Do you ever have days where you wish you had a sign around your neck, or perhaps a label on your t-shirt that said,
“Please be Tender with me, I’m so Tired”
I have had my share of those moments. Many of them as of late. Tired has several definitions, but all of them seem to fit this statement at one point or another. We can be tired because we need sleep or rest. We can be tired of doing, seeing or hearing the same thing over and over and over and over again. We can be tired because we feel used up or perhaps just used.
If this were my sign, it would come with a big red warning below the text that would read some like this:
WARNING: PERSON WEARING THIS SIGN MAY BE EXHAUSTED & EMOTIONAL
IF YOU HANDLE, DO SO WITH DELICATE CARE
It also seems like this kind of sign should come with warnings, like the side effect listings that drug advertisements have in magazines. Pages of small print side effects that tiredness, exhaustion and weariness can bring. Here is a sampling of possible side effects.
- This individual may over react or over dramatize any current request that you are going to make of them. Even seemingly positive suggestions as going out to eat for fellowship can be interpreted as stress filled requests.
- Tears and weeping may occur at any time, for prolonged periods.
- Any attempts of rebuking and correction may not be well received and may cause a flare up of frustration
- Playful jokes can be taken to be personal insults.
- Physical side effects include tired looking eyes, drooping shoulders, long loud sighs, increased frowning and slower movement from one place to another
- Hearing can be come selective and verbal responses may be overtly critical
As I write this, I sit back and chuckle to myself. On one hand I find this list somewhat comical, and other the other hand I have experienced these side effects too many times myself. I know the bitterness that they bring to life. Like the idea of most side effects, I cringe at the thought of suffering them.
When I am tired, I just want someone to listen and someone to help me find protected time for rest. Yet, it seems at my most tired times, I am the worst at communicating that. Or I feel the insane need to keep going because I have many responsibilities and little time in which to complete them.
I have experienced times where I have been so weary that I have felt personally attacked and bullied by beloved friends who were trying to help me in some way. When a person is exhausted, it is no time to encourage them to get out of their comfort zone. It can feel more like you are being shoved to the front lines of a battle and left openly exposed to total destruction. The intent was good, even great, but the timing of execution can be detrimental to success.
But, I have a personal confession to make, I have been on both sides of this. I have been the weary, exhausted one attempting to just survive the moments of the day. I have also been the one who has been so rough and not so tender with those around me who are tired. For that, I am so, so, so very sorry.
Tiredness, weariness and exhaustion do not bring out the best in my personality. In fact, it more so seems to put my selfish, sinful nature in the spotlight. That is really the last thing that I want to be showcased in my life. I want gentleness, peacefulness, faith, joy and encouragement to shine like a beacon in my life.
I think when I am really exhausted, I become some kind of crazy person who focuses on perseverance and pushing on, when I should be more focused on finding a blanket and a cozy spot to curl up for a nap. The world can tell us that a nap is unproductive. It is laziness and will lead to ruin. I admit a nap can be laziness but it can also be a restful remedy. Like many things, sleep itself is not bad, it is how we use it that can be.
It is at these tired times that I can become so self focused and so self centered that I forget to look to the Lord and what He has for me. So what does the Bible say about rest? Well, God rested from the work He had done on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2-3). In Exodus 20:8-11 we are to “remember the sabbath” and do not do any work on that day.
I look at these requests and think this is just another way that I am falling short and am failing. Why can I not keep that which God wants me to keep? I know these things but struggle to really live them out. This can actually cause me to feel ashamed, to shy away from God and avoid Him.
It is at these times that I really need to turn toward God the most. I may feel like He is literally going to throw the book at me, but that is when He says to me, “6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV).
It says in Psalm 62:5-8 (NIV), “5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. 6 Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.”
My soul finds rest. My hope comes from Him. He is my salvation & fortress. I will not be shaken. My refuge. Trust Him at all times. Pour out my heart to Him.
It can be such a challenge for me to really trust God when I feel like I have fallen short, especially when I feel like I have fallen short in His eyes. Do I trust that God still loves me? Do I trust that God will still have me in His presence? Am I willing to humble myself to find rest? Is it pride that keeps me pushing on, and pursuing worldly works instead of seeking God and His rest? Do I trust that God cares more for my responsibilities and seeing them completed than I do? Is it for His glory or my glory that I am wearing myself ragged?
These are eye opening and hard questions to ask of myself. I would like to say that I have the words to answer these. But, it is not my words, as much as my actions, that concern me. I may say that I trust God with this work, but then why do I push harder, longer, further without release until I am weeping in exhaustion? Is that how God really wants to accomplish these tasks? What is it doing to the relationships I have along the way?
Many questions which can not be fully resolved in a few hundred words, but must be worked out through the day to day living relationship with a Loving God. That is where I am. I am a work in progress. I am a masterpiece in the making.
My dear reader, my heart so sweetly goes out to you, especially if you wrestle with some of these things as well. If you are tired, I hope that you find my words come with such a tender touch. I want our time spent together to be soothing to your soul and comforting to your mind. I hope that you have smiles from the thoughts of someone else being crazy and perhaps relief in knowing that you are not alone.
You have no idea how richly blessed I am to be connected to you in this way. For when you read, you bring new life to words that I have written. It then connects our lives in an amazing, yet so often unrecognized way. I want to call attention to it today that I may say THANK YOU! Thank you so much for reading. Thank you for helping me to continue on. Thank you for being so tender with me when I am tired. You are such a delight to me. I smile just to think of you giving me the gift of your time to read my words.
You are an awesome person. You are a masterpiece in the making. You are a beautiful treasure whose value becomes even more priceless with each passing day. May you find rest today, sweet, refreshing rest.
Thank You so much, God, for all of these amazing readers. Lord, thank You for the ways You connect us in life. I offer up such a very tender prayer today for each and every one of them. Lord, You specifically know what is going on in their lives. You know what brings them weariness. You see the struggles. the hurts, the frustration and You catch all of the tears in the weakest of moments.
Lord, please bless each of our lives with an encouragement that reaches the depths of our spirits, but is also healing for our physical beings. Help us to turn to You and find rest, even if we have to come with our heads hung low and eyes cast down. Lord, when we feel we have done wrong or feel that we have not done right, it can be hard to come to You. Please help us to overcome our insecurities and to trust that You are a gracious and merciful God. No matter where we are at, or have been, that You still want us, You love us, and You long for us to turn to You.
In being in Your presence, may we be blessed with strength, may we be renewed, and may we know that we never have to leave Your presence. Bless us with understanding, knowledge and wisdom. May we have clearer eyes and hearts to recognize those who are tired, weary and exhausted around us. Help us to be tender with them, the way that You are tender with us, so that they may know You and have a lavish relationship with You as well.
In the strong and tender name of Jesus, amen.
Oh Julie. How so very true this is. I was having a day today where the warning shirt would be helpful. While I am reading this I had just finished my “mom needs a time out bath” and now I can giggle at your truthful writing.