Lately I have been noticing a lot of weary soldiers in the Army of God. They are easy to spot with arms extended in endless service, drooping eyes showing lack of sleep, and bodies that have been put last on the to-do list. Even their smile says, “I ‘m tired!” Many mighty men of God and some superwomen of God alike are just tuckered out. Why, might you ask? My guess is they have said “Yes” one too many times. Along with the surrendered “Yes,” God almost always teaches the surrender, “No.” There is a reason He does it that way. Too much to do and no time to do it it leads to worn-out soldiers.
Are you a weary woman walking about on the brink of exhaustion? Everyone gets weary sometimes. I tell women, “You think you were busy and tired with the babies? Well, do I have news for you: life accelerates when you add in-laws, grandchildren and elderly parents, not to mention full-time ministry. Just you wait.” My husband’s and my solution to this dilemma is to frequently get away.
This time we were on our way to Louisville, Kentucky to celebrate our anniversary! Our routine is to stop halfway, somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We agreed upon our destination: Asheville, North Carolina. We began our trip towards the mountains a little past noon. I must admit it was my idea not to reserve a room in advance. Patrick did not agree but he held his tongue. Being an hour or two behind schedule put us right in the center of Asheville’s rush hour traffic. Both of us were quickly moving into the exhaustion lane. With a smile still on my face, we began the hunt for the perfect hotel to celebrate in style. To my dismay, each hotel that we stopped at had the same response, “No room at the inn!”
We were disappointed but we kept on moving forward. Soon traffic had ceased but we were already outside the city limits of Asheville. Spending the day tomorrow in Asheville would be out of the question. We prayerfully continued to hunt for a place to stay as night fell. I, the “Pollyanna” of the two, quoted the scripture, “God works all things together for good, for those who love Him.” (Rom. 8:28) Pat held his tongue once again.
We prayed, sought and drove on. Hope almost went out the window when Patrick spied a hotel out in the distance in the middle of nowhere! As I stepped out of the car, I was about to say, “Really, this hotel?” but this time I held my tongue. Out I pranced, filled with the joy of celebration towards the reservation clerk. Speaking nonstop at 100 miles an hour, I begged for a room. In addition, I told the clerk my whole life story in a five-minute spiel, without taking a breath. She understood every word. To my surprise, she had a vacancy. Not only did she have a room, but since I told her that it was our anniversary, she upgraded us to a suite.
To my shock, she began to tell me her whole life story in five minutes, without taking a breath. I understood every word. At the end of her story there was an anniversary surprise for Pat and I, a little souvenir. This present, surprisingly, was written on her arm. In a nutshell, she was adopted and raised by a minister and his wife. She, a typical teenager, left the faith for a short time. When she returned she had this scripture written on her arm to remember forever. When she showed me her arm, I took a picture to remember the words forever as well. This is how the entire scripture reads,
“He gives power to the faint, abundant strength to the weak. Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, they that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” (Is. 40:29-31)
Are you a weary woman? Ask God to teach you to wait. God refreshes, renews and blesses His people if we will let Him.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them. (Ephesians. 2:10)
In order to walk in the good works He has prepared in advance we must know God and know ourselves. We must know God’s voice so we can hear and obey. We must know ourselves so that we say “Yes,” to what God has gifted us to do and say “No” to what He is not calling us to do. We are happiest and healthiest when we are walking close enough to God to hear Him and when we are using our gifts for His glory.
There are times, however, that no matter how close we are to God or how many gifts we have God calls to a different season. If we are listening to His still, small voice we can hear him say, “Step back, my daughter,” or “Step aside, my little one!” or even “Step down, my tired soldier.” If you hear the Lord prompting you to enter into a season of rest, know that this is not a demotion, but rather a grace. A Father’s love calling one to come aside and rest a spell is the way our God takes us on a mini-vacation for two. Be ready to bask in the presence of His love. Our Heavenly Father always knows what is best for us. In Psalm 23 we find the key to this season:
“He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
“He leads me besides still waters.”
“He restores my soul.”
Are you a weary woman walking? Do you need to sit a spell? Maybe you just had a new baby, or are recovering from an illness, or hosted Christmas for your big, fat happy family, and exhaustion has set in. Take the time to let God restore your soul. Give yourself permission to take a rest. It is okay to lie down.
Maybe you said “Yes,” but you should have said “No!” Now you are living in the land of overcommitment. We have all been there and done that a time or two. It is never too late to resign or renege. They say, “Quitters never prosper,” but in the case of exhaustion, that cliché is dead wrong. You have only one life to live. So choose to live your life alive, healthy, and fit. Oh your pride might hurt a little to step down. However, isn’t it better to bandage a bruised ego than to than to permanently damage your mind, body or soul? Swallow your pride and make things right; God is waiting for you to obey his voice. When you step down, someone else is able to step up. It may even be an answer to prayer for another, who unlike you, their plate is empty. Sometimes we do not know how full we are until we eat one too many “quail.” Let peace be a barometer.
Your season of rest is initiated by God, from start to finish. Let Him decided the amount of care you need. God may lead you to take one day a week and a few days a month on a routine basis like my husband and I do. Since we are in the ministry these mental health breaks are taken mid-week and monthly. They always refresh us individually and as a couple. God may call you to a month-long summer vacation or even a yearlong sabbatical. Everyone needs a break to restore. These mini-breaks are needed to live a healthy, happy, whole and balanced life.
Last year I took a “Me” year. It was wonderful! I highly recommend it. I made the decision to do more time of prayer and sacraments, and less time of service and fellowship. I joined the gym, took up modeling as a hobby, and spent more time outdoors. I chose good books to read and joined a Bible study. My husband and I took more vacations, just the two of us. I eliminated the ministries in my life as God called me to lay them down. I spent more time writing and co-hosting a radio show. I said “no” instead of “yes.” The fruit was good. God began to restore my soul.
This year I am concentrating on my health. I am focusing on getting fit. What about you? Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy soul; all are connected. God wants to heal the whole man. Nothing will make a woman wearier than not taking care of her health. Aim for a healthy lifestyle and an appropriate weight for your height and bone structure, one where they is neither over indulgence nor starvation. Are you weary from letting your body take the last place on your to-do list?
Are you weary from not taking a time each day to pray? Setting aside time to bask in His love restores the soul. We need women’s retreats, bible studies, the sacrament and fellowship. We also need prayer partners, older women and friends to walk beside us. Most of all we need balance in our life. Too much spirituality or too little tires us out.
Lastly, are you lacking the zest you once knew in this life? “All work and no play make Jane a dull girl.” My husband and I are both overachievers. We must schedule in forced fun. Our solution is plan a date day every Friday if we want it or not. Fun adds zeal to your relationship and a zest to your life.
It is what’s on the inside that counts the most. What is going on inside of you? Are you a weary woman? Are you overcommitted? Are you unhealthy? Or have the fires you’ve walked through in life just tuckered you out? It is okay to lie down and take time to restore. Do you need to restore your body, mind, soul or all three? Is God calling you to take a “me year” too?
If you are a weary woman walking the walk, take this to heart. Wait on the Lord and let Him renew your strength. It is time to take care of you and then you can take better care of your family too. God says, “Behold I make all things new.” Let your Heavenly Father take you on a vacation, just the two of you. See what souvenirs you get to bring home!
Copyright 2017 Ellen Mongan