When I was in medical school and residency training there were times I worked or studied 36 hours or more at a stretch with no more than a 30 minute nap. Sure, I got tired. But I was able to do it, and I felt it was worth it.
Now that I’m significantly older there’s no way I could make it through a shift like that and remain functional. Now I’m more aware than ever of how fatigue affects my efficiency, attitude, and decision-making ability, not to mention what it’s like to be around me.
Some people don’t put much personal effort into anything: the Bible calls them sluggards. But some people, like me, tend toward the other direction. Although working hard can be a strength, overwork can quickly become very destructive personally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually. It’s us hard-working kind of people that we look into the Bible for today.
If you want to feel well, be more effective, and hear God’s voice the best, you need regular times of physical, emotional, and spiritual rest.
God knew we would get tired. Jesus experienced fatigue when He was here. And the Bible gives some clear messages to those who are tired.
- God knows your limits, and how tired you are. Jesus experienced the pressures and limitations of living as a human being in this world. And He knows your individual limitations even better than you do. He does not ask or expect more from you than you can do. “For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14)
- Overwork is unwise and ungodly. Certain of us human beings naturally push against our limitations more than others. But there is a point at which continued work becomes wrong. “It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2)
- Jesus offers rest to those who are weary. Whether weary from overwork, from worry, from problems, from external pressures, from people, or from anxiety, guilt, or fear, Jesus offers rest. You don’t have to WORK for His love, or salvation. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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.” (Matt. 11:28-30)
- God offers you supernatural strength. We become tired – exhausted – when we try to do things on our own. Even trying to do things God specifically asks us to do. But the whole equation changes when we choose to trust Him. “But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31)
Though it’s not always easy, I’ve learned not to feel guilty when my body or mind needs rest. I’ve seen how God’s blessing on a comparatively small amount of my effort can accomplish so much more than endless work on my part when I try to do it on my own.
Embracing your limitations is OK. And I pray you experience God’s peace and rest in your body, mind, and soul today.
[reminder]Where do you need to accept the rest Jesus offers you today?[/reminder]
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