I'm Tired. But Aren't We All?
"To every thing there is a season" (Ecc. 3:1). Life is made up of seasons. Seasons of abundance and seasons of want, seasons of simplicity and seasons of stress, seasons of strength and seasons of weariness. And they often translate directly into seasons of spiritual growth or, in the worse times, seasons of spiritual standstill.
I'm not a high-energy gal to begin with. The end-of-semester burnout has struck a little harder than expected this term; the puppy (whom I love with all my heart but who also gets me up at 6:30 almost every morning) is taking it out of me, and trying to squeeze my exams into her nap-times has been draining in itself. (Three down, two to go).
This is nothing. I bet 98% of you out there are dealing with real problems and know what actual exhaustion feels like, so I won't complain. But still, if I'm being honest . . . I'm tired. And perhaps one of the worse side-effects of that fatigue isn't its impact on my day-to-day to-do lists but on my spiritual life.
Yesterday in Sunday morning service, I could barely keep my mind attached to my body. I basically missed the sermon, lacking the energy to hold my attention span in check. My bedtime prayers have been half-asleep and I read a chapter of Romans this morning basically without retaining a word. Naturally, being the person I am, the next inevitable link in this chain is guilt: I am failing. I should be ashamed of myself. Reading the bible for (x) minutes isn't anywhere near enough.
Happily, I have come far enough to recognize that distorted chain of thought and to step back to get some perspective. Being surrounded by Christian friends in the same life situation—juggling God, studying, exams, and work on top of other things—has helped me to recognize that this is a season in my life. Just a season—a temporary period of less effective Bible study sessions and a few more wandering thoughts in church, but a period that will end.
You may be experiencing a similar or worse season and feeling spiritually ineffective because of it. I would encourage you to remember that God understands your circumstances and is more interested in your committed effort to make time for Him than in how many verses you read this morning or how much of the sermon you can quote by heart. I think one of the most important spiritual exercises in times of exhaustion is refusing to let it halt your spiritual routine completely, instead finding ways to make that routine more manageable in your present season.
That might mean reading a Psalm in the morning instead of a chapter of Acts plus a devotion plus a commentary on the book of Deuteronomy. It might mean bringing a pad and pen to take some notes in church. It might mean doing your bedtime prayer at five in the afternoon. The most important thing is that our effort never stops, that our desire to carve out time and energy for our Savior is never doused. It's okay if that effort has to take a different form because of things going on in your life: the Lord understands that. Our job is to give our firstfruits to Him—the best we can offer in our circumstances.
Even if our firstfruits look a little out-of-season right now, we can trust that a better season is coming. God will see us through, and He will bless our commitment to Him even in the weary times.