Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spiritual Exhaustion

This post is for exhausted people only. If you're pumped up about life and you've got everything figured out, enjoy your day and God speed. See you next post.

Okay, if you're still here reading, it could be that you've had a hard week so far, or maybe a rough month, or maybe it's been a really long winter. You might feel beyond tired-- you're actually weary. You feel like a wet noodle,maybe. If you're floppy and you know it, say amen.

But I've got some good news for you, friend. You can be weary and weak and just about out of steam. In fact you might have one last little prayer of "Help, God!" in you and you're about to utter it pleadingly- and even then you're not sure it will availeth much.

Can I tell you something about spiritual exhaustion? It happens. It happens to the best and the brightest and the strongest and the most well-intentioned of us. The fact that it happens is not the thing I want to tell you. That's just what I want to establish as our base line truth. Here's what I want to tell you though: spiritual exhaustion is not necessarily evidence that you've done anything wrong. In fact you may have been doing many things right, lately. You've prayed up a storm. You've read your Bible faithfully. You helped someone and never bragged about it. You've tried to utter blessing and not cursing when you've been hurt or rejected. You've tried to do good and not cause pain. You've tried, period.

Last summer, on vacation, my son tried and tried to skim board. Skim boarding is when you take a board and "skim" across the surface of the water-- but it's shallow water. You can't drown in it. You're just supposed to glide across it. Glide, I said. Not pound the surface. Not fight the current.

And now let's enter the "deep" end, here: you were not meant to always be pounding the surf, hitting against hard wave after wave. You were also meant for gliding. You were made for "easy" times too.

Don't get offended about that word easy. So many Christians do. I can hear all the pulpit pounders telling me that life is hard and the life of a disciple is harder and get ready to fight the good fight. And fight again. And fight to the end.

Do that. Fight when you need to. Contend for things when it's a matter of faith verses sight. But don't forget to glide....when you can. When there's a wave of ease and opportunity, by all means, take it! When Christ offers a yoke that is "easy" and a burden that is light, He is talking about ceasing from trying so hard and accepting the suitable and comfortable yoke of obeying what He's asked you to do. And sometimes obedience requires such perseverance and denying of self. And sometimes God sends a wave of refreshment and He expects you to take it ...and glide. Step out into the Spring air and breathe deeply. Enjoy that late evening walk. Take the hand that is offered to you instead of saying, "Oh, no, I'm fine."

Psalm 46:10 tells us to "Be still and know that I am God...." Stop all the strenuous exertion and get a revelation of how powerful He is and how weak and floppy you are. It's okay to be blown away by the contrast. One commentary on this verse digs deep into the meaning of "be still" and explains that it has to do with casting down or letting something fall. " be relaxed, slackened, especially the hands: It is also employed in the sense of not making an effort; not putting forth exertion; and then would express the idea of leaving matters with God, or of being without anxiety about the issue."

I'm all about persisting in prayer, persevering in prayer. I believe in contending for the promises of God. I believe Scripture tells us, over and over, that we must be bold and strong and obedient and faithful. But it also tells us that when we are weak, HE is strong. When we are "relaxed" He is still powerful--and not at all offended by our taking a glide across the water and shouting "weeee!" as we go.

Stop striving to make things happen. Let God see you relaxed and expectant at the same time. I can raise my hands to heaven and pray and I know this pleases God. But I can also let my hands hang down in exhaustion and marvel at the fact that God is never weary. I can honor Him even in my weakness; perhaps because when I know I am weak, I might just realize, in a greater way, how strong and powerful and capable God is. When I understand this, really understand this, that's my faith in God showing. I might even display more faith in God when I am going through a time where I'm weak and exhausted-- if I can admit He is not offended by my fatigue and I am not resistant to His offering of help and grace.

Be still before Him. Let go. Let your hands flop down in fatigue if you have to. Rest easy in the knowledge that He's got a wave of refreshment coming to you. It's for you. It's yours for the taking. Glide on it.

There's more where that came from.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much..

Anonymous said...

Amen! Needed that today!