Do you ever get weary? Have you ever been so absolutely exhausted that you couldn’t get out of bed? I’m sure you have. We all have.
There are situations in life and seasons of life that take every bit of strength that we have… and more. I’m not talking about busy seasons like Christmas, a work deadline, or a packed kids schedule for example. Although those can wear you out. I am talking about the times in life when the proverbial rock you are pushing up the hill is heavier than you can bear:
Newborns. The energy it takes to grow a baby, deliver a baby, and care for a baby is astounding. The sleep deprivation one encounters in the first few months is excruciating. It wreaks havoc on your physical and mental health. Often, just as you are getting back to somewhat normal sleep patterns… you have another baby! My first four years of motherhood are pretty blurry due to very little sleep.
Long Term Stress. Pressure, anxiety, tension, worry, trauma, etc. all steal your strength when your not looking. Stress is a slow leak. You are going along just fine, or so you think, when all of a sudden warning lights start flashing in your brain. This causes an unreasonable urge to run away, or act out in some way (usually negative and harmful). Pressure can only build so much before we feel like we are going to blow a gasket. I have been to that edge. It’s not pretty.
Post Event Let Down. When we put a tremendous amount of energy; physical energy, creative energy, and mental energy into a project we are often left feeling deflated and wiped out when it is over. Many people experience this after Christmas, so much so that it has a name, “The After Christmas Blues”. Being an event planner, I can’t tell you how many times I have dealt with this. It has taken me years to learn to pace myself to minimize this, as well accept it and prepare in anticipation of it. I use to get frustrated and fight it, but now I realize it passes much faster if I schedule in time to decompress and rejuvenate from the months of hard work and planning.
Chronic Illness Or Pain. Pain is the master of fatigue. Sickness is the king of weariness. When we get sick or injured and we know with an appropriate amount of time we will be as good as new, we are fine. It is those unexplained aches and nagging pains that push us to our limits. When the doctors don’t know what’s wrong with us and we struggle with our health it takes us to the brink of our sanity.
Loss. Mourning and grief suck the life right out of you. Even when you know Jesus and understand the hope of eternity, the loss of someone you love takes the wind from your sails. This took me totally off guard when I lost my mom. She died very unexpectedly on a crisp October morning. The Lord’s sustaining grace was truly amazing, however I still battled tremendous fatigue. For weeks after her passing I slept and slept. It wasn’t depression, as one might expect, but rather the way the Lord cared for my body and mind during that difficult time.
What’s This About?
I have faced all of these things, some multiple times. I’m sure you have as well. Fatigue is a deceptive and powerful tool of the enemy. It is very important that we learn how to combat it so we don’t burn out, run away, or curl up and hope to die. The enemy’s main objective is to drive us to quit. He He has come to steal, kill and destroy us (John 10:10), and fatigue is his weapon of choice.
The load we carry in life can make us weary, but the enemy seeks to wipe us out. Even a small burden, when carried for a long time takes it’s toll. When we are exhausted our problems seem SO MUCH BIGGER! When we have to carry something, anything for a long time, we grow tired and weak. To make this point in my class recently, I asked one of my students to hold a simple glass of water for me until I asked for it. I asked her not to put it down or even switch hands, but hold it upright so it wouldn’t spill. After about 30 minutes I asked her to give it to me. Her hand had become stiff and frozen like around the glass making it difficult to release, and her arm was starting to lose feeling. The weight of only a few ounces started to become an unbearable weight. This is what happens to our hearts and minds when we try to carry our burdens and stress ourselves for any length of time.
We cannot control the things in life, or the seasons of life that bring fatigue, we can only control how we respond to them. God speaks to this repeatedly in His Word:
“Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22
“Have you never heard or understood? Don’t you know that the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-30
“‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.'” Matthew 11:29-30 NLT
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah was exhausted to the point of wanting to die. God cared for him by having him sleep and eat. Don’t underestimate the power of good sleep and good food! God sent an angel to feed him repeatedly so he would regain his strength to continue in the work God had for him. I love this passage because I have felt like Elijah. I have been so weary I didn’t think I could go on. When have felt the crippling power of stress and fatigue, I not only found rest and strength in God, but He has always faithfully sent someone to refresh me. I don’t know if these people will ever know the depth of revival their simple ministry of a meal, a card, a call, a joke or a hug brought me. When you are holding on to a very thin line, even the smallest gesture of love and support fortifies and reinforces you.
If you are weary today, I pray you lean into Jesus and gather strength from Him. I pray your sleep will be sweet and you have something good to eat. I also pray God sends you an angel to refresh you and revive you like thirst quenching water on a parched dry day.
If you know of someone dealing with terrible pressure or pain, be an angel to them. Ask the Lord how you can refresh and encourage them. Take them a meal, send flowers or just a card or silly video, baby sit their kids so they can rest or play, plan a day of fun with them. Remember, nothing is too simple or too small. Just reach out to them, and remind them they are not alone and they are loved.