I wish I had more energy. Don’t you?
I wish I wasn’t such a wimp and that life events didn’t siphon the strength from me. I have moments when I wish I was Superwoman and I could do it all. But all of us face times when the demands of life hit like a large ocean wave and threaten to tow us under.
In my recent Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today devotion, “Safeguarding Your Seasons of Rest,” I said, “We’ve all had seasons where the momentum of life pushes us beyond our energy reserves.” Seasons of exhaustion are inevitable, and they do provide beautiful opportunities of rest that replenish our souls. While I know those seasons of rest are good for me, I still want to be at my best for my Lord. I don’t want to make choices that deplete my energy any more than needed. As I share in my devotion, we can safeguard our rest periods. Can we also do more to prevent getting so tired in the first place?
My life calendar shows I’m up for another season of caregiving after my husband’s next back surgery. While he and I are hopeful for a good long-term result, I’m not looking forward to the sleepless nights and chaotic schedule. I don’t like being so weary I can’t think straight and yes, I don’t care too much about being grouchy either.
Whether it’s caregiving, a new project at work, family coming to visit, a busy month of teenager activities, or new responsibilities at church, each of us encounter times of overwhelming demands. Instead of dreading the ensuing fatigue, what steps can we take to sustain our energy levels?
Here’s some things I’ve learned.
I waste a lot of time and energy thinking about how tired I’m going to get. Instead, I can take active steps now to strengthen myself for the extra demands. I learned this principle in Billy Graham’s autobiography, Just As I Am (great read). In the early days, some of Graham’s crusades would last three weeks, each session easily lasting till midnight. Can you imagine? A different sermon every night? Dealing with thousands of people? How did he do that?
Knowing the schedule would be relentless, Graham would spend several weeks before the Crusade in preparation. He scheduled nothing big. Instead, he spent time with his family. He got plenty of rest, ate well, and took long solitary walks in lovely places.
Those into health and wellness would suggest certain products and formulas of energy boosters. I’ll save that discussion for them. I liked Graham’s balanced approach of replenishing his reserves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s a package deal to stock up on energy in all areas of life so you are well supplied as you enter your time of frenetic activity.
Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing
In past seasons of caregiving, I’ve become frustrated when I tried to juggle caregiving on top of everything else. So why try? I discovered many parts of my schedule didn’t need doing during that season. I let go of some responsibilities and outsourced others.
Yes, I could be at church every Sunday so why not continue teaching? Reason? Others could teach too, and teaching was one more thing to think about. The children’s ministry wouldn’t fall apart if I didn’t teach. I would be more effective and less distracted if I focus on just the caregiving. All my other responsibilities would wait for me. And, humility told me, I wasn’t the only one who could do those responsibilities. Other people were capable and available to share the load.
You may hesitate to ask others to help because they are also juggling a lot and you don’t want to overload them. Yet your friends want to help. It may be an inconvenience for them, but it is also their way of helping you. It gives them something tangible to do and they gather strength in knowing they’ve been a help.
Play to your strengths
What makes you tired? What saps your energy? Likewise, what energizes you?
Life is strange. I’ve had many moments when I’ve thought, “I’m too tired to do the next thing.” I’m too tired to write. I’m too tired to go to choir practice. Yet, when I sit down to write or I haul my weary body out the door to go to choir practice, I come out on the other side reenergized. Why? Because I’ve catered to my gifts, the things God has wired me to love the most.
Life doesn’t allow us to do only what we want to do. We all have responsibilities that drain us, but still need doing. Use your respite time to do those things that reenergize you, even if you spend only a few moments doing the activity.
Do things God’s way
I love the imagery found in Matthew 11:28-30. Jesus asks his weary followers to “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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light..”
God is not a harsh taskmaster. He is gentle and his life burdens are light. They are lighter yet when we share the load with Him and let Him be our partner in the work. Jesus reassures us that He is not like a slave driver, whip in hand, beating us into submission. Rather, He comes beside us to share the weight of life’s burdens with us. Work is always more fun and less tiring when you share it with someone else. Jesus wants to do life with you.
Why involve God in our run through life? Isaiah 40:27-31 describes God’s qualifications to give you the strength you need so beautifully.
Let’s look at Isaiah 40:27-31 together.
Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you ever get so tired or anticipate the fatigue you’ll feel that you become disheartened, hopeless, and abandoned by God? Here is God’s answer:
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
Think of who you are dealing with when you sway toward accusing God of abandonment! God is the everlasting God with unlimited power reserves. He is incapable of running out of strength.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
He wants to share that strength with you, beloved of God.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
All of us grow tired.
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
There’s the answer. If you do nothing else to prepare for your season of intense activity, put your hope in the One who can sustain you. Don’t lag in your confidence. Don’t you dare accuse God of letting down on the job. He’s promised to stay by you and get you through your busy seasons IF you do things His way, rely on His wisdom, and ask Him to walk the journey with you.
He’ll do it. And all who watch you go through your hard time will wonder how you soared like an eagle through that season of life.
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