The Bad News First, We All Get Worn Down
“Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish” – Psalm 25:17
“Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil?” – Psalm 42:5
“I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.” – Psalm 69:3
On our spiritual journey, there will be times that are hard. We are in a spiritual battle in a crazy world and it can take its toll. When this happens it can feel like you are standing in the dark with no sense of which way to go to find light. We become weary. I don’t just mean being physically tired, but tired in our souls. Tired in our hearts. Tired in our minds. It is the kind of tired that you don’t just get over with a good night’s sleep. It is the kind of weariness that can be disillusioning, frustrating, and even making you want to “quit”.
It is not fun.
St John of the Cross might call these times, “The Dark Night of the Soul.” In his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero calls these moments in our journey, The Wall. It’s not the one Pink Floyd sang about….but a spiritual and emotional wall that we run into. Scazzero says, “For most of us the Wall appears through a crisis that turns our world upside down. We don’t know where God is, and what He is doing, where He is going, how He is getting us there, or when this will be over.” I know from personal experience that “The Wall”, “The Dark Night of the Soul” is hard.
In the first half of 2019 I walked through this kind of weariness. I did not get there overnight but it was the culmination of many factors that built up over a long period of time. I was tired in a way like never before. I could see God doing so many good things around me but it was like I was standing on the outside looking in. There have been other seasons when I have gone through a tough patch but could always pinpoint how I got there. The way out was even pretty clear. This time was different. To make things even harder, I did not know how to get back on track.
It was not fun.
Here is one of my journal entries from that time.
“God, free me from whatever is going on in me. I really don’t understand why I am at, where I am at. I’m trying to claim and live in your promises. I am trying to power through. I know the answer is to “wait on God”, “rely on Him”, but I don’t know what that means right now. God, please help me, whatever that means.”
Hoping to fix whatever was going on, I confessed every sin I could think of. To leave no stone unturned, I even made up a few sins to confess. But I could not get myself out of my weariness.
It took several months for me to regain my strength and be “ok”. I will share more about all of that in the near future.
So, why am I sharing this? It is certainly not to get sympathy. God has been beyond gracious to me since that time period. As Eugene Peterson put it, He has brought me back into “the wide open spaces of God’s grace.”
I am writing on this for a couple of reasons.
First, to try to encourage the weary soul.
Second, hopefully I can give some insights in the next couple of posts from my experience of finding new rest for my soul.
A Hint towards the Good News
There is a way to walk through your weariness in a way that re-energizes your soul and makes you more like Jesus. You can come out of the weariness in a place much better than you can imagine. You can abide in Jesus, even when you don’t feel like it.
If you are currently in a place of being soul tired, begin by hanging on to this Truth, whether you feel it or not;
You are not alone.
God sees you and loves you. You may feel that you are disconnected from God, but you are not. As David wrote in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit.” We are also told by Jesus in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He is fully aware of you right now. I pray that you hear the promises and hope in those two verses.
Stay tuned for part 2.