Tired. Tired. Tired. That is the description of my personal state of being lately.
“Hey, Kevin, how are you doing?” “Tired,” I say.
My most repeated phrase over the last few weeks has simply been “I am so tired.” I can’t even get sympathy anymore. My wife just says “I know.” That is marital code for “Enough already. Be tired quietly.”
You probably get tired too. We all go through busy times and seasons. I’ve learned something very important about these stretches of life.
Periods of tiredness are spiritually dangerous and you must be prepared.
When life begins to wear us out, our defenses begin to drop and we are much more susceptible to sin of all kinds. The bottom line is that we don’t make good decisions when we are tired. I wrote more about that here. We get tired physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The dangers are serious. I see people struggle with three things above all others out of tiredness.
1. Depression or discouragement.
Being worn out drives us to an unrealistic perspective on our lives. We don’t see things clearly. Everything seems worse than it really is and it can become debilitating because we just don’t feel like we have the personal resources to rise up and tackle the issues. Hope can be hard to find.
Do you remember Elijah in 1 Kings 19? Elijah was worn out from an intense conflict at Mt. Carmel with the prophets of Baal. He gave into fear. He ran. He even prayed that God would take his life. He was depressed. God’s remedy for the tired prophet was simply some food and rest. It’s easy to have a hazy outlook when you are tired and we have to guard against depression.
2. Selfish indulgence.
When we are tired and drained, it becomes an easy opening for Satan to tempt with indulgence. He whispers “You are tired. You have been working hard. You are giving a lot. You deserve something for yourself.” If we give agreement, we can quickly find ourselves pursuing unhealthy pleasure as a remedy for our tired state.
For some that means throwing down a package of cookies.
For some that means indulging in some internet lust.
For some that means drinking too much or lighting a joint.
For some that means a trip to the store to buy something as a personal reward.
Whatever indulgence might cry out to you is really a false pursuit of gratification in the face of fatigue. We have to find a better way.
Our fuses tend to get a lot shorter when we are tired. It’s much easier to snap at someone with a sarcastic comment designed to hurt. It’s much easier to throw off our filter of common decency and say whatever we feel like saying at that moment. The situations that give rise to fatigue are often the same situations that give rise to stress. Stress just exacerbates our tiredness and often leads to saying and doing things out of anger that we later regret.
So, what do we do?
I’d suggest a couple things.
First, Prioritize Rest.
We need rest. We need times of restoration. God mandated a day of rest…sabbath in the Old Testament law. We may not be under the law any longer, but we still need rest. The sabbath screams to us that this isn’t just an option but a necessity. Making time for rest isn’t weakness, it is a step toward strength. Take some time off. Get a nap. Go to bed early. Pursue some godly endeavors that restore and fill you. Whatever you need. You can’t live your best, tired.
Second, Be ready for the spiritual dangers.
Sometimes we live unaware and that makes us very vulnerable. Being aware of your personal dangers that rise to the surface when you are tired is a tremendous help. Think about it.
What do you tend toward when tired?
When you are heading into a busy time, pray about those things. Make a plan for combating them. Be on the look out for those traps and come against them with the truth. Heck, even ask God for help…for strength…for energy. The scripture is filled with declarations about God being our strength and empowering us.
Maybe those are real. Maybe those scriptures shouldn’t just be on a magnet on our refrigerator. Maybe the should be in our heart. Maybe we should believe them. Here is is a good one:
Isaiah 40:29 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
We can’t always do a lot about busy schedules and demands for our energy. When we can, we should. Simpler is better, but while we work on that let’s get the rest that we need and make ourselves ready for the dangers that come with being tired.
What else helps when you are worn out and tired? Let me know in the comments!