When you think of the word “tired,” what do you think of? I’m sure one of the first things that comes to my mind is that feeling at the end of the day when you’re just ready to curl up in bed and call it a day. Physically, we get tired. But, as I’m sure we’ve all experienced, there are several sources of our tiredness. There are multiple things in our lives that use and steal our energy. We can become emotionally, relationally, occupationally, and spiritually tired. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
Looking back at 2020, it’s easy to say that there were a lot more things that stole my energy than things that fueled it. There were unforeseen, undesirable, and unpleasant events that drained the energy out of us. If you’re feeling tired today, know that you are well justified. It is tiresome and exhausting to be worried about the health and well being of your loved ones for months on end. It is tiresome to be working long hours, or be on the hunt for another job after losing yours. It is tiresome to adapt to new and changing safety guidelines as a way of living. You are not crazy for being tired. But, your exhaustion does not come without aid. You are not left alone in your exhaustion without a source of rest.
In my senior year of college, I experienced what seemed to be the never-ending feeling of tiredness—from constantly writing papers and taking exams, to trying to fix the WIFI connection when all my classes went virtual, to worrying if I was still going to have a job the next day. I did not know what to do. On top of school, I was navigating relationship troubles, trying to remain responsible in my finances, and dealing with my own worry and anxiety about everything. You could say I got pretty tired.
But . . . even when—even when I was exhausted, even when I didn’t have enough time in the day, even when I only got four hours of sleep, even when I couldn’t see a break, God wanted to give me rest in every way. All throughout Scripture, God asks us to give Him our exhaustion in exchange for strength; He asks us to give Him our anxiety for His peace. He says that those who hope in Him will soar like eagles, and will not grow weary (Isaiah 40:31). He says if we will simply come to Him, He will give us rest and an easy burden to carry (Matthew 11:28-29). My normal, human tendency wants to press through exhaustion, just trying to finish the task at hand. But God says to come to Him—to stop, to pause and take time to rest in order to be better used by Him. God cares more about you than your to-do lists. He cares about your rest more than your productivity.
The next time you’re feeling down, out, and tired, I want to challenge you to explore these three questions:
1. What’ s making me tired?
What’s taking your energy?
What can you assess throughout your days and your weeks that steal joy and energy from you?
Identify those things, and find ways to remove them from your routine.
2. What gives me energy?
What fills your tank?
What rooms do you walk out of, or what activities do you finish doing that leave you feeling full of life?
Identify these things, and take some time to find ways to incorporate them, even for a little bit, in your everyday life.
3. Who gives me rest?
In the midst of your exhaustion it’s easy to forget. But stop and remind yourself who the provider of your rest is. The One who invites you to come to Him when you’re tired, and promises strength and endurance over your life.
I promise, if you regularly check in with yourself on these questions, and find time to spend with God in His Scripture, in worship, and in prayer, even when you feel overwhelmed with weariness, even when you feel too discouraged to press on, even when you think you can’t keep up with the fast-paced movements, you will find rest in the comfort of your Heavenly Father.