Sometimes I wish Jesus sent hipster devotional videos from heaven like he sent manna to the Israelites. This one would be entitled “What to do when you’re a restless and drained Christian.”
The other night I found myself with a tired heart and tears in my eyes while talking to a dear friend about my relationship with God. Honestly, I’ve been so busy for the past two months I haven’t had the time to sit or process or be with other believers. And I’ve known something has been wrong because my heart feels restless in a way I’ve never experienced before. My soul isn’t at ease. I’m tired and abnormally stressed. It’s like I’ve switched to autopilot mode: I’m not living my own life but watching someone else live it for me. It reminds me of a verse in Psalm 39: “Everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.” I’m going through the motions and surviving, but that’s about it. So basically, I’m a super-Christian and I’ll give away autographed copies of my biography later this week.
Seriously though, I’ve never been this overcommitted, so I didn’t even know how to respond at first. From a practical standpoint, the way I’m living is harmful because, at best, I am doing an average job at life. Everything is a muted version of what it could be. Really, I’m not even living in the truest sense of the word. I’m surviving.
This isn’t the kind of existence God calls us to, is it? To simply survive the next eighty years until we die or he returns? It reminds me of Jesus’ words in John 10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” God calls us to live abundantly, to live fully. This doesn’t mean unicorns will burst into song when you wake up every morning, but it does mean that you and I can experience true life, peace, and joy through the power of the Spirit.
Something needed to change, so yesterday I talked to my manager and asked to go on a nine-week work break so I could focus on school. She didn’t stone me. I cancelled some coffee dates, set aside time for writing, and bought Christmas lights to decorate my room with. I watched the Red Sox game in my pajamas for no other reason than the fact that I like watching baseball in my pajamas. I texted some friends and apologized for being absent. They didn’t stone me. I repented and asked God to forgive me for being stupid (poetic, I know) and disregarding his command to keep the Sabbath. He didn’t stone me. And no lie, I feel significantly more rested even today: spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
I don’t know why I’m surprised, because God promises to give us rest if we turn to him. Jesus said, “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” (Matthew 11:28-30).
If you’re tired and barely surviving, be honest with yourself. Cut things out of your schedule that don’t need to be there and create space for your relationship with God. Do not be ashamed. Repent, ask for forgiveness, and move towards life (and life to the full).