My daughter Grace and I are heading home from San Diego today. We very much appreciated and enjoyed our time at Shadow Mountain Community Church, but equally wonderful was the opportunity to rest. She’s the mother of four young children, a homemaker, and a photographer. She was getting worn down and needed a break. I’ve had three international trips in one month, plus church work, writing deadlines, and the job of being a caregiver. I learned several years ago not to get into a state of prolonged fatigue, but I was tired; and with tiredness comes lost energy and a sense of melancholy and gloom. We don’t handle our emotions as well when tired. Prolonged fatigue leads to frustration and depression. It harms us in body, mind, and soul. It erodes our family life and church life. It turns pleasures into tasks, and tasks into burdens. It leads to mistakes and missteps. Three days in the California sunshine with time for walking, thinking, praying, reading, and sleeping — and one speaking engagement — have been better than a visit to the doctor or psychologist.
As a pastor, I’m to warn my people against the enemies of our souls, and one of the worst is fatigue. I try to avoid it, and and I want appeal to you to do the same. Take some breaks. Release some work. Get some rest. Figure out a way to get an extra half-hour sleep at night. Take a nap. Go for a leisurely walk but not in the heat of the day. Get away for a day or two, if possible–and not to a theme park where you’ll be run ragged. Go somewhere to rest and sleep and read and pray and relax in the sun or shade. Get some gentle exercise. Realize that low spirits are often related to weariness. Remember that Jesus knew how to nap in the storm. He took His disciples to a deserted place so they could rest awhile. The Bible says that God gives His beloved ones sleep. Jacob learned more while resting with his head on a rock than most people learn in a seminary classroom.
Most of us feel tired at the end of the day, and some seasons of life are more exhausting than others. We grow weary in the work of the Kingdom, but not of it. There’s nothing wrong with getting tired as long as we studiously recharge our batteries. It’s when we get tired and stay tired that we begin to debilitate. Prolonged fatigue is the devil’s tool. If you’re discouraged right now (especially in the ministry God has given you), chances are it’s related to fatigue.
“Rest” is a biblical word. Let it be a sustained Christian habit in your life.