I am sure we are all familiar with this cry – I’m tired. Sometimes it is said with a whine, sometimes it is just a statement. Sometimes it is our kids who say it, sometimes it is us.
There is a good tired, and there is a tiredness that we need to look into deeper, find its cause and find some answers. The good tired is the result of hard, physical effort. This is the weariness of a good day’s work. Work is good. But the other tired isn’t related to one event and one good night’s sleep won’t fix it. This type of tired is ever present, it seems to perpetuate the feelings of being tired, never ending and it affects all areas of our life.
- We struggle with character issues like patience and self-control
- We lack energy, focus and motivation
- We find it hard to make decisions and stick to them
- We are snarky and our moods change, affecting our relationships
This type of tiredness is a consequence and we need to get to the root cause and make changes so we can get through our day – actually we want to do more than get through our day – we want to be alive, enjoy and thrive in all that God has given me.
One book that has had an impact on my thinking (and I’m working on it, letting it impact on my life as well) is Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson. He says “Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. It’s something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations.” We don’t have this any more. Our lives are crammed full – we have commitments, activities, plans and information. Every part of our life is full to the brim. We have so much of this ‘good life’ that we are making ourselves sick. Richard Swenson as a doctor was constantly seeing people in his clinic that were tired – real tired, lived to the max and he couldn’t just give them a pill to fix it – they needed to make changes.
This is the point that we are often at. We need to make changes. Sometimes I think we hear the words “priorities” so often that we tune out but bottom line is if you want to live an effective life you need to know your priorities.
This knowing isn’t like the Greeks – they sought after the knowing of the mind, knowledge. We all know our priorities in our head – we can rattle them off: God, Family, Others (a simple list, but you get the idea – we know our priorities.) The Hebrews on the other hand have a different way of understanding knowing. They know with their body, spirit, and mind – it is a whole thing. This takes knowing our priorities beyond just information, beyond just the facts – it takes it into the realm of doing something about it – living it out. It also puts into the realm of worshipping God.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord, not for men,
Col 3:23 (NIV)
Bone Weary Tired
Does the way we work out our priorities please God?
The feeling of tiredness feels like the bones are sore, they ache. So I checked out some Proverbs where bones were mentioned and started to think about this verse:
A sound heart is the life of the flesh:
but envy the rottenness of the bones.
Prov 14: 30 (KJV)
I thought about that word envy – how does that apply to me, how does it apply to my tiredness. Envy is when we want what we don’t have. I think this is at the core of our tiredness. We want more time, so we push the clock. We want more money so we take on an extra job. We want more recognition so we take on another project. We want more…. (fill in the blank) it is all envy – wanting what we don’t have!
God has given us all 24 hours, he gave us night and day. He gave us responsibilities; He gave us the ability to have joy. There has to be His way of matching this all up.
I believe God has a good plan for our days but does it include this level of tiredness that makes us unable to do the things he calls us to do? I think not. I think when we arrive to this place we have something out of kilter, we have to make changes.
1–Check my relationship with God – am I making Him a priority, am I giving of myself to Him, giving of my time? This is how you build relationship.
2–Am I looking after my body – it is the temple of God, the place where He resides and does His work! Am I eating right, exercising and making sure I get enough sleep. Maybe you need to see a doctor, maybe you need to make time for rest and recreation.
3–Plan my days – with God’s goals in mind. My plans need to be in keeping with God’s priorities for my life (which will reflect the season of life I am currently in). This may mean (and I am sure it does) I let go of some unrealistic, self-driven ideas.
If we are bone weary we have to make some changes. I personally make changes with little steps, though there are people who jump in and make big changes or nothing at all. And though I like to respect people’s differences sometimes, jumping in and making big changes is just too hard and so no changes are made. If this is you – then be honest with yourself and set to making a small change – even though it doesn’t feel worth it.
Heart Check for Tiredness
Tiredness is a consequence – we can’t pretend to not be tired, not for very long anyway – we have to get to the root cause of our tiredness.
The above three checkpoints are a good place to start but maybe we need to dig deeper. Psalm 23 is often seen as a restful Psalm, it encourages us to trust in our Shepherd.
As we read through this Psalm we get the feeling that David is there – he is trusting God and he is enjoying the benefits – he doesn’t want for anything, his soul is restored, he is hearing God’s guidance, he isn’t living in fear, his heart is comforted and he is living in God’s blessing. And he is saying – hey guys this is a good place to be. But I wonder what he wrote, in his private journal (the parts that weren’t made into ‘official’ psalms) as his journey to this place. I’d like to take a guess that he had to learn the hard lesson of trusting God in order to see God’s provision open up before him. He had to learn that the Lord was his shepherd and all that was meant by that.
When we learn that lesson – when we learn to trust in God and His provision – his provision for our own well-being and for the well-being of our children, and all that we do – then we can say this Psalm with a power from knowing that it is so – rather than a hope that one day.
The Lord is my shepherd – I shall not want. What a statement of trust, hope, belief, and rest.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23 (NIV)
Click the image to take you to the blog post.
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