I looked at my watch for the umpteenth time that day: 3:30 pm. It’s only 3:30 pm.
If I’d closed my eyes and tried to gauge the time based on how my mind and body felt, I would’ve guessed midnight. Or later. Instead, the sun still poured into my office and the watch reminded me I had hours yet before I could collapse into bed. I was utterly and completely exhausted. And everything in me wanted to shut out the world and go to sleep. But I still had kids to take care of, dinner to make, work to finish. The thing I needed most was the one thing I didn’t have time for.
The problem was, however, that I’d felt this same way nearly every day for the prior month. This wasn’t an “off” day, and my tiredness wasn’t the result of some random circumstance or unexpected crisis. In fact, I couldn’t point my finger at a single culprit. Instead, this was a cumulative, enduring, consuming exhaustion, built up over more than a year of days. I knew even a single good night’s sleep wasn’t going to be enough to fix it.
I’ve heard from more than a few people in the last few weeks who are experiencing a similar deep and crushing wave of exhaustion. And while I’m relieved I’m not the only one, it speaks to a greater plague that is wearing us all down.
This collective fatigue is not just physical exhaustion, although that seems to be part of it. But also emotional, spiritual, and even day-to-day-living exhaustion. After well over a year of white-knuckling and trying to “get through,” there’s a collective sense of “I don’t think I have any white-knuckling left.” And although there is hope that the red-hot intensity of 2020 and 2021 is starting to ebb, we’re experiencing a sort of boomerang effect, like the aftershocks of an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. We’re not quite out of the woods yet, and we can feel it in our bones.
I heard similar sentiments again today, and tonight my heart weighs with it. We’re fragile and frayed, and a good night’s sleep or a week of vacation isn’t enough of a cure. What we need — what I need — is an unadulterated center. A haven of perpetual rest. A core that holds all our fragments together. A bulwark that stands no matter the shaking Earth.
God, the one and only —
I’ll wait as long as he says.
Everything I hope for comes from him,
so why not?
He’s solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle:
I’m set for life.
My help and glory are in God
— granite-strength and safe-harbor-God —
So trust him absolutely, people;
lay your lives on the line for him.
God is a safe place to be.
Psalm 62:5-8 (MSG)
Friends, do you need breathing room for your soul? An impregnable castle, a safe place in which to rest?
The only refuge strong enough for that kind of security and safety is God himself. No person or position, no dream or destination, no relationship or romance or house or church or paycheck or pastor is a refuge like our God.
Everything else will one day give way. Those things around which you’re building your life will one day slip through your fingers and fade. Nothing lasts — nothing ever lasts.
Except the Everlasting One.
He is your home. He never sleeps so you can sleep in peace (Psalm 121:4). He never changes so you can live in a world that is never the same (Hebrews 13:8). Yes, you may need to start getting more sleep or changing your commitments or seeing a counselor. You might even need a more radical life change to address the exhaustion that is leaving you brittle and dry. It’s okay to admit you’re a human with real limitations that need attention.
But unless you make your Father your rest, all other remedies will need to be replaced. Find your rest in Him, and no matter when or how the world fades away, you’ll have a place to call home.Leave a Comment