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WHEN LIFE MAKES US WEARY
Audio Version: WHEN LIFE MAKES US WEARY
by Victoria B
“Life is not easy,” as M Scott Peck once wrote. It is full of highs and lows, moments of joy and breakthroughs, but also moments of sorrow and weariness. As humans, we Christians are not exempted from the various seasons of life. If left neglected or pushed under, weariness can harm the spiritual life of a Christian. It can lead to spiritual dryness and even into falling away from God.
One of the refreshing things about the Bible is how forthright and honest it is even about the very real issues of pain and weariness. How does weariness set in and what can we as Christians do about it? Our writer, Victoria, shares some frank, sincere, and valuable insight into this important issue in every Christian’s life.
Even as Christians, we all go through various seasons in life. This includes seasons of weariness. For some of us, this season has gone on for far too long, like an overbearing and unwelcome guest who forcefully prolongs his or her stay in the abode of our will, mind, and emotions. This is not normal, nor is it healthy.
Left unchecked, we end up stuck in a toxic rut and cycle of renewed expectation that we would get out of our weary state, which leads to disappointment when the weary state remains, and eventually, complete exhaustion creeps in. This cycle often repeats itself for far too long, exhausting us further until depression or severely depressive feelings overwhelm us.
As much as we dislike admitting it, many Christians are tired. For most, if not all of us, life is not easy even when we have God in our lives and even when we have been serving Him faithfully. God never promised that the Christian life will be a bed of roses, as He reminds us that “In the world, you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
Having a relationship with God does not make us completely immune or exempted from life’s distress, challenges, and issues as we live in a sinful world. Countless accounts of the lives of His people including the lives of apostles and prophets in the Bible, such as the apostle Paul and King David can attest to this. However, God promises that He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), He is for us (Romans 8:31, Psalm 56:9), He will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 4:31, Deuteronomy 31:6-8, Psalm 94:14, Genesis 28:15), He listens to our cry (Psalm 77:1-2), and He wants us to be honest and real with Him even when we think that He has abandoned us, just as Jesus did on the cross ( Matthew 27:46).
Yes, God wants us to be real and transparent with Him when we are weary, down, and depressed. Pretense and fooling ourselves and others into thinking that everything is alright will never get us far nor is it what God intends for us. King David, in full rawness and honesty, cried out to God numerous times during seasons of trials and weariness and found healing and strength thereafter. As a result, he was called a man after God’s heart despite failing and falling into sin several times.
Yet, as Christians, being transparent and raw to God, ourselves, and others can sometimes be such a difficult thing to do. This is often not due to a hypocritical attitude per se, but often a defense mechanism which results in further spiritual stagnation, spiritual deterioration, anxiety, loneliness, feelings of rejection, spiritual hurt, and depression. The fear of being vulnerable can often be too overwhelming as well. It robs us of all the joy, peace, and fulfillment which God promises to give us.
Whether we realise it or not, this often stems from several faulty mindsets, whether in ourselves or others, which exacerbates the feelings of weariness and hinders our walk towards healing and restoration in God:
- The ‘Christians should not feel weary if they pray enough’ mindset
Sometimes a Christian becomes weary because of all the grief, pain, hurt, and sadness that the Christian has to keep hidden inside because other Christians tell them that feeling weary is wrong. They are told that the joy of the Lord is supposed to remove and pierce through all that weariness if they pray or read the Bible enough. Yes, God does indeed heal and remove all that as we spend time with Him, but as humans, there are possibly other physical and psychological needs that should not be discounted.
Sometimes, all that a weary Christian need is a sympathetic ear, a physical hug, a loving gaze, sound counsel, or a tender and loving word of encouragement. Sometimes the root causes of all the weariness are biological. For instance, possibly all that is needed is to have enough serotonin in the brain and for the bad gut bacteria in the stomach to be replaced with good bacteria. When often deprived of our basic humanly needs such as love, empathy, physical and emotional health, and good nutrition, for instance, we flounder and grow weary in every way.
- The ‘We must do everything right’ mindset
This belief often sets us up for failure because as humans, we make mistakes. No one can be perfect, Christians included. This mindset sets us up into performance overdrive. In our minds, whether consciously or subconsciously, God is no longer our Father in heaven, but a harsh and micromanaging boss or taskmaster relentlessly in pursuit of righting our wrongs and pinpointing our sins. In our minds, our relationship with our Father God is no longer one of love and acceptance, but an oppressive one filled with condemnation and worry. We try to perform to please God, just like the way we try to work harder to please our bosses. Serving God becomes a duty, rather than an act of love towards the One who loves us.
When this happens, even when we still believe that God loves us on a cognitive level, we are unable to accept it in our hearts. This can stem from various wrong relational and thinking patterns we may have encountered and grown up with, which leaks into all our existing and current relationships, including our relationship with God. This leads to a fear of being vulnerable and transparent before God and others, eventually causing us to grow weary. The passion we once had for God is no longer present as more lethargy and sadness creep into our bodies and hearts.
- The ‘The world is fair and just’ mindset
Those who have this mindset often think that people go through the hardships they go through either because they do not work hard enough, they are not good enough, or because they failed God so God has abandoned them. The truth is that this world that we live in is not just but broken. Humans are often placed in bad circumstances and go through immense challenges sometimes as result of the sin of others and due to other possible reasons. Having this mindset can be oppressive as it places an unnecessary and unwarranted burden on believers to work harder and do better as they believe that it is somehow their fault or even God’s fault when things go wrong. Dependence on God to weather the storms of life is seen as weak and possibly faulty. Weariness sets in as result.
This list is by no means exhaustive. The key to getting out of this weariness is often for Christians to reach a level of honesty before God which helps us to draw from His strength daily to bring healing and restoration. Yet, this level of honesty often requires Christians to break through one or several faulty mindsets as previously mentioned. Thus, while daily prayer, worship, meditation on His Word, and spending time with God daily is crucial, breaking out of faulty mindsets and engaging in other practical means are equally vital for Christians to break out of the mental, emotional, and spiritual lethargy and wilderness that they often find themselves in. When Christians are able to do this, they often find themselves experiencing not just a breakthrough from lethargy, but also the fullness of His joy and spiritual growth, and they become the very person God intended for them to be.
About the Writer
Victoria currently teaches English. She loves to dream, sing, and write poetry during her free time.
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