Encouragement for Today 14 March 2022
Safeguarding Your Seasons of 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.” 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.