I’ve been really tired lately. Physically tired, yes, but more than that. It’s the kind of tired that feels as if there are weights pressing on my shoulders and pushing me toward the ground. Even the simplest of activities, such as making my bed or taking out the trash, feels heavy and annoying. Anything more challenging than that feels near impossible. It’s as if my feet are stuck to the ground (or my behind is stuck to the couch). Everything feels meh.
Can you relate?
For a number of years now, I have been on a discovery journey with the Holy Spirit. Jesus asked the disciples to follow him. The Good Teacher has been asking that of me as well. My experience in following so far has been full of adventure (some wonderful and some terrifying), usually outside of my box, and almost always counter to conventional wisdom. A common theme for me, regardless of where the road has taken me, is that the beginning of the path always has the feel and aroma of full life.
I’ll try to explain what I mean. Here’s an example from my own life. You can see if it relates at all to something you’ve experienced.
A recent scenario: I’m tired. Feeling flat and a bit unmotivated. Then comes the thought, You have to get up and do something. Your family needs dinner. Get up.
Then comes my protest, I reaallllyyy don’t want to cook dinner. I’m tired.
Followed quickly by the judgment, Stop being so lazy. What’s your problem? How hard is it to cook dinner?
Sometimes I just loop through these 3 thoughts, but sometimes the Holy Spirit will add in a thought. Unfortunately, I don’t always recognize who put the thought in my head – mostly because initially it sounds so impractical.
The seemingly random, impractical thought added to the above conversation in my head, Then don’t.
What? Don’t cook dinner? Where did that thought come from? Of course I have to cook dinner. Don’t be ridiculous!
If cooking dinner isn’t your issue, that’s understandable. Simply replace it with the thing you feel like you must do even though you would rather not: take out the trash, take the kids to school, go to work, parent, be an adult, etc. This issue works on little things as well as big.
Let’s be honest, I don’t always cook dinner for my family. Nor do I always do all the other things I feel like I should do. Sometimes I cook dinner, but I’m kind of mean and demanding, expecting everyone else to do stuff even if they don’t want to do it. I swing between driven and avoidant – neither of those a life-giving or loving option for my family.
We often think there is only one right solution. When we’re depleted, we can end up with tunnel vision, thinking we must either do the thing or escape from responsibility completely.
There is another way. The God who created the heavens and the earth is a very creative God, full of ideas and solutions that would amaze us. This is the same God who pulled a coin out of a fish’s mouth to pay the taxes. So far, that solution has never worked for my taxes, but I have found that bringing my tiredness-induced dilemmas to Jesus has yielded similarly surprising results.
- To the cooking dilemma, the Holy Spirit’s suggestion was not to cook. Let the teenagers make something for themselves tonight.
- To an anxiety issue my child was having, I was invited to allow that child to stay home from school for a day.
- To my desire to skip work, the suggestion was to take work on the road that day, going for a drive through the country.
My problem has been that the Holy Spirit’s suggestion usually presses on some sort of belief system I have, causing me to dismiss it off-hand. For example:
- To be a good mom, I need to cook my children good, healthy meals.
- For my kids to have a good work ethic, they should not be allowed to miss school.
- For me to be a good worker, I need to be in a meeting or at a computer, grinding away.
These are little things, really, but the way of life the Spirit suggests rings of kindness, freedom, and lighter burdens. It is true on a larger scale, too. Did you hear about the time my husband quit his job, we sold our house, got rid of all our stuff, and took our family on the road? It was quite an adventure. In fact, we call it our Trust Adventure.
I don’t want you to be confused by what I’m saying. Jesus’ way is not always the easiest way. Sometimes it is really, really challenging, full of denying ourselves and laying down our lives for others. But even when it is that, I believe the Holy Spirit desires to make it taste like life. In other words, even though it might look difficult, there is a sense of the presence of the Lord on the path that makes it seem empowered, and maybe even desirable. In my experience, I have been given much grace for the hardest of situations into which I’ve been asked to walk.
Life is hard enough. I am suggesting that Jesus is not trying to make it harder for you. That’s what the devil is doing – lying, stealing, killing, destroying.
Jesus wants to help. Will you let Him work outside your box? Will you allow your life to be filled with adventure? Would you be willing to release some control (possibly some reputation) and see what happens?
Here’s the good news: many of us are becoming too weary to keep doing it our old way. Yes, I believe that is good news. Your tired body is creating an opening for the Holy Spirit to offer you a better way – an idea sent from heaven.
The devil may try to tell you the idea is selfish, irresponsible, or impractical. The people around you might as well.
Maybe you’re getting desperate enough to run a little experiment. What if you say yes to one of those crazy little ideas that pops into your head and see what happens? If it’s not unethical or evil, but just a little odd, ask Jesus for the grace to try it, even if you might be wrong. Ask the Holy Spirit to open up the path of life in front of you and to protect you from any harm.
Jesus came to give us life. Wanna try letting Him do it?
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.