This month I have been facing some serious tiredness. I am a mother of three, a wife, and a fifth grade teacher. You know that saying in all the memes…”There’s no tired like teacher tired”? I try not to buy into that. There is also no tired like full-time mom tired, new mom tired, older person tired, chronically sick tired...the list could go on and on until we listed every person and circumstance in the world. The bottom line is: we are ALL tired.
My husband teases me because I love sleep. My favorite place in our house is my bed. I want to sleep in. I want to take naps. If I am trying to find rest and peace, my bed is where I want to go. I want to escape stress and chaos. And there is nothing wrong with having a place where you can relax. The problem is that I can’t always do that. I have adulting to do. As I was reading the articles from the other contributors this month I had a gut check. Am I seeking rest in this world or escape? Am I trying to carry all the burdens that God has asked me to give to Him or am I trusting Him?
I have been pouring all my time and energy into school and whatever is left over I have been giving to my family. Nothing has been left over for God. Not that I have completely ignored Him, but I certainly haven’t been treating him like I should. He’s kind of been stuck in a corner of my mind where I wander from time to time. Not cool. When my priorities get all messed up like this, He has a great way of gently bringing me back into focus. Realignment isn’t always easy, but I am always glad when it happens.
Psalm 28:7 says “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”
(By the way, “exults” is another way of saying “is extremely happy”. I had to look it up.)
The LORD is my strength - not work. Not myself. If I am tired, what am I expecting to happen? Suddenly one night I get the perfect sleep and am no longer tired? That my fifth grade students are going to suddenly listen perfectly and understand fractions and long division? That my daughters and husband will start acting like sitcom family members and all problems will be solved within 30 minutes and then we get to have lots of laughs in a house that never seems to be dirty? No. Not even. We aren’t promised perfect. We aren’t promised understanding of everything. We aren’t promised health or happiness at every moment.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
This verse comes after the writer has just complained about all the wicked people around him seeming like they have everything. This verse is his reality check after all that “tired of the world” stuff has been expressed. It struck me as well in a similar way.
Instead of being tired and focusing on being tired, I need to re-prioritize. Give myself 15 minutes extra in the morning to sit and pray and put on my armor of God. Would that help me be a better teacher? It certainly couldn’t hurt! Instead of commiserating with co-workers about how stressful teaching is right now (don’t get me started on that one), use that time to get organized so I can leave work as soon as possible and get home to my family. God gave them to me and they deserve to have some of my “prime time” as well. After putting the kids to bed, take some time to read my Bible and reflect. What better way to leave things at His feet so I can sleep better?
Sometimes these things seem overly simple and obvious, but they aren’t. They are worthwhile and impactful. They can help me to realize that everything isn’t an emergency. I have help from God and in God and all that He has given me. It allows God to become my strength and my rest instead of trying to find rest on my own. (How’s that workin’ for you Angie?)
Tired happens. When it does, we need to rest our minds and our bodies, but more importantly we need to lean into the Lord so he can be our strength and renew and awaken our spirits so we can be good stewards of our lives.
Take some time to read or re-read the other articles on this topic, they are most certainly worth your time. Lyndsay’s article about doing things “unto the Lord” no matter how mundane they are and how this relates to obedience and holiness. Alexandria’s article reminds us that the God who moves mountains still hears our voice and reaching out to Him can be so refreshing and rejuvenating. Gay reminded us to pause and remember that our rest is found in God alone.
I thank God for these ladies and all their beautiful wisdom. I thank God for you all that join us each week as we reflect and study together. I pray that you find some rest and that in doing so, you rise up awakened in mind, body, and spirit in God.
Written by: Angie Reese
Are you tired? I have been for months now. I’m suffering from post shut-down syndrome.
This is a sub-set of symptoms from having lived through this crazy pandemic of the past (almost) two years now. This syndrome does not even require you to have actually had Covid-19. If you are alive on this planet earth, you most likely are suffering from it’s symptoms.
Symptoms of Shut-down Syndrome:
This is not an article telling you specifics of what to do in order to live through this, or any, pandemic. It’s not about whether or not to get a vaccine or how to get healthy. It’s not about the ‘science’ of it. No...I just want to tell you a little of what God has been teaching me in all of this mess.
The Lord God has given Me the tongue of those who are
instructed to know how to sustain the weary with a word.
My journey, especially in the past few months, has caused me to pause in the moment. To stop listening to the blaring voices in the news and social media in order to resync my heart and mind with God’s voice. It has caused me to stop and consider that this is a universal syndrome and those steps that I listed, well all but the toilet paper one, have their own list of symptoms to process. So what am I learning in this pause?
Into the Word
He awakens Me each morning;
He awakens My ear to listen
like those being instructed.
I am blessed to be able to get out of bed each morning and go directly to the coffee maker to pour a freshly brewed cup of coffee...ahhh the aroma...and then go straight to my comfy chair to enjoy my coffee with Jesus. I use these first morning hours to sit with Jesus, to talk with God, to read His word, and then if I have time, to read from a book that leads me into further reflection. When I am awakened to His voice, He perks up my ears to listen and learn from His word.
But sometimes...I am sidelined by distractions and I miss His voice. And approaching my mornings with good intentions but haphazardly allowing for distractions gets me off track. Even in spite of the fact that I am still physically going to that quiet place every morning. And I know I’ve been doing this when I feel the bone-tired weariness of living in this restless world.
I find that it’s time to pause again. To stop and listen to the song that He sings over me.
Listen to my voice, beloved.
You will not find rest in a restless world.
Come and confide in Me;
I will be your rest.
That’s just it…there is no rest to be found in a restless world. Our rest is found in God alone. And so we have to pause and rest in His wisdom. Rest in His word. Sit in the lap of your heavenly Father and listen to the song He sings over you. If you are not familiar with a loving earthly father, this might be hard to picture in your mind’s eye, but as you come to know Jesus, He will reveal the Father to you. A good and loving Father.
Rest For the Soul
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 just where to go to find this rest for our souls,
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.
All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for yourselves.. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
We need rest from the burdens (yoke) that has been placed on us, or dare I say the one that we have taken upon ourselves. So what exactly does it mean to take His yoke?
The yoke has been used as a symbol in the Bible, referring to the cattle yoke, or harness. In this passage, Jesus uses the metaphor of the common yoke to teach his disciples a lesson. I can imagine Him pointing to the cattle in the field nearby as He taught. His disciples would have had a clear image of what He was talking about. It can be a bit muddy to those of us who grew up in a city and aren’t familiar with the ancient agrarian ways. So, I did some digging and discovered that a yoke of this kind binds two cattle together so they could work in tandem. This yoke, or harness, was often larger on one side so that a larger, stronger, and more experienced animal could guide and mentor a younger animal. This would also significantly lighten the burden of the less experienced and weaker animal.
Can you see it? No? Well, hold my purse while I slip out of this current yoke...Post-Shutdown syndrome, and slip on the yoke of Jesus and walk in tandem with Him.
Just what is the ‘yoke’ of Jesus? What was the burden of His life...the thing He was most passionate about? He knew what He was to do from a very early age. At just 12 years old, Mary, who was in a panic over where He was, found Him in the temple complex...his answer to her chiding was this, “Didn’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business”, Luke 2:49. In John 6:38 Jesus states, “I came not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.” So, if we are to take up His yoke, we too are to do the will of the Father.
Awaken to Hope
With all my heart, I want to learn from Him, so that I may find my rest in Him. There is nothing like a good rest to restore body, mind, and soul. To awaken with a fresh perspective. New hope. Ready to take on whatever challenges may come.
Even as I walk with a renewed hope, I know that more difficulties will come. After all, Jesus also warns us that in this world we will have trouble, (John 16:33). But in the same breath, He tells us to ‘take heart’ because He has already overcome the world. He is the victor. And from this promise we can experience peace. A peace that makes no earthly sense. And you know what? It doesn’t have to when we place our trust in Him.
“But I will see Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with your presence.” ~ Psalm 75:15
Written bY: Gay Idle
Awake my soul and sing
Sing His praise aloud
Sing His praise aloud
As I sit here thinking about what to write that song Awake My Soul by Hillsong is playing in my head like a tune that won’t leave. So not knowing what else to do, I decided to do something a little different and set my words down and just worship to that song.
I love the words in it. “Where we hear praises He hears faith.” It’s the sound of our prayers and our praises that moves Him. It stirs the heart of our Father and “where stood a wall now stands away”.
When we are tired and exhausted physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually we can turn and remember that our God still moves mountains. Our voice, our heart, our actions moves the heart of our God.
The same God who created the universe is moved by the sound of our voice.
Can we just let that sink in for a moment.
We all have amazingly crazy busy lives. Last week Lyndsay spoke about doing everything unto the Lord. Big or small focusing our efforts as a ministry to God. She spoke about how shifting her perspective and attitude towards God in all things and how it changed not only her, but the atmosphere in her home. WOW!
I have to admit that that is something I always strive for. A home where people can let their guards down. Where they can plop down on a seat and be overwhelmed with peace and comfort. Where the weight of their day just melts under the Presence of the Father and His grace. That is the kind of atmosphere I want to have in my home.
That kind of atmosphere doesn’t happen by accident. It is definitely not something that just happens. LOL If only. It takes us choosing to praise when we don’t feel like it. It takes us choosing faith over fear.
I strive for it, I don’t always have it. Sometimes I do get wrapped up in my to-do, family time, kids school and sports, and work. Sometimes I forget where my focus is supposed to be. Sometimes I can get so wrapped up in the daily life tasks that I exhaust myself to get them done. And let me tell you, when that happens there is not much peace in my home.
When that happens I find it very hard to “realign” myself with the right who and why. I’m tired and exhausted and I just don’t have anything left to give. But then, when I finally decide that I’ve had enough and I can’t do it anymore and there is nothing left to lose I praise.
Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. Psalms 54:4
If you are feeling tired and weak, reach out to God. He is waiting to hear your voice. He is ready to move at the sound of your faith. Will you let Him?
*Awake My Soul Hillsong Worship CCLI 7134998
Written by: Alexandria Brown
I am a mother of three - an 8 year old son, a 6 year old son, and a 2 year old daughter. I work full-time in ministry AND I get to be with my kids full-time. Oh - and we also homeschool. To put it lightly, I’ve been tired for a long time now. Especially since we had our third baby, Abigail.
Abby is precious and sweet and a ball of sunshine, but she is also bossy (hello future leader), strong willed (every hill is a hill to die on in her estimation), and sassy. She has me in tears of joy and tears of frustration most days.
Abby’s older brothers are starting to experience to full spectrum of brotherhood meaning they don’t always get along anymore and it can get pretty heated and wild between those two. Trying to teach the value of patience and compassion can be exhausting.
I recently came to a breaking point. I felt I could no longer carry on in our family’s current state and keep it together. I was snapping at the kids and getting really grouchy quickly. I found myself comparing myself to my husband and feeling the irritation of unmet expectations and honestly, things not being done my way. In my desperation for rejuvenation and peace in my heart, I reached out to the Lord in prayer again.
“Help me, Lord! I can’t go on this way. I’m becoming a mom I don’t want to be. I’m frustrated with everyone in my home all the time! No one is helping me. I’m drowning! Help me, Lord!”
Then I felt the Lord impress on me Colossians 3:23 “…do everything as unto the Lord.”
I had been doing it all for my kids, for my husband, to impress other people, and most of all… for myself. From that moment, I dedicated my heart to doing everything in my home as unto the Lord. If my husband didn’t do chores my way, it didn’t matter - I was doing chores for the Lord. If my kids made a mess, I was helping them clean it up as for the Lord. If there were a massive amount of dishes to be done, I was washing dishes for Jesus. If I had a mountain of laundry, I was washing the Lord’s clothes. If I needed to scrub a gross toilet, I was purifying my home for the Lord.
The atmosphere of my home began to change so much so that other people could feel it when they came to my house. While I have always struggled as a homemaker, I began to delight in sweeping my kitchen floor, making dinner for my family, helping my kids clean up their rooms, decorating my living room… making our house a home, a haven for my three children and husband to retreat to, to tuck themselves into its safety, to get covered in peace.
After all this change and a renewed spirit to do all the mundane with energy and joy, I sat in church one Sunday and thought about the atmosphere of our home changing from disorder and irritation to one of peace and comfort for my family… then I heard the Lord ask, “What about the atmosphere of my home - your heart - for me?” I went to inspect my heart and I felt the Lord affirm that HE was beautifying it and that beautification began with my dedication do you everything as unto the Lord.
Friend, if you are tired and need an awakening, emotionally or spiritually or mentally or physically, it’s time to dedicate yourself to doing everything as unto the Lord. I know I talk about obedience to God all the time, but the decision to say yes to the Lord births so much intimacy, enables us to hear him more clearly, ushers peace and joy into our life by the armful, and gives life to our mortal bodies.
Understand, obedience in and of itself is not the thing that makes us holy and happy - that would be by our works. Obedience moves the heart of God. Jesus said in the gospel of John that if we love him, we will obey him. FOUR TIMES he said this in just one chapter… it is that important. Obedience opens our heart to be made holy by God. 1st Peter tells us to be holy as God is holy… that’s BE holy, not DO holy. God brings transformation to the atmosphere of our hearts when we open ourselves to him through obedience… our declaration of love.
So friend, ask the Lord how you can obey him today and then dedicate yourself to doing everything as unto the Lord. It will bring life to your body and awaken your spirit.
Written by: Lyndsay Terry
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