“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29 (NIV)
Monday morning found me in my swivel rocker, doing nothing. After a nonstop weekend, I was tired. An afternoon nap didn’t help. What are you supposed to do when you’re so tired you don’t feel like doing anything?
We’ve all had seasons where the momentum of life pushes us beyond our energy reserves. We want the world to go away so we can take life at our own pace.
But at times like these, my memories of a swimming pool accident remind me how apathy can turn destructive. Weary of ever-pressing responsibilities, I once left my toddler, assuming others were watching her, in a kiddie pool at a church swim party so I could dive into the big pool, but she followed me and sank to the bottom. A fast-thinking church member scooped her out before she or I realized what had happened.
King David wasn’t so fortunate. Some of his best-known sins are his affair with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband, Uriah. The next war season after he had led the Israelites to kill over 40,000 Arameans, (2 Samuel 10:18) David chose to stay home, passing his rightful job of leading the troops to his army commander, Joab. (2 Samuel 11:1)
While the Bible isn’t clear on why David stayed home in Jerusalem, there are many possible reasons, one being fatigue. The Bible tells us one evening David rose from his bed and, like me at the swimming pool, abandoned royal duties to seek solitude on his palace rooftop. (2 Samuel 11:2) He saw Bathsheba and fell hard.
Fatigue is not a sin. Naps are not a poor choice. We misstep when we shift focus from the Lord onto ourselves. When we’re tired, we’re more apt to make poor decisions, cave to selfish cravings or indulge in down-spiraling self-talk. We can excuse our behavior because, after all, we’re tired, but the poor choices can lead to lifelong consequences.
How can you rest well without succumbing to sinful choices? Invite God to share your space so He can teach you how to find rest for your soul.
Admit your weakness. The poet of Psalm 143 spoke plainly: “… my spirit grows faint within me …” (v. 4, NIV). It’s all right to cry out, “Lord, I’m exhausted.”
Seek God’s counsel. The psalmist went on to request, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:10, NIV). Since your perceptions might be questionable, rely on God’s better judgment. Ask Him to speak truth and wisdom into your weary brain.
Be on your guard. Don’t let Satan outwit you. (2 Corinthians 2:11) Ask God to help you think clearly enough to see Satan’s deceptions.
Slow down, but don’t stop. Sleep might be what you need most, but filling your waking moments with light activity will protect you from destructive thought patterns and tempting, unwholesome choices. (Proverbs 16:3)
Exhaustion doesn’t have to lead to foolish choices. When you lean on God, you will find the replenishing rest you need most.
Lord, You are my strength and my wisdom. Keep me safe while I find my rest and renewal in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Friend, you are not alone in wanting something to change. Join our next Online Bible Study, I'll Start Again Monday by Lysa TerKeurst, and conquer your frustration from failed quick fixes by pursuing healthy choices and habits that make you feel empowered, not deprived … Thirty days of living fully in today rather than always looking to start over on Mondays: Click here to sign up, and let’s make imperfect progress together starting on April 1.
Karen Wingate’s book, With Fresh Eyes, invites readers to reawaken the wonder of what they observe in creation — great and small — and how God is working in everyday moments. In each of her sixty meditations, Karen’s humor and whimsy draw a connection between physical sight and spiritual understanding that will leave readers with a renewed joy and delight in what is good and beautiful, and will reassure them that God still works in the lives of his people. Get your copy today!
Connect with Karen Wingate at her website or on Facebook or Instagram.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 62:1, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.” (NIV)
What does the phrase “my soul finds rest in God” look like in your life?
Let’s learn from each other. In the comments below, share ways you lean on God to find rest and restoration when you are tired or exhausted.
© 2022 by Karen Wingate. All rights reserved.
What We Believe
If your life feels too overwhelming, click here for our care and counseling resources.