Are You Worn Down by Weariness?
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Are You Worn Down by Weariness?
The mind, heart and body suffer tremendously under the duration of ongoing uncertainty, anxiety and fear. Amid the crises of the last few months, our world has been held captive with varying degrees of these stresses. Covid-19, financial devastation, rioting, social unrest—it all takes a toll. No country, culture, language or society has escaped the barrage of distressing news that confronts us. Is it any wonder we suffer ailment of body, heart and mind?
Seemingly never-ending and difficult circumstances come in many forms and packages, but they are the same in their ability to wreak havoc on the human body and psyche. For some it may be the pain of the loss of a beloved one that shatters their heart. For others it may be an ongoing relationship issue that devastates one’s spirit, family difficulties that destroy once-held dreams and expectations, a hidden sin that corrodes one’s very core, loneliness that drains one’s soul, a broken marriage that crushes one’s trust in another, financial difficulty that suffocates peace of mind, caregiving and its accompanying compassion fatigue, or a chronic illness that erodes one’s resolve—the list goes on and on.
Have you ever struggled with wanting to just give up through the sheer weariness of it all? Do the following words resonate with some of the lowest moments in your life? “I am worn out with sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with tears.” If so, you are not alone. Those are the words of King David found in Psalms 6:6 Psalms 6:6I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.
American King James Version×(New Living Translation).
I myself have walked down this dark path due to a lengthy chronic illness. And though my walk through the valley of weariness may have its roots from a different source than that of others, and others most certainly have faced greater challenges, the difficulties we each face are both unique and similar in their ability to wear us down. Perhaps sharing a few simple tools that I’ve found helpful will toss a lifeline to those who relate—and give understanding and perspective to those who yet don’t.
Lesson 1: Name your blessings directly to God
When we are weary, we’re often in such a state of body and mind that it’s difficult to even recall in the smallest of ways what lifts our hearts. At some point during my illness I decided to keep a simple two-part daily gratitude journal, which I’ve chalked up to divine inspiration. God knew what I needed to do.
Part A focuses on taking the time to each day identify even the most seemingly basic blessing from above, and writing it down in one sentence that begins with, “Today I am thankful for . . .”
In spite of the physical challenges of being both blind and deaf, Helen Keller evidently came to understand the principle here, putting it like this: “I thank God for my handicaps, for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God.”
Psalms 118:1 Psalms 118:1O give thanks to the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endures for ever.
American King James Version×says, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.” This passage by King David is repeated multiple times throughout the Psalms, so this focused gratitude principle must have worked well for him too.
Part B in daily journaling I titled “Creation Field Notes.” The focus here is to take time to meditate on and tune into what you are seeing around you—to specifically identify elements of God’s creation that we so often take for granted, and then praise Him for it.
The exercise of part A fed my heart with gratitude, and I learned that thankfulness is a powerful antidote to weariness. The exercise of part B fed my brain with awe of our great God who planned His creation to include both breathtaking beauty and astonishing detail, including our makeup as humankind.
I also learned that focusing on God’s creation and the Creator changes our perspective about ourselves. I find it interesting that in Job 37-39, God spends 95 verses teaching Job about His creation during the time of Job’s deep suffering.
It’s also evident that this tool was used by King David, a man who suffered loss, anxiety, fears, loneliness, family trials and relationship issues. Psalm 104 is a beautiful example of this, and is an inspiring passage to read again and again. David wrote many, many psalms meditating on, praising and acknowledging God and His creation, often during or after his most difficult trials. “I will meditate on Your majestic, glorious splendor and Your wonderful miracles” (Psalms 145:5 Psalms 145:5I will speak of the glorious honor of your majesty, and of your wondrous works.
American King James Version×, NLT).
Lesson 2: Think this, not that
In the midst of weariness, when the mind and body feel sucked dry, it’s easy for self-destructive thoughts to creep in. Without even knowing how much I desperately needed it, a wonderful friend gave me a copy of the book Forty Days to a Joy-Filled Life by Tommy Newberry.
The “think this, not that” method he writes about is based on Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
American King James Version×, which says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (New International Version).
The replacement principle is simple. When negative thoughts start creeping in, immediately replace them with good thoughts. And folks, it works! A few examples might be:
• Put out fear and doubt by recalling God’s faithfulness.
• Put out irrational, negative thoughts by meditating on your blessings, no matter how small.
• Put out despair over personal problems by reflecting on God’s promises.
• Put out feelings of bitterness by remembering the forgiveness and grace God has personally extended to you.
You get the idea. Proverbs 4:23 Proverbs 4:23Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
American King James Version×tells us, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (New Century Version).
Lesson 3: Cultivate a hopeful heart
There are times when recalibrating our mindset to remember the big picture, our blessed hope, gives us the ability to push through weariness when it seems an impossible task.
Hope is powerful. It is one of the three pillars of Christian life mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:13 1 Corinthians 13:13And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
American King James Version×—along with faith and love. Hope is a companion of faith, its strength coming from complete trust in God’s promises for us. It’s very different from mere positive thinking. It enables us to tolerate difficult circumstances, rather than just having the ability to put anxieties aside. It transcends the present and reminds us that our current circumstances are not permanent.
It appears this was also another guiding principle for Helen Keller. She once said, “It gives me a deep comforting sense that things seen are temporal and things unseen are eternal.” This is straight out of the Bible—from the words of the apostle Paul (see 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 2 Corinthians 4:16-18  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
American King James Version×).
Having endured many severe trials in his own life, Paul knew the value of looking forward to the future. He often reminds us that life will be difficult, but in the midst of all that’s hard he says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12 Romans 12:12Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
American King James Version×, New International Version).
If we do not cultivate a hopeful heart, it is difficult to have faith and trust in the overriding plan God is unrolling before us. God’s truthfulness and reliable promises “encourage us to hold on to the hope that is ours. This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe” (Hebrews 6:18-19 Hebrews 6:18-19  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us:
 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil;
American King James Version×, Easy-to-Read Version).
Lesson 4: Pray often
Turning to God works far better than turning on the television—or whatever else we might do.
It may also be helpful to remind ourselves that weariness is certainly nothing new, and that preventing difficulties is not God’s primary focus—spiritual development is.
Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 Matthew 11:28Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
American King James Version×, NIV). He and the Father know the challenges believers face. And although God may not always remove the trial as we ask, or free us from having to endure it, He will always be by our side to guide us through it step by step. Ask Him for His guidance and presence in your life.
And consider: Do we take the time to reflect on and notice His presence? Do we think about all the many times He has led us and intervened in our lives? It can be a helpful exercise to write these moments down as we look back and identify them, and then reflect on them in moments of weariness. Weariness can cause us to forget that God is along for the journey on our daily walk. “The Lord will guide you continually” (Isaiah 58:11 Isaiah 58:11And the LORD shall guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and make fat your bones: and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
American King James Version×).
Lesson 5: Do for others even when you can’t do for yourself
It’s amazing what happens when we take the focus off ourselves and instead direct it toward others. This mentally diminishes our own circumstances, benefiting us with proper perspective (compare Acts 20:35 Acts 20:35I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
American King James Version×).
Depending on one’s situation, making the effort to fellowship or interact with others can sometimes feel like an almost impossible feat, especially if you are housebound. But focusing on what you can do instead of dwelling on what you can’t do is another helpful tool.
A few simple ways to nurture others when your own situation is limiting is to send texts, emails, cards and letters. And keep in touch by telephone when possible. “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25 Proverbs 11:25The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that waters shall be watered also himself.
American King James Version×, NIV).
Each of us is a work in progress and completely unique in what we are experiencing in life. Every trial, every difficult situation, and even weariness, helps to mold us into the person we are and whom we are yet to become. It also equips us to be able to comfort others with understanding, empathy and compassion.
As 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 2 Corinthians 1:3-5  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.
 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.
American King James Version×tells us: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
We are whom we are because of our collective experiences and how we choose to handle them—once we figure out how to do that. I pray these few practical points will contribute in helping in that process and in helping us to diminish weariness—both in this time of disruption and uncertainty and in living the rest of our lives.