There’s a trend going around lately, and I don’t like it. Its a trend of severe, pandemic exhaustion.
Talking with co-workers, friends and family, I hear the same familiar laments. We are all tired.
For much of the year, Josh and I felt this way. This year beat us up pretty bad, but we stayed in the mess. Until the past few weeks.
The tiredness we all feel right now is the worn out feeling of laboring without results. It is a hard and difficult work without reward or breakthrough.
It feels like we are getting up every day for more of the same. There is little to look forward to since our labors produced little yesterday. There is a sense of wandering, a lostness or purposelessness. We don’t know why we are here or if what we do each day is worth it.
Can you relate to that feeling?
As I thought of my own story and heard that of others, I wondered where the rest went. Why can we not rest?
At a prayer meeting a couple weeks ago, I think I learned the answer.
I want to suggest that the feeling of tiredness and exhaustion we are experiencing is a lack of gratitude and awareness of God, resulting in a lack of breakthrough.
We forgot what God has done for us in the past, and we have become our own saviors. We rely on ourselves for the results because forgetting God’s work in our lives causes us to also forget his trustworthiness. We become orphan-minded, with a Me Against The World mentality.
How do we recover rest and trust and meaning and all the good stuff?
Psalm 37:3 tells us to “dwell in the land and feed on God’s faithfulness”.
Feeding on the faithfulness of God is to allow ourselves be nurtured and nourished by his faithfulness, by the things that he’s done in the past and present. It is meditating on God’s big and little interventions in our lives. It is consciously and gratefully taking in, eating, enjoying the fruit of God’s provision.
This act stirs up gratitude and thankfulness in my heart, which actually results in a calming response in my mind. “If I could trust God then and see him intervene on my behalf, I can trust him to do the same now.”
This sense of well-being and trust puts us in a position to do what verse 4 says: “Delight yourself in The Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” From a place of resting and delight, we are positioned to receive the breakthrough we desire and the longings of our heart, which before we were laboring for with no results.
So here is where we get the breakthrough: we dwell in the land, we feed and nurture ourselves on the faithfulness of God we meditate on the things that he’s done, and we are put in a position to be delighted by God and get results.
When God and his kingdom and his rest become our focus, Jesus made a promise to us: he said that “when we seek first the kingdom, all these things will be added to you. All these things are our most basic necessities and our wildest desires.
Isn’t this awesome? This is changing everything for me.
It’s Thanksgiving month here in the US. We eat and give thanks, but then it’s over.
What if gratitude wasn’t a holiday but a regular life rhythm?
Let’s practice conscious thankfulness and delight from now on. Here’s how I am going to be doing it:
1. Making regular lists of how I saw God work in my life each week.
2. Decreasing my intake of media that is whiny and self-centered. Instead, I am listening to sermon podcasts while I drive or keeping the 24/7 IHOP Prayer Room webstream going.
3. Telling other people about what God does for me, rather than complaining about what is wrong as much.
How will you maintain a heart of rest through gratitude? Share your practices below.
[photo credit: ericstarkey.com]