There is a special class of believers I lovingly refer to as BOC’s: Burnt-Out Christians. This class of saints is continually asked to give any time there is a need. They’re tired. Yet they serve while others stay on the sidelines. They’re easy to spot: usually wearing a “Staff” T-shirt, hurrying to meet their next obligation, worn-out, and rarely attending a service. When someone needs something, they approach this remnant because they’re doers. In the meantime, they silently suffer: they’re always fatigued, their health deteriorates, and their marriages and/or children are neglected. Additionally, they’re chastised for having “Martha Syndrome” because they constantly work for the Lord, but don’t spend enough time in the Word. Ironically, these accusations often come from the same people who approach them repeatedly asking for help.
It’s difficult to be a modern Christian. Christianity is a hospitable lifestyle, and we’re commanded by Jesus to give. However, combine that with secular demands and you have a recipe for weariness. Most households require two incomes, so both mom and dad work at least forty hours a week outside the home. Additionally, there is an endless stream of needs coming from the home: household chores and maintenance, meals, children, school involvement, homework, car maintenance, and extra-curricular activities. Not to mention marriage and health maintenance. Most people spend their weeks working outside of the house, and their weekend working inside of the house. Then, they spend their Sundays working for the church. The pressure is enormous. No wonder we’re stressed, maxed, tired, fat, and grumpy with one another. The only break we get is the three hours we sleep each night!
Merriam-Webster defines weariness as “(1) lacking strength, energy, or freshness because of a need for rest or sleep, (2) bored or annoyed by something because you have seen it, heard it, done it, etc., many times or for a long time, or (3) causing you to feel tired.” This is an accurate description of many of us. A few weeks ago I was recounting with friends how weary we felt. One in the group narrated his life in dreary terms. He is not a Christian; however, I believe he is seeking greater purpose. His days consisted of “going to work, racing home once the clock is punched, working at my second job until 10PM, and then studying for my continuing education credits until 1 or 2am. Then it’s rinse and repeat.”
Rinse and repeat. His stopwatch starts again at 5am, and each day runs into the next. Before he knows it, he’s fifteen years older and still doesn’t know why he’s here. He is unable to push the pause button of life to ask himself, “What is mankind’s purpose?” If given the time to answer these questions, he may arrive at the Gospel and change the course of his eternity.
You see, weariness’s favorite companion is discontentment. Often our activity drives us in a direction we never intended to go. We work incredibly hard at something we’re not sure we want to do. We never have time to ask the most important questions – why am I here? Is what I’m doing really making a difference? Is this what I really want? Is this what God desires from me? Fulfillment is impossible if there is no reflection. As Christians, aren’t we supposed to be the salt and light? Sometimes our salt is dissolved in the boiling water of frenzied commotion.
It’s preposterous to believe this is what Jesus desires. Our redeemed lives were meant to have an effect. We were meant to shake the belief system of those around us. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The thief (Satan) desires to steal your energy and peacefulness; Jesus, however, desires that your life should be full. The problem with weariness is that, according to Galatians 6:9, it threatens to steal our reward. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9) Continual weariness causes us to lose heart, and therefore, we will never benefit from – “reap” – the investment of our labor.
If you find yourself struggling against weariness, a reevaluation of your priorities and time is needed. Logistically speaking, you can’t do everything. As you reassess your life plan, follow the three-step solution found in God’s Word:
- Pray. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” In this passage Jesus tells us to come to Him for rest. Find a spot and pray. Tell Jesus that you are tired and you need His guidance and energy. Explain your situation: you are stretched thin and need to shed some responsibility. Often, God will give you refreshing sleep during your prayer time. You may feel guilty for this, but it can be God’s way of providing the rest He promised.
- Wait. Isaiah 40:31 says that “those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”. The Hebrew word for wait is qavah and it means “hope.” Expectantly waiting for the Lord’s answer and direction for your life will give you supernatural strength. Resist the urge to act too quickly. Wait for His answers concerning how you should spend your time. It’s a good idea to step back from your frenzied activity during your waiting period. Too much life noise can drown His voice.
- Obey. In Matthew chapter 11, Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon us. What is His yoke? It’s obedience to His commands. In Biblical times, a yoke was a wooden harness used to guide an oxen or other animal while plowing a field. The yoke Jesus refers to represents God’s map for our lives. Obedience to God and His plan for us will eliminate any weariness that stems from questioning whether we are following the correct path.
Stepping back from demands may seem counterproductive, but it’s necessary to ensure you live your days free from weariness. Don’t keep running full speed ahead if you don’t know where you’re going. A fruitful, full, rewarding life awaits.