I am tired. It's a real truth. I have felt exhausted for several months. Finally my doctor gave it a name—adrenal fatigue—and added a level to it I didn't like. It seemed to loom like a giant in my life, waiting to pounce on me. She gave me great supplements and advice, but the diagnosis just made me feel even more overwhelmed than I was.
For the last few weeks, I've let that diagnosis define me and those feelings follow me around. I was allowing it to seep into every pore of me and let it be me. Until today. Today, I decided, as a child of the King, I will not allow this to beat me. After all, I have the Healer on my side. I am an overcomer because the Overcomer lives in me.
I began to feel a little like the teenage boy David who, upon delivering lunch to his older brothers fighting in the Israeli army, discovered that a giant named Goliath had the entire army of strong men scared spitless. Only one man had to defeat him. Yet no one, not even the burly King Saul, would take on the giant's challenge.
David had just enough brash faith to say, "The Lord who delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine" (1 Sam. 17:37). We know the story. David is allowed to fight the giant and, in doing so, had the entire fate of the nation in his hands. He won, which was no surprise to him. He knew God was the one fighting the battle. God just happened to be using David's body.
David brazenly told Goliath, who stood over 11 feet tall, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a shield, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have reviled. This day will the Lord deliver you into my hand. ... All the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (1 Sam. 17:45-46).
A Giant of an Opportunity
The rest is history. It was the day a mere boy saved an entire nation because He trusted in the Lord His God. He didn't see a giant. He saw an opportunity for God to get glory and praise out of an impossible situation.
I didn't see my issue as being a giant of an opportunity several weeks ago when I first learned about it. Now I see that being tired is a good thing. It tells my body when I need to rest. It tells me I need to take life at a more normal, human pace. It tells me I need to take time to just abide in the presence of God.
At age 60, I stepped into my destiny, what I was designed from the beginning of time to do. Age 60 is when I wrote and published by first real book. I have three under my belt now, along with two study guides. A fourth will be released soon. I travel, speak and coach. I love every minute I spend doing all of those things. I don't want to waste a minute of my life. I want to be productive and do everything that God has planned for me.
Rest Is a Weapon
Truth is I forgot one thing. It seems so insignificant and yet, God Himself established it among some of first acts of creation. On the seventh day, He rested (Gen. 2:6). God—the supreme being, the Creator of the universe, the One who transcends all things, knows all things and has all power—rested! If He rested then, why in the world do I think I don't have to?
I do have to admit, the thought of 24 hours without doing anything both scares and refreshes me. I'm so wired to work that not working is going to be a difficult habit to get into, even for a few hours. I am one who has to work at getting rest.
God is showing me, though, that rest is a secret weapon He gave us to help us defeat the enemy. When we are exhausted, we are no good to God or anyone else. We must recharge our batteries. It's one of the main reasons Satan has us running here and there doing, doing, doing. If He can't tempt us with addictive substances, He will tempt us with overdoing good deeds and exhausting ourselves so when the real battle we were meant to fight comes along, we will be too tired.
What God Wants
God wants me to prosper and be in good health even as my soul prospers (3 John 2). But my soul is not successful when it is exhausted and stretched to the max with little time for rest and restoration.
These days, I'm carefully monitoring my schedule, the projects I take on and even the books I write. No longer am I assuming that every great idea I get is one that has to be done right now. At any given moment, I probably have 30 books in my head that I would love to write tomorrow. I know God gave me a gift of writing, but I also know I cannot write 30 books by tomorrow or even next month, year or 10 years if I'm doing it in my own strength.
I lay each project at His feet and wait for His direction. If there is no direction then I leave that project there until He hands it to me with directions.
I do know that when inspired, totally allowing God to write through me, I can write a book in a month or less. However, I can't do that if I am exhausted and working in my own strength. I need to have spent time with God. I need to be refreshed, rested, unencumbered. I need His words to flow through me in creative ways. It need it to be His project that I am just stewarding.
In my life, I have so many more good rhythms—physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually—than I did even five years ago. Still, I'm learning with new and larger vistas and opportunities come even greater challenges requiring even better rhythms to help ride out the waves that I see on the horizon.
The biggest challenge is to keep from trying to defeat the giants in my life by my own self-effort. No giant I have can be defeated without relying on the power of God.
When I'm weary of life moving way too fast, I am focused on me instead of God. I try things in my own strength, stretch my days into weeks and months of projects. And before long, a year has passed without any real time for recharging, restoring and renewing myself.
It's then that the giants of fatigue and labels with diagnoses strapped on come knocking at my door, threatening to overwhelm me with even greater dismay. And the thought of despair hits me: If everyone is saying I should give up, maybe I should.
Rest, though, is not giving up. Rest is embracing my humanity and making room in my life to allow God to enlarge everything about me. This time is a good time to renew my commitment to spend concentrated time alone with Him, to establish better rhythms of time to just be with my Creator in silence and solitude. No agendas. No pretenses. No push and pull of deadlines. With God, time stands still because He holds it in His hands.
It's time to understand once again that even the things that look like giants in my life all have to obey God, the very same God who lives in me.
He calls to me, "Make haste, my beloved" (Song 8:14). And so I run to Him.
Now what problem were we talking about? What did the doctor say? What deadline is looming on the calendar? It all fades away in His presence. Focusing on Him is what is important. Everything else will fall into place when the main thing is the main thing in my life and yours.
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).
I hear His call and I will walk in tune to His rhythms of grace.
What does that look like for you?
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction and Sweet Freedom. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at teresashieldsparker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page or Twitter.
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