up a book while I'm lying down. Sara & I were talking about that this morning, about how listening to tapes is easy: you don't have to do anything, you can just lie there & listen. But sometimes I'm just so completely burned out that I don't even feel like reading the Word, I just feel like doing nothing. Sometimes I'll just watch a video, or listen to some nice music--something nice & easy--and just relax & enjoy it. (Amen!--D.)
       108. Of course, I'm not saying people should watch videos & not read the Word! That's not going to bring about the victories you need. But sometimes you do need to relax, & you shouldn't be afraid to do it or feel that you're blowing it if you do.
       109. So it's a matter of faith & it's also a matter of realizing, like Gary said, that our jobs are high-pressure jobs. Our jobs aren't from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., & from Monday to Friday. Our jobs are 24 hours a day, seven days a week, & they don't end; there's no finish. That goes for just about every Family Member. That's why it's like a marathon, it's a very long race. There are always new problems to take care of, new situations you're always faced with. So we need to have the faith sometimes to let things sit or just not take care of them right now & realize that it's more important to take care of yourself, so that then you can take care of those things.
       110. On top of it all, each one of us has that underlying pressure of feeling, "I don't want to fail the Lord & I don't want to fail the Folks." That is a heavy weight to bear as well. But you need to have the faith that if you're out of the picture for a day or a week or a month, it's the Lord's Work & the Lord's going to take care of the problems whether you're there or not. It's His Work. He says, "Come unto Me, all ye that are weary & heavy laden, & I will give you rest" (Mat.11:28). It's just that simple.
       111. We need to have the faith for that, & you should realize that that's how the Folks work. They don't work at a maddening pace under constant pressure 24 hours a day, & neither do they expect you to work at that rate & under that kind of pressure. Neither should you expect others under you to work like that. But if you work like that, then others feel that they have to work like that. If you're that way, you're sowing nervous breakdowns in others, who themselves, remember, are in situations where they can't just stop. They can't just check out & rest or take a few days off if they have to. And on a day-to-day level, a lot more depends on them than depends on you leaders, to whom I'm addressing this. If you take off for a week, the Homes are going to function. But if the Home Shepherd or the childcare worker or the cook takes off a week, well, the Home will be immediately affected. So it's important to avoid passing pressure on to others.

Honesty & Facing the Facts
       112. We're just not strong enough to carry such heavy loads. I firmly believe the Lord doesn't even want us to be that strong! I also believe that with a lot of us who have been strong, the Lord is trying to teach us that we're not supposed to be strong in the same sense that we were before.
       113. Mama has a real heart for those who have any weakness or any sickness. She's always telling people to rest, & she's always telling people to sleep in. Those of you who know her know that that's true. ("My yoke is easy & My burden is light."--D.)
       114. One of the girls in our Home gets headaches for two or three days at a time. She can tell when she's on the verge of one. So what happens is, she'll notice she's on the verge of one, & then she notices that the house has to be cleaned or the dishes have to be done or this or that has to be taken care of, so she goes ahead & she does it. Then she winds up in bed for three days. Instead, she should admit that she needs rest & she should rest. If there's somebody else who can do the work, she should be honest & humble enough to ask for help. If there is no one to help, you might very well be able to leave it until later. Sometimes it is not just a matter of pride but of honestly not wanting to burden others who already have so much to do. However, if you don't burden them before you get sick, they will probably be a lot more burdened afterwards, trying to fill in for you during the whole time that you are sick. It would probably take you less time off to rest & prevent a headache than to endure & recover from it.
       115. This whole subject has a lot to do with honesty & facing the facts. One of the facts I've had to face is that I'm not what I used to be! It's true! But I don't have to be what I used to be! So what? It doesn't mean I'm not useful to the Lord & to His Work. It means that a lot of the things that I used to do have been passed on to others, just as Dad has passed on a lot of what he used to do. I believe it's somewhat for the same reason--that he's older & he just doesn't need to do that & expend that much energy & take that much pressure, because there are others who can help to bear it.
       116. He's trained certain people to do some of the things that he used to do, & now that they know how to do it, he can step further back. Not only does it train & prepare us, but it also leaves him free to do other things that benefit more people. There's no unemployment in God's Kingdom & there's always plenty for everybody to do. It's not the end of the world if you step out of the "pressure or pilot's seat".
       117. For us to say that Gary's the only leader who can go to Europe is ridiculous. We might have originally felt that with his experience & everything else, he might have been the best guy to go, or at least one of them. But he's been on the battlefront for all those years, & if we don't want to lose him, then why send him?--Especially when there are others, reinforcements, fresh troops. They're more fresh to the situation, they have more faith for it. But that doesn't demean Gary in any way.
       118. It's like the verse that says, "Let not him that girdeth on his armour boast himself as he that putteth it off" (1 Kings 20:11). There's no dishonour in coming back from a huge battle exhausted; I'm sure every soldier does. And when you're talking about not just one battle, but four, five, six, seven--if anybody deserves to rest, it's Gary.
       119. It's very important to realize that you just can't run on empty. And if you are, or if you're getting close, then you've got to say something & you've got to take measures to counteract it.

Reading from "My Yoke Is Easy"
       120. I want to read you two passages & then we can pray for Gary. Dad made all this very clear a long time ago. He said, "Leadership is a very great responsibility, a heavy burden & just a plain big job of a lot of hard work, tension, confusion, excitement, concerns, & physical, mental & nervous strain, which tend to be pretty hard on you. Even the Lord Himself could not bear the continual strain & virtual drain of the constant ministry to the multitudes, which is what your ministry really is. So He frequently had to get away from it all & take His disciples up into the mountains or out to sea or on a private visit to friends for a spiritual retreat, rest, recuperation & inspiration. Sometimes even all alone.
       121. "No one can continue to keep pouring out to others without spending some time alone with the Lord getting filled up again. I've been in the Lord's Work for half-a-century [EDITED: "in 1972"], & my Mother for half-a-century before me, & my Grandfather for a half-a-century before that, so I know what I'm talking about. As A. B. Simpson, the grand old man of faith once said, `You cannot do the Master's work without the Master's power, & to get it you must spend time with the Master.'
       122. "We all need more quiet time alone with the Lord in rest & refilling, drinking at the living water of His Word & fellowshipping with Him in the communion of prayer & the sweet lovemaking of the Spirit. None of us can stand these constant pressures of continuous demands of our time, strength, body, soul & spirit, to which we are so often forced to submit without relief by the press of time, necessity, need, & one emergency after another so prevalent in such a fast-moving & rapidly-expanding Work as ours, where the labourers are so few, the harvest so big, & there's so much to be done to gather it in before the storm.
       123. "{\ul But the Lord Himself has said, `Come unto Me, all ye that labour & are heavy laden, & I will give you rest}. Take My yoke upon you & learn of Me, for I am meek & lowly in heart, & ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy & My burden is light.' And His Word also warns us that we must be temperate in all things, to let your moderation be known to all men. If the yoke gets too hard & the burden too heavy, it is not His yoke nor His burden, but our own, or someone else's which we've unwisely undertaken or permitted to be placed upon us beyond the Lord's knowledge of our strength & abilities. He Himself will never suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.
       124. "Sometimes we are tempted to take too much upon us, but certainly not by the Lord. And sometimes we allow our strength to be taxed beyond what we know we can wisely endure, & in doing so we often allow ourselves to be pushed beyond the measure of our own faith & suffer the consequences in physical, mental, nervous or spiritual collapse, of which I myself testified in the Letter `Breakdown'. Please, please don't let it happen to you!
       125. "Take time to be holy.--Wholly His, & whole in body, mind & spirit. `Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee' (Isaiah 26:3). Your strength must be conserved & nerves protected from too great a strain." That was written in 1972! ("My Yoke Is Easy", ML#169, DB5, pg.122-124.)
       126. Just one more thing: Even in a weakened condition, when you're strained, the Lord can give you the strength & the faith & the spiritual energy to pull you through. Even during my worst times, when I was quite wiped out & was sort of coasting along in neutral in handling a lot of the day-to-day business, there were times when something had to be done, & the Lord gave me the faith & energy to do the job. When He does, you know it's totally Him. You're weak, you're out of commission, but the Lord comes through. (Amen!--D.)
       127. When you're in that kind of situation, you shouldn't give up. You still have to fight, you still have to read, but you have to realize that you are in that condition & it does take time to make the necessary repairs. You're not expected to fight 24 hours a day on every front; sometimes you have to retreat & rest. Then when the Lord requires you to get out there & do something, He gives you the strength for it. But like Dad says, the answer, besides resting & pulling back, is the Word & time with the Lord. Because that's what renews your spiritual strength; that's what builds you up more.
       128. Can I just read one more little thing? It's a poem. It's one of my favourites, & I think it's appropriate for all of us who tend to be a little strong, or at least we were! So if you look at it in that light it might help you understand.

Christ Alone
       The World, I thought, belonged to me--
       Goods, gold & people, land & sea.
       Where e're I walked beneath God's sky,
       In those days my word was "I".

       Years passed. There flashed my pathway near
       The fragment of a vision dear.
       My former word no more sufficed,
       And what I said was "I & Christ".

       But oh, the more I looked on Him,
       His glory grew while mine grew dim.
       I shrank so small, He towered so high.
       All I dared say was "Christ & I".

       Years more the vision held its place,
       And looked me steadily in the face.
       I speak now in humbler tone,
       And what I say is "Christ alone".
(GT, pg.1488, #48.)

       129. God allows some of us to go through these things in order to try to get us further down to the "Christ alone" stage, where we know that it's just the Lord Who does it.
       130. We must put our priorities on the right things & realize that our top priority is the Lord! If you're going to help others, you have to let the Lord help you. If you're going to be heading into the fray, the only place you can get the strength is from the Lord, not from yourself. Remember, if you are judging the measure of your success by how much gets done, then you're a prime candidate for a nervous breakdown.
       131. (Gary:) Another point: Acknowledging & admitting my state was a battle initially. It was the fear of failure, as I felt like, "I'm done with & it's over with." Facing & admitting that is a big thing. But let's take a baseball player as a parallel: You can give your best years, but if you reach a certain age or tear a ligament or something, you can never really run well enough again to keep up with the younger players. But you can still be used as a coach, because you have the experience, you have the background, you have a lot of other abilities, even though you can't run & steal bases any more. I'm sure baseball players go through it when they're in the major leagues & suddenly they're incapacitated. But a lot of them then go on to coach a team & some go all the way to the World Series, & it's not such a letdown after all, it's a greater victory.
       132. (Peter:) It's like becoming a teacher. All of your experience goes much further than if you do it all yourself. Once that torch is passed on to others, you can actually accomplish more by sharing your experience with others, just like presidents & generals who write books about the things they experienced. They are called on to give their opinions & they give counsel. In effect, they're training others. Their usefulness has changed, but it hasn't diminished. (Like me!--D.)
       133. As a soldier, when you first join the army & you're a private & you become a sergeant or a captain, you're young & strong, you're out there fighting, you're doing the job. But later on you get older & maybe you become a general. If you were put in the front lines in hand-to-hand combat, you'd be a goner because you just don't have the kind of strength you need for that job any more. As a general you need a different strength. It's a strength in wisdom, in experience & in the Lord's Army, a certain closeness to the Lord that the younger, newer ones don't necessarily have.
       134. But like Dad said about Frank Sinatra & Bing Crosby in "Paper Power" (see DB6, pg.19, par.27), we get used to a certain concept of what we are or what we do or what we should be. We think that what we were in the past is what we should be today, but that's not necessarily so. We need to understand that some of the torches we used to carry are being passed on to others--our teens & our younger people--and we now have other responsibilities. But we need to realize that that's the way the Lord intended it to be & we shouldn't feel badly about it. Don't let the Devil condemn you with the truth that you aren't what you used to be. You're not!--It's true! You're something else; you're what you're supposed to be now! You're not supposed to be what you used to be. I'd never want to bear all that same responsibility. (Amen!--D.)
* * *

       Following is a prophecy received for someone who was having trials about no longer having as great responsibilities as in previous years, & who felt they were less useful to the Lord than they had been in the past:
       "Behold, the life that thou hast lived is more than the lives of many. For I have used thee greatly & mightily throughout thy life. And in thy lifetime thou hast accomplished more & done more than many others. Yet thou art dissatisfied & unhappy, for thou feelest that I should use thee to the utmost day in & day out without rest & without stop. But thou no longer hast the youth that thou hadst before, & this is not possible. For I am limited by the vessel, & thy vessel is weak & growing weaker. Thou must come to this understanding & knowledge & know that I can no longer pour forth through thee in the same manner in which I have in the past, & thou must accept this & not look upon it as a defeat, but look on it as a soldier who is past the prime but is yet very useful & still very much a part of My Army."
* * *

       135. This isn't meant to be a retirement talk! This isn't a talk to say you shouldn't fight any more. Instead it's a reality talk, designed to help you recognize your capabilities & weaknesses & face up to them & then really cry out to the Lord to help you through in spite of those things.--And for Him to do the work through you. "Let go & let God!" Letters like that come alive in these kinds of situations.
       136. Okay, shall we pray? (The leadership joined in prayer for Gary, after which the Lord spoke in prophecy, confirming His Word.)

In Summary
       137. Just as in times past the Lord has used the exposure of different leaders' weaknesses to help the whole Family, this subject of nervous breakdowns seems to lend itself to the same purpose. Had different leaders not shared major lessons on self-righteousness, discouragement, jealousy, etc., we, the Family at large, would have never learned all that we have now about deliverance. We've seen how the Lord has, can & wants to continue to deliver us from these problems in our lives (2Cor.1:10), in order to use us in a greater capacity, & help us individually to realize our utmost dependence on Him. When we are weak, then He is strong, & His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2Cor.12:9,10).
       138. The point is not that we all claim nervous breakdown status & request a week or two off every time the pressures seem to get heavy! The solution is still to cast our burden upon the Lord in order that He might sustain us, & that we do not allow ourselves to be pushed beyond our limit. We must all have that personal conviction to take the necessary time of rest & restrengthening in the Lord's arms, as well as some form of recreation & rest time according to the best of our abilities & situation, preferably on a regular daily basis.
       139. Remember too as a Shepherd, that different ones in your Home require different amounts of rest & sleep, & therefore some are able to carry heavier loads than others. The lessons from the above testimonies serve more as a warning to each of us, & are not published to encourage us to go to the extreme & only work half-days for the Lord & spend the other half of the time resting! Or, if our body make-up is such that we have only required seven hours sleep a night for a number of years, we don't necessarily have to now up it to nine hours sleep per night, if our bodies don't require it.
       140. It seems the main thing the Lord is trying to impress upon us is that we need to realize both our own limitations, as well as the limitations of our flock. We don't need to try to squeeze out the very last drop of our strength & our time & our spirit to accomplish some task, nor expect others to. We must all be sure we are being nourished by the Lord & His Word.
       141. May the Lord bless & keep you & help you to find the proper balance in your life, as you rest in Him! Take good care of yourselves!--You belong to Him!--And His Family! We love you!

       P.S. from Gary (7/94): Now, six years after this event took place, I want to confirm that even though at the time it seemed like the worst possible thing, having a major nervous breakdown was one of the best things that ever happened to me, because of all the Lord's taught me through it. Although I thought it was the end of my usefulness to the Lord, it signalled the beginning of a new life for me, praise the Lord! (Amen! God bless & keep you! Thanks!--D.)

Copyright 1996 The Family