Ever consider that you may just be soul weary? I say this, because life can wear us down. “Adulting” is hard. Young people don’t necessarily feel this soul weariness, but give a few years, a few laps around the block and one can start to feel thin on the edges, a little fragile, close to breaking point. Soul weariness is a reality in our lives.
Often we look at ourselves in the mirror and ask: “How did I get so tired?” How did all this weariness set in? Here are a few ideas on how soul weariness sets in:
- You have faced big challenges, which are like rivers that one must cross. Some challenges of life hang around for years and you have to learn to live with them for a long time. Or big projects, where the initial excitement has long gone and now little problems have come up, or even big problems where the end of the project is a long way off. The weariness sets in and people start talking like “God is not in this anymore.” And you start wondering; “Where is God?”
- When there are obstacles in your path, it doesn’t matter who put them there, you/ others / life, but when you hit that obstacle weariness sets in.
- When attacks come your way. In life there are always problems. People are paid to solve problems. The bigger the problems the more they get paid. Everything in society runs on trouble and the people who are paid to solve these have jobs. Trouble is the reality of everything and Jesus warned of trouble in this life.
- When we encounter limited or slow progress. Or when dreams and goals have not been achieved. When the fruit you were hoping for after all your effort is not forthcoming. When you feel disappointed about how things have turned out and where you are.
- We get weary encountering complex problems that weary the mind and we just want them to go away! Truth is, the more successful and blessed you become, the better you have to get at managing problems. We are not to be afraid of complex problems; we are to seek knowledge as part of a daily habit.
- When dreams and visions are delayed we get weary. You start to question them, their source, the validity of your life, if they are still applicable.
- Finally we get weary from health issues, especially if they have been going on for a while. We have to wait for the body and the mind to heal or recover, and for some, the end of our suffering may not be in sight. Even our general health impacts weariness.
Jesus says: “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden” (Matt 11:28)
He knows that we get worn down by life, that we get “soul” weary. He wants us to come to Him, to exchange our weariness for rest. From the original Greek, we know that Jesus is specifically talking to believers, not unbelievers. His first provision for our weary souls is to come to Him, to get ourselves into His very presence.
Jesus didn’t promise to take us out of our weary assignments or lives, but He does promise to give you rest, to refresh you, so that you can continue on your journey of life.
Here are some thoughts on what “coming” looks like when dealing with weariness:
- The most difficult part is to recognise that you are weary. Our tendency is to say that we are just physically or emotionally tired, rather than spiritually weary. We try to deny our weariness by getting more sleep, perhaps going on holiday, seeking physical rest, when the real rest that you are looking for is for the soul. At times, it is our friends that recognize the weariness inside of us before we do. Admit that you are weary and that it is neutralising the passion you once had.
- Once you admit to weariness, make a decision not to abandon whatever it is that you are busy with, but to outlast, or outwork the enemy. He specializes in exhausting the saints so that he can get them to abandon the good work they are busy with. Weariness is often the reason we step out of commitments, service and relationships. So make a decision to stick at it and come to the Lord until He refreshes you. (2 Thes 3:13; Gal 6:9)
- While you wait for refreshment in His presence, it is important to remember that God has given us crucial missions in Kingdom life. The Lord wants us to be a light in the world and that includes how we live out a good marriage, raising children, being an example, bearing fruit and growing spiritually so that the world sees it. (Eph 2:10)
- Don’t disconnect! When weary, our tendency is to disconnect from our environment, people and church. We don’t ask for prayer. We disconnect from church easily, by simply not going! We are just not available to meet needs, serve other believers, meet people or even just wanting to meet people. The sheep get disconnected from the flock because they do not feel the passion they once had. Make an effort to do what you once did, in connecting with people. (Heb 13:1)
- Let’s remember the faithfulness of God in our lives so far. Part of coming to the Lord as Jesus calls us to (in Matt 11:25-30) is remembering how He has been faithful to us in the past. Over time, we forget the relationship we once had, just as we forget our first love. It is important to remember. (1Thes 5:23-24; Rev 2:4-5)
- Spend time in His presence to regenerate hope. Hope is something we have to actively rebuild in His presence. Revisit where your hope comes from, His character; His nature; His sovereignty. Revisit the foundation of your faith, the anchor of your hope. Look carefully at that familiar verse Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Note how He gives “strength to the weary” and “power to the weak” while they are in His presence, in that exact condition of being weary. See how He differentiates between the “tired” and the “weary,” recognising both conditions, and how those who wait in His presence, who work at renewing their hope in the Lord, will soar; run; walk.
The greatest insight I have had while I have explored my own soul weariness, is to realise that there is no quick fix. Much as we think we can fix it with a holiday or an early night, there is just no replacement for time spent in the presence of the Lord. The remedy is actually “to come”. And to come whenever the soul is tired. It is OK to be tired, it is not OK to stay tired when the Lord Himself is calling you to Him to find rest for your soul.
Thank You Father, that at any time, we can find rest for our souls. We simply come. We come into Your Presence and remember Who You are, who we are. We find hope, fresh faith, courage. We pray, leave things at your feet, make peace. Find peace. You are the Great Exchange: we exchange our tiredness for your life and energy. Our sorrow for Your Hope. Our doubt for Your strength.