Original Post Date: May 25, 2019
I’m tired. It’s May and the usual craziness of the end of the year is sucking my remaining brain cells into oblivion. In addition, I’m a California girl, and I need my sunshine to feel energized. There hasn’t been a lot of sun here lately. We’ve enjoyed the extra rain this spring, but instead of the usual feeling of spring fever and the call of the beach, I feel like crawling back into bed for hibernation.
On top of all of that, I have some hard stuff going on in ministry, in our family, and in the lives of my friends. Each of these issues on their own is not overwhelming, but put it all together with the fact that I’m the type of person who deeply feels each of these things (INFJ), and it adds up. I wake up tired. I go to bed tired. I sigh a lot during the day. I have to push myself to stay focused and stay on task. Even another cup of coffee doesn’t help.
As a biblical counselor, the best rehearsal I get in counseling is to counsel myself. Since no temptation overtakes me that is not common to all men (1 Cor. 10:13), God constantly uses my own struggles to hone my thinking. I know that as I go through this, sometime in the future when I am allowed the privilege of sitting across from a sister-in-Christ who is exhausted and can’t seem to get going, I will be able to truly empathize (2 Cor. 1:3-7).
Since May seems to be an exhausting month for everyone, I thought I’d share some Simple Steps I’ve been taking the last couple of weeks. I hope they are an encouragement to you!
1. Remember that everything changes
One of the reasons hard times can be harder than they need to be is that we buy into the idea that what we are thinking and experiencing today will be the same tomorrow and forever.
OF COURSE, intellectually, we know that’s not true, but when we are buried in sadness or on the treadmill of a schedule that seems unending, we start to create a theology that says, “What I’m experiencing is the only way things will ever go.” We may think, “That person will never change,” or “This pain will never end.” Young mothers may say, “I will never sleep through the night again.”
Because we can only live in the current moment, this is an easy lie to believe. We dismiss the idea that God is in control and working through all things for our good (Rom. 8:28).
Our theology of man becomes very strange, too. We decide that OTHERS may get better (or worse) from illnesses, or that OTHER moms eventually sleep through the night, but for some reason we are the exception; the rules of God’s universe don’t apply to us. We deny the truth that there are seasons of life, laid out by example in Scripture (Ecc. 3:1-8, Luk. 2:52).
2. Place your hope in God’s power, not in your circumstances
In addition to all the other issues going on in my life, I’ve been fighting a cold virus for a couple of weeks. I’m not at all happy about it. It’s making my life harder and making me tired. I’d like it to go away.
The reality is that sometimes things don’t change fast enough for our own liking, or go in the direction that we hope. My basic thinking goes something like this: “Okay, I’ll accept the virus as part of the curse of Genesis 3, but it’s only allowed to require one day in bed, and two days of recovery. That’s all I can allow right now. I’ve got plans.”
Woody Allen said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” We may think that’s a decent summary of the theology of God’s sovereignty, but it’s not. God does NOT laugh when we try to dictate to Him how life should go. Sternly, God says to Job, “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me” (Job 38:2-3 NIV). God then goes on to point out to Job all the things over which Job had no control or knowledge.
When God doesn’t allow my life to go as I have pictured, my job is not to tell Him how He has made a mistake. My job is to pray in order to align my heart to His will (Psalm 138). My job is to trust that my Father, who has infinite wisdom, is in control. My job is to find my hope in His power here on Earth to accomplish the building of the kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 6:9-13). Is my being sick and tired for two weeks going to thwart God’s plan? What arrogance to think I know better than Him. Ugh.
Pray then like this:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
3. Be still
Whether or not God chooses to change my circumstances and my exhaustion, I am called to wait on Him with a still heart (Ps. 46:10). He is trustworthy (Ps. 9:10, Ps. 13:5). He is faithful (Deut. 7:9, 2 Tim. 2:13).
As a parent I know exactly what this looks like. How many times have I admonished my children just to sit still and stop fighting me? Can you relate to this? “If you would just quietly obey by letting me buckle you into your car seat, we could get on the road to Disneyland. Trust me, kid. The car seat may not be your favorite place, but wait until you see what happens after you endure it!”
Why do you say, O Jacob,Isaiah 40:27-31
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Today might not be the end of my exhaustion, but it WILL change, His purposes WILL be accomplished, and waiting patiently WILL be the best thing for me.
What about you? Let Him buckle you in your car seat. You might end up at Disneyland.