During my nearly forty years on this planet, I’ve traveled through several seasons of life where only one word can be used to describe my state of being: worn.
The last time I felt that way passed by just a few months ago. Nothing catastrophic was bombarding my world. I wasn’t sick or clinically depressed. I was simply exhausted by an army of everyday burdens that seemed to have banded together with the mission of taking me down:
My husband and I were on a serious hunt to purchase our first home … and we live in one of the few “seller’s markets” left in the country.
As exciting as it was, a new house meant we would soon be moving again –bringing our stats up to 13 different addresses in 10 different cities, in 7 different states all in a span of 14 years.
Our six-year-old son was being bullied in school and our nine-year-old daughter cried herself to sleep every night because she dreaded the idea of moving away from the friends she had just made.
A dear loved one was battling a tremulous situation that threatened her safety.
I took on a few more responsibilities at work and was anxious to prove myself.
I was worn.
One soggy Saturday morning in May during this period of weariness, I heard my husband calling me from downstairs. I ignored him. Instead of sliding my legs across the bed so I could stand up, I pressed the right side of my face deeper into my lumpy cotton pillow. As I started to shutter the sun’s rays with my blanket, I noticed the pair of black pumps I had kicked off the night before. The shoes appeared to be in decent shape when on my feet, but from my vantage point that morning, I could see that the heels on each one were falling apart. There was even a small pebble imbedded in one of the soles.
“Hmph. That’s how I feel,” I thought as I closed my eyes and pretended that I didn’t hear my husband’s calls.
I’ve experienced other mental and spiritual wear and tear moments that were more traumatic than the day described above. Moments when breathing required more strength than I thought my lungs could accommodate.
There have been times when the consequences trailing my own grievous mistakes smacked me breathless. Days when rejection shredded my confidence and the hurtful choices of others knocked me to the floor.
There was once even a time when I had forgotten the existence of hope because grace, mercy and redemption were hidden far underneath a trash heap of lies I had no business believing.
Have you been there? I’m guessing you have been.
When a culture brimming with deadlines, conflicting priorities, information overload, and technical connectivity is thrown smack-dab into a broken, hurt-filled world, populations of worn people become as much a fact of life as sunshine and rain.
Living is tough business because life gets messy … even with Jesus. Sometimes, Christians don’t like to admit that … as if we’ll appear less worthy if we show actual proof that we need a savior. But looking straight at our weaknesses and admitting that sometimes even the “small stuff” isn’t so small is often the first step to rejuvenation.
When I’m worn … or even showing symptoms that I am heading in that direction, I know that there are two things I need to do: 1) Pray for strength; 2) Search for truth.
The prayer doesn’t need to be eloquent and verbose and the search for truth doesn’t require a concordance or Greek translator; because when your spirit is threadbare, baby steps in the right direction go a long way.
Here are five scriptures that I read and reread when my spirit needs refreshing.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 11: 1-3
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 119: 25-27
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law.
Each of those verses are precious to me in times of weariness because they are easy to digest during chaotic moments, yet are packed with the essential nutrients my soul needs to recover. They are filled with hope, encouragement and direction. And while reading these and other scriptures don’t change the circumstances that wear me thin, they do strengthen my resolve.