Have you ever been weary? Not just tired, but deep down, bone and soul weary. Life moves fast and the things that need attention seem endless. Kids, family, relationships, work, household tasks, responsibilities, schedules, and deadlines all seem to require us to steamroll ahead and it can feel like there is no way to slow down to even catch your breath.
This is something that was really a struggle for me.
I could tell when I was moving towards this kind of depleted weariness because instead of my normal vigor and excitement for each new day and the things it holds, when the alarm went off I’d find myself pulling the covers up over my head. I’d begin to fantasize about Netflix binges, long walks, quiet afternoons, and naps.
I use to think that I just needed to push through, to keep going, to martyr myself and just do it all. I’d realize I was burning out, but not feel like I had any other option but to keep my head down and just do the next thing in front of me.
Rest seemed like a luxury. Time to pause and be still seemed like something that had to be traded out for productivity. Long, slow, quiet, early mornings with God had to be shortened so that I could get on to more important things.
I’d focus on putting out the next fire while exhaustion slowly engulfed my mind, body, and soul.
I’d see myself behave in ways that were grumpy, short tempered, and distracted. I had a hard time being present and engaging with my people because my to do list loomed so large in front of me. I seemed to always be in a hurry and busyness was my normal.
I use to think the answer to overcoming the weariness was to just keep my head down and work harder so that I could get caught up. Maybe even get ahead.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The answer wasn’t moving faster and pushing myself harder. The answer was slowing down and pushing in closer to God.
When I traded out intentional time to rest, to be still, and to abide with Him in prayer and in His Word so that I could be more productive, I was giving up the one thing that could nourish my mind, body, soul, give me strength, and bring me peace.
God’s Kingdom is, and has always been, an upside down one where the least are the greatest, the meek inherit the earth, the leaders are servants, and the sinless King of Kings and Lord of Lords bore the sin of all. It is no wonder that in order to overcome the weariness we feel when life is overwhelmingly full, the answer isn’t to speed up, but to slow down.
We weren’t made to keep our head down and work harder, we were created to lift our eyes up to the One who holds it all, who gives us strength, and who restores our weary mind, body, and soul.
Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV says this, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I didn’t know. I hadn’t heard.
I bought the lie that productivity was the goal and, regardless of what it cost me, my hard work was the tool to meet that goal. I traded the truth of God for the lies of this world.
Yes, I want to be responsible, hardworking, and steward well the things that God has entrusted into my care. However, I know that my ability to do those things well doesn’t depend on my ability to push myself to near exhaustion. It depends on my ability to press in close to God and draw on His strength and His power.
For me, that often looks like reorganizing my priorities and beginning my day in the presence of my God. It looks like early mornings steeped in the truth of God’s word and calling out to Him in prayer. It looks like laying aside my to do list for time with the One who is in all, over all, and above all.
In all honesty, I still get weary sometimes. It can still be a struggle to go against our cultural norm of needing to do it all, hold it all together, and be all things to all people. I can still find myself feeling a little worn out and weary when busyness and responsibility pile up, but I also know that when I feel that way I need to pause, and take a look at what I’m prioritizing.
Instead of pushing harder to overcome the weariness that I feel, these days I find myself pushing in closer to God. And every time, I’m better off for it. I walk away with my mind, body, and soul refreshed and I’m better able to steward all of the things God has placed in front of me.