Those were the words my wife posted last night. And any husband would know that when the wife’s exhausted, that’s not good. Upon coming home, me and my wife sat down and I listened to what my wife had to say. She went on to tell me how exhausted she was from all the work and responsibilities set for her.
As I continued to listen to her, I came to quickly realize two things: Number one, majority of the reasons behind my wife’s near-burn out was me (men, things are always your fault, right?) and number two, I knew where my wife was coming from. Why? Because I was just as tired as she was.
The last few months have been crazy for us I admit. Pressures from ministry, endless events to lead, discipleship groups, work travels, challenges with the business, new clients, old clients, house renovations, projects, Alexa going to school, us getting a new dog, my trying to put my book together, and so on. I know most people have it tougher, but to be honest it’s just really been more than we can handle ourselves. We’re not used to this kind of load yet. I wish we were.
We’re also not the type of couple that hides when things aren’t nice and perfect. There were times this year that we were not OK. We were challenged, stretched, battered and extremely tried- sometimes I feel more than most people our age experience.
Out of this scripture that comes straight from Jesus Himself, I am reminded of three important things that we can be thankful for in times of great stretching and exhaustion.
But in all those, me and my wife- though stretched and tired- have chosen to be thankful. Not just thankful- even worshipfully amazed. I’m not just saying that. The other day, I had a mind-splitting headache, but all I could do was speak in tongues, laugh and cry out of the joy that just filled my heart.
Call me crazy, but I think we have come to understand what James 1:2 truly considers the joy of trials. In such times, I am reminded of Matthew 11:28-30 which says:
“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.”
Out of this scripture that comes straight from Jesus Himself, I am reminded of three important things that we can be thankful for in times of great stretching and exhaustion. I’d like to share them with hoping that if you’re exhausted too, might be in the future or know someone that is now that the same joy that God has put in our family’s heart would be made evident.
Here are three things to be thankful for in times of great trial:
Be thankful for labor because it equates to productivity
I can’t remember a day in my life I haven’t been swamped with work. There are days my frustration and even self-idolatry get ahead of me and I start complaining about having packed schedules. But that’s only until I realize that while it’s a challenge, labor and work is indeed a blessing.
Sure work can get tough, but more work (especially when done for God’s glory) will always equate to more productivity. When we get work, we all get more learnings, more income, more opportunities, more goals met and more impact. If that’s not something to be thankful I don’t know what we should be grateful for.
And we’ve learned to take things in strides, and learned to say no more, but man if you just think about it, what a privilege we all get to do the work we get to do. It will always be tough I know, but it’s God’s grace always that gives us the ability to produce wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18), the strength to carry the work out (Philippians 4:13) and the perfect plan to put all things in order (Proverbs 19:21).
Be thankful for heavy laden days because it’s an opportunity to take God’s invitation
I mentioned migraines earlier, and I’m the person that gets them a lot. I have in the last few episodes however learned to be thankful for them. Why? Because pain is often also an extension of God’s grace and love. Just imagine this- if I don’t get migraines to remind me I’m pushing my body too far, I’ll just end up damaging my body more.
Pain is often like an alarm that sets off when it’s time to wake up. Without it, we’d just end up being reckless and irresponsible with our time, bodies and relationships.
Moreover, heavy laden and painful days are also great because they remind us how much we need God and gives us an “excuse” if you may to come to Jesus. I would give anything to come to Jesus and exhaustion is just a great opportunity to do so. In those times I am reminded that in my weakness He only shows Himself to be more strong.
Be thankful that Jesus offers freely an exchange of his light burden for ours
Think about this- when you’re stressed, what’s it going to cost you to be relieved of that stress? A vacation that will cost you a four to five figure expense? A body massage? Another night arguing with the spouse? Another angry outburst at your son or daughter?
Truth be told, exhaustion doesn’t have to cost us anything huge. Why? Because Jesus has already paid the price in full for our peace. That’s not to say that we should abandon our responsibilities, but it does add a whole lot of assurance in knowing that the invitation was made by Jesus Himself. Imagine this- you don’t have to beg Jesus to take you in. His arms are already open.
How many times do we miss the chance to freely and shamelessly exchange our failures, stress, problems, fears and doubts for Christ’s righteousness, blessing, peace, joy, and affirmation? I know I’ve missed the opportunity many times before simply because I didn’t know any better. But I know now where I went wrong. Jesus offered rest to us. We didn’t beg for it. He just freely gave.
What does your situation look like right now? Are you heavy laden, burdened, tired or weak? Do you need a break? Guess what? Rest is openly found in the person of Christ. It just is. All we need to do is approach Him in faith inviting Him to take His place on the throne of our hearts and take control of both us and our circumstances.