Limp with exhaustion, I leaned into my husband's arms and buried my face against his shoulder. "I don't want to wait ?til heaven to not be tired." This was a pattern for me as I zealously strove to minister across the continent to women.
As women in ministry, the demand will always exceed the supply. There will always be far more ministry than we can accomplish personally. But even more importantly, we model the faith life, the trust life, for other women. When I read Jeremiah 50:6, addressed to the Israelites in captivity in Babylon, my heart sank to realize my own responsibility.
"My people have been lost sheep;
Their shepherds have led them astray
And caused them to roam on the mountains.
They wandered over mountain and hill
And forgot their resting place."
Who leads them astray, away from their Resting Place? Their shepherds.
In our crazy, Babylon-busy lifestyles, we unwittingly buy into the slavery of too much work and too little rest - with a result far broader than exhaustion or burnout. We can blame it on the culture, but in reality, we also teach other women to live beyond their physical means, their God-given limits.
It makes me wonder what I believe about God. Is he really my Shepherd? Can he restore my soul? Lead me beside still waters? And what about those words from Jesus: "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden?"? Was Jesus serious, and if so, why are we so weary, so heavy-laden?
What will it take to live a lifestyle of rest, despite the craziness? First, fill in the blank: "I'm SO TIRED of ______________." (laundry, e-mails, my kids, messes, work?) Keep filling it in, with the first words that come to mind. Make a list and keep it before you as you consider the following elements that comprise a Resting Place life. You may find, as I did, that you are hard of hearing.
1. Listen to your body. We tend to ignore our fatigue and short-change our sleep, living without boundaries. I gave up caffeine because I wasn't living an honest life - I had no idea what I was capable of doing without coffee, nor what God was able to do without my souped-up efforts. Gauge your fatigue level. Right now, I'm concerned about my daily tiredness and am trying to build in more sleep, better food habits, and kindness.
2. Listen to your heart. Why do you say yes when you should say no? Do you want to be loved, respected, needed, validated? Where do you feel anger, dread, fear, worry? Tune in to the telegrams your emotions send. They're God's messengers.