August 9, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Susanne Scheppmann, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Mark 6:31 (NIV)
Sometimes I wear my exhaustion as a badge of honor. I feel a tinge of pride, when a friend states, "You look tired." For women in the American culture, exhaustion is a valued quality. Even in the Christian community, we wrongly perceive our tiredness as a "mark of spirituality."
I have never been a high-energy gal. My energy and stamina ebb on the low side. It seems when God created me, he wired me tired. Scriptures tells me, For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. (Psalm 139:13 NIV) God created each of us with our own energy levels. Mine happens to be low wattage.
However, sometimes envy floats to the surface as I compare myself to women who bounce around full of exuberant energy completing every task set before them. Their endless supply of enthusiasm saps my vitality. I covet their high-energy personalities.
Recently the Lord has revealed a new truth to me. He showed me even my high-energy friends, work to the point of exhaustion. For most of us, regardless of our inherent energy levels, we push beyond healthy boundaries. We immerse ourselves in a flurry of endless activities. The list can include: soccer, dance, bunko, ministry, lunches, coffees, etc. Unfortunately, by example we teach our children the same draining lifestyle.
"Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Christ called his disciples to come away and rest with him. The remarkable part of this passage is the disciples were busy doing wonderful things for God. Yet, he called them away from good activities to a better activity for a time; rest.
One of my favorite passages of Scriptures tells of Jesus taking a nap. "Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion (Mark 4:38 NIV)." Can you imagine the Holy head of our Creator, snoozing on boat pillow? I believe that if Christ needed a nap, it indicates that we might need a nap, too.
Napping as Jesus did, enables me to be more like him in other areas of my life, too. I find when I am well rested I am able to be more loving and patient with others. I like to think of my naps as a "spiritual discipline." They rank right up there with Bible Study and prayer.
How about you? Were you wired tired? Or perhaps you are high-energy, but overcommitted? Do you hear Christ calling to you to come away to rest?
My prayer for today:
Jesus, help me to accept that tiredness is not a badge of honor. Help me not to be compelled to perform at our culture's standard of activity. Nudge me to rest, to nap, to restore myself from busyness. Call me away to rest with you.
Review your "to do" lists. Ask God to show you his priorities for your life and then adjust your "to do" list accordingly. Allocate a specific time to rest from activity each day. Allow yourself the luxury of an afternoon nap.
How often do my friends comment on how tired I look?
Do I take pride in my exhaustion?
Does my tiredness please God?
Does my tiredness keep me from spending time with God?"
Do I feel guilty when I rest or nap?
"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10, (NIV)
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5, (NIV)
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28, (NIV)
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31, (NIV)
Coming Out of the Dark, by Mary Southerland
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa Terkeurst