Words for the Weary
Years ago our family was water skiing on Lake Graham. I was driving the boat pulling the kids on an inner tube back and forth across the lake. While we were having great fun I began to hear a buzzer sound coming from the engine area. It wasn’t deafening loud, by any means, only irritating. So I ignored it. It went away but came back later. I went back to the engine to see if I could find out what the buzzer was about but I learned nothing. Just like when I raise the hood, on any car I have ever owned, I really don’t know what I'm looking at or why I raised it in the first place. Buzzer kept going for a couple of hours. By the way, this wasn’t my boat. It was my father-in-laws boat. Eventually we were low on gas and headed back to the house. I mentioned the noise to my father-in-law. He immediately went and added oil to the engine which I’ve learned since is a really big deal when it comes to engines running effectively. Warning buzzers and warning lights serve a purpose. They tell us something needs focused attention and without that attention, something will begin to operate much less effectively than it was designed to operate.
Here are a few warning lights or buzzers in our life:
Doing more and enjoying it less and less.
Decrease in joy or wonder in your life.
Making time to develop relationships has all but vanished from your life.
Friends are more and more an intrusion.
Relationships are primarily superficial.
You’re more irritable and temper flares are more common.
You have to apologize for your attitudes and actions more often.
You feel spiritually numb and flat.
Saying phrases like "I can’t stand this anymore" or "I just want to be left alone" or “I just don’t care".
Jesus once said and Matthew recorded it in his gospel, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Mt. 11: 29-30.
It seems to me that each year life becomes faster and faster and we grow wearier and wearier. Jesus said, “Come to me.” Who should come? I think those who admit their weariness and those who are ready to rest.
What causes weariness? Weariness is achieved when we consistently are trying to obtain or achieve something that we cannot obtain or achieve on our own.
An author, who for the life of me I cannot remember his name but I read his thoughts years ago, likens weariness to the mirage problem. We are trying to get to the water to quench our thirst and it disappears when we arrive at the point we thought it was.
How do we respond to this problem? All kinds of ways. One way is we try, try, and try till we die. This is the person who gets up earlier, stays up later, working in a perfectionistic and obsessive manner hoping to quench his or her thirst at the mirage. These folks get a lot of approval for their performance but on the inside they are fatigued in ways they don’t speak of openly.
Another method of responding to this problem is just staying in bed. The mirage has proven to be so elusive that the pursuit of it becomes hopeless and despairing. This is often called depression but it has to do with a flawed perception of where my thirst will be quenched anyway.
Another method of responding to this weariness is, not becoming a perfectionist nor altogether giving up, but it’s the person who goes through the motions of participation all the while knowing they won’t reach the prize or destination. They allow things to come in their lives or do the very things which sabotage their progress so they can say, “See, I told ya it wouldn’t work out.”
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13 “Amplified, I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's suffiency].”
We become weary when we try to be self-sufficient which we do often.
Back to Jesus’ words, “Take his yoke” implies that we walk with him, not faster, not slower, but alongside Him. We don’t take this journey of life alone. It also implies we don’t bear the load alone. A stronger more experienced animal was coupled with a weaker animal for two reasons: a stronger could affect the weaker and a weaker animal could imitate the stronger. Jesus said, "I am gentle and humble", my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. It will not overcome you.
The author I mentioned above without remembering his name said there are three things we can all do to reset our compass when it comes to focusing on the effects of our weariness. The first is “depart daily.” Said differently, leave work at work. M. Scott Peck M.D. (an author I heard speak once and remembered) says he does nothing two hours per day in order to maintain his mental and emotional health. I say, on your way home pick a driveway and dump the stress of the day there. If you work at home, depart daily. Get adequate sleep. Get alone with Jesus to pray and read his sayings.
The second thing the author said was to withdraw weekly. He was referring to the concept of the Sabbath. Take 1 day per week to do something different than the other six. Use that day to reflect, remember, and worship.
The third thing he said was to abandon annually. This refers to celebrations, vacations, and festivals. I like biker rallies but my wife is not keen on them. She’s not keen on anything related to riding the motorcycle with me. I digress. Design your vacation time to "re-create" that which has been spent in you.
Rest is counter cultural especially in our culture. Without it you will burn out. Pay closer attention to those warning buzzers and warning lights. They’re for our protection.
Have a great day. I welcome your comments. God bless, Matt.