EXHAUSTION

There is a peace that comes in appropriate exhaustion. Not the exhaustion of trying so hard on my own, giving everything I have to fix everybody I know. That kind of exhaustion contains an element of frustration and anxiety. Inherent in it is the understanding that tomorrow I will simply have to do it all over again. That kind of exhaustion eventually breaks the spirit and wears out the body and forces me to what recovery language calls “my bottom.” From there I am certainly capable of making horrendous decisions to mask the pain and hide the hurt of yet another failure to live up to expectations, real or imagined.
Days melt into days and weeks fly by in a flurry of activity and tasks. There is so much to do and the urgent usually supersedes the really important. At the end of the day I am not satisfied by what has been accomplished but rather frightened at how much farther behind I have fallen. That exhaustion is fitful, frightening, and frustrating. And I know it too well.
But there is a peace that comes from appropriate exhaustion. This exhaustion is centered in the will of the Father. It is a satisfying ache, a gratifying soreness that can be either or both, mental or physical. At the end of the day, or the week, or the journey, it is an exhaustion that whispers to ourselves, “I have fought the good fight. I have kept the faith. I have finished the race….” That exhaustion comes with confident trust in the faithfulness of God to pick up the slack, make up the difference, fill in the gaps. It comes when we are lost in Him.
I have known that exhaustion a few times in my life as well, not enough, but a few. And the difference in that exhaustion versus my own, self created fatigue is astounding. The exhaustion that comes from doing His work, His way is temporary. It is resolved by the Sabbath rest. It is limited. It does not reach out of me to the circumstances around me but stays connected to the task at hand. And it is shared. There is a clear sense of being a “partner in the Gospel” as opposed to the panic of carrying this weight on my own.
So here’s what I think about exhaustion. It is from there that I am able to look back and see what path I am really on. When I am so tired I cannot move then I am finally able to stand still long enough to reflect back over my steps, to check my bearing, and to confirm that I am listening to the heart of God say, “This is the way. Walk in it.” Being exhausted is not such a bad thing when it turns my face toward Him.
Oh, there is much to do today. I am sure at the end of the day I will be, well, you know, exhausted. But I am equally sure that if He is my focus and my guide, if my steps are ordered by Him, and if all that I do I do in His name and for His glory (whether standing on the assembly line or in front of the classroom), then there will be great peace in my exhaustion. And with peace comes rest. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference. Just for today.” Mike

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