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Trying to Out Run AIDS ...

By Rae Lewis-Thornton

March 14, 2012

This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.

I have a big ass problem. It may seem like a small thing to some people, but its major to me; My inability to rest. I don't rest. Yes, I sleep, but I just don't rest. Now that my health is better, I see myself falling back into the same pattern. Keeping a break neck schedule.

No, I'm not on the road speaking, my gigs are still far and few in between these days, but all the other work that I do. My Social Media work, i.e., Tweeting about my life as a way to educate as well as, answering the tons of e-mails and Facebook messages I get, designing and making bracelets trying to keep RLT Collection current and food on my table and let's now forget trying to get my house back into shape, it went to the dogs in these months. I have so much filing to do its crazy. The list goes on and on.

Since speaking engagements dried up in the last few years, I'm at home, finding new ways to educate, inspire and up lift and at the same time, keep food for me and my baby girl Sophie. Working for yourself is a non-stop job, I gotta make it happen or I'm not going to eat. Working from the house, doesn't make it any better because there is no proper division of work and rest.

I was talking about it on Twitter yesterday and my friend and fashion Blogger Kim suggested some set hours. I thought about it and agreed. Well, I adjusted what she had suggested by an additional hour and half and added some work hours on Saturday, but in the end I thought it was a good idea.

Now I've always been this break neck work alcoholic, overachiever trying to prove Mama wrong. Yep, I was gonna work my ass off and prove to her that I was better than, she declared that I was. The problem is, Mama is dead and gone and I'm still pushing myself to the limits. BTW, Mama never said that she was proud of me, not even before she died.

Well, this morning when I woke Kim sent me a daily devotions and it was so on point!

Thought about you when I read this:

For all who have entered into God's rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.
Hebrews 4:10-11 NLT

Are you well rested? We can enter marathons of work, projects and even emotional hardships. You may feel invincible at times and take on more than your body can handle. But remember that God made us in His image and we should rest just like He did. Firmly set aside a day or two after any intense period of work to replenish yourself.

After I let it sit in my spirit for a second, it hit me like a ton of bricks. God spoke to my spirit loud and clear, "Daughter, it's ok to rest, stop trying to out run AIDS."

WOW.... That hit me right in my gut. STOP trying to out run AIDS! The fact is, no matter how hard I work, AIDS is going nowhere and as sure as I'm typing at this very moment, I will get sick again and I will shut down yet again. There is nothing I can do to change that fact. This is my life with AIDS. It is what it is and I cannot change this fact. Acceptance is half of the ball game.

Somewhere in my head I have this crazy idea that if I work like a mad woman until I get shut down again then it balances out the time that AIDS shuts me down. This is some mad thinking.

I tell people all the time, there is no glory in being some self imposed martyr. Ain't NO glory in that madness, just MADNESS! The Bible says, "The race is not given to the swift or the battle to the strong.... But time and chance happen to them all." (Ecc 9:11) I have to let life play itself out. I cannot change the course of events in my life, there are some things that cannot be undone. HIV/AIDS is one of them. No matter how long or hard I work, HIV/AIDS is not changing.

I talk to my life coaching clients all the time about balance. The best person you can be is the most balanced person you can be. You have to take everything in your life into consideration and live your best life facing it all.

There is no victory in this break neck schedule I keep. Just fatigue and exhaustion both mentally and physically and that does more damage to my health and gives AIDS fuel to attack my body. HIV fatigue and my broke down immune system don't need any help from me by adding fuel to the fire and herpes is just waiting to attack my stressed out body.

So I'm going on record TODAY! I'm creating balance in my schedule. Time to work and time to renew. I know at first it may be difficult, but I'm keeping to the work schedule even if I have to leave the house to do it; Go to the gym or take a walk with Sophie.

YES! I'm giving myself permission to rest. I thank God for my discussion with Kim. Certainly she was a vessel for me to get at the root cause of some of this madness.

Glad I tweeted my need to rest, glad she was their on the other end and allowed it to resonate in her spirit. The devotion that she sent me this morning was so on point; Even God took time to rest.

It reinforced in me that I'm made in God's wonderful image, even with AIDS. There is no need for me to prove that I'm Greater Than AIDS, God proved that when I was created! All good and perfect things comes from God and when God made Woman and Man, God said, "It is good."

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See Also
10 Things You Can Do to Enhance Your Emotional Well-Being
More on Getting Support From Religion / Spirituality


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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.

Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on about Rae's social media activities.

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