It’s Monday morning and I am tired. Not just the normal tired, but tired clear to the inside. I was not doing anything overly active this last weekend. I didn’t try to climb a mountain or run a marathon. I was just helping to lead a church family camp.
Is there something wrong with me? Am I ill? Am I unspiritual? Am I carrying unnecessary burdens?
Have you ever felt this way? Of course you have. Who am I talking to! Wives, mothers, cross cultural workers. Are we doing something wrong? Is God being mean to us, giving us too much to do in too little time? The enemy would like us to think so.
His goal is make us ineffective in any way possible. Sometimes he just takes advantage of our physical weakness, adding depression to physical exhaustion. Sometimes he plays on our own unrealistic expectations, nudging us to think we are somehow deficient servants of the Most High God. And sometimes he accuses God to us. He tries the same lying tactics he used with Eve, hoping we will turn our backs on God because He is a hard task master. “Any boss is better than this boss,” he whispers.
We have to know better than that! We have to stand up on the inside, even when we have to lie down on the outside.
It helps me to remember that Jesus was tested in every way we are, but without sin.(Heb 4:15) One time Jesus was so tired that he fell asleep in the boat. (Matt. 8:24) Now, he was sleeping so soundly that the violent storm on the Sea of Galilee didn’t wake him up. That was some sleep! I don’t think I’m that tired yet. It was not sin for him to sleep when he was exhausted.
When we were so drained after that camp, we decided on some restorative steps.
1. We stayed an extra night at the hotel and slept. It cost us, but it was worth it. When we woke in the morning we had the necessary strength for the trip home. I believe the best thing we did was make the decision to spend the extra money for the hotel and relax and sleep as much as we needed.
2. We kept a healthy attitude. We were tempted to feel we had been misused. Have you ever felt that way? Sometimes it seems that the people we work with make our job harder than it has to be. We chose to be thankful that God knew what was going to happen and provided a lighter load for the first few days this week.
3. Because we waited to travel until the next day, we had very light traffic compared to the heavy traffic of the holiday. The mountains had beautiful mists in the crevices for about an hour of the drive, and our souls were refreshed as we descended the mountain.
4. We are not jumping into heavy work this week. We are spacing out our appointments and expect extra time for relaxing and rejuvenating. There are plenty of things we need to do, but nothing is as important today as resting our bodies and minds.
5. We are enjoying time with the Lord as we rest. We have audio books and devotionals to refresh our spirits. There are so many resources available that help us refresh our souls. Find the ones that help you.
Sisters, when you are bone-tired, look for the ways God wants to restore you. He sent Elijah an angel to feed him and gave him drink when he was tired and would have to travel again. (1 Kings. 19) God knows how to refresh and sustain us for the work He has for us.
As I write this I want all of us to remember a couple things. We should not exhaust ourselves with doing things God never intended us to do. If we take on loads He never meant for us to carry, we will wear out before we finish His work. So if you are chronically exhausted, seek God’s will about the things you are doing. Find out which of the things that are wearing you out should be done by someone else, or not done at all.
In addition, beware of the fallacy of false comparisons. You may have unlimited strength and a very fast recovery cycle. If so, it would be easy for you to criticize someone who is less energetic and resilient than you are. If you are the less energetic one, remember that your Master does not compare you to anyone else. Work for Him, knowing that He will reward you.
For more on why we are tired and what to do about it see an earlier Peter’s Wife article: The Vitality Assessment