Lord of My Tiredness

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. –Mother Teresa

Along similar lines, my husband has been known to say, “You know Jesus is really Lord when He is Lord of your tiredness.”

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to respond with love when I am tired. Tiredness causes my defenses to quickly fade into the background and makes way for center stage to be overrun with any manner of offensive behaviors. Slight infractions (ie. muddy boots tracking across kitchen floors, volumes turned too loudly on the computer, a dirty dish placed on the counter as soon as I let the dishwater out…) are suddenly viewed as felonies deliberately set against me. Seriously, it seems that when I am approaching the point of exhaustion, that’s when EVERYONE turns on me – interrupting, hindering, agitating, and otherwise depriving me of the peace and quiet to which I am entitled. I am entitled to peace and quiet, aren’t I?

And perhaps right there is where I first start to slip in loving. When I feel entitled to peace and quiet. When I feel I deserve the rest after I’ve served others for so long. When I think I am the one who needs a break. And in my tiredness, instead of loving, I snap.

Any pretense toward godliness is suddenly stripped away, replaced with a caustic attitude that bubbles toward the surface of my psyche faster than lava overflows from a volcano. Instead of pouring forth loving scriptures with which I have so recently filled my mind – as in, five minutes removed from my devotional time with Jesus – I spew out angry words of frustration. Words that are meant to strike back at the one responsible for my irritation. Except, the one truly responsible is not the one receiving my vented emotions. The one responsible is the face staring back at me when I glance in the mirror. For the truth of the matter is, no one can “make me mad,” unless I allow them that privilege.

God has given me a power to overcome my bent toward blowing it. It is the Holy Spirit living within me who has the strength to breathe out self-control when I’m tempted to exhale nastiness. But I have to make a deliberate choice to give Him the freedom to not only move in me, but to move me toward a godly reaction. To my dismay, I frequently lean toward the immaturity of disregarding His prodding. Ignoring His gentle nudging in my spirit, I defiantly turn my back and choose my own way. And subsequently, fail in loving. I fail in being genuine in my faith. I fail in allowing Christ to truly be Lord of this moment. Of this life.

Submerged in selfishness instead of selflessness, I fail to reveal the truth that “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world,” as I release the reins of my tongue. And I am appalled, at times, by what comes forth. By the cruel words that have found their way not only to the surface, but all the way into the heart of one I love. After the fact, I am crushed by the crushing blows I have dealt another.

While regret is present and apologies are extended and forgiveness is given, I cannot take back the words that were spoken. I cannot undo the hurt that was inflicted. I can only ask God to bring healing. I can only trust His touch to make all things new. I can only yield to His love to be lived through me… the next time. Because I sure didn’t give sway to Him this time.

In the midst of this messiness of my soul, I find myself thanking God for His genuine love. A love that tirelessly extends grace to this daughter found grasping for it time and again. A love that is always extraordinary – no matter how small or large it may appear.

It’s true, you know, it is hard to respond with love when we’re tired. Hard… yet not impossible. But it will require something of us. It takes a yielding heart filled with genuine love. A love that gives God what He is entitled to and seeks no place of its own… even in tiredness.

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I Can’t Help But Wonder… Do We Exhaust Thee?

Don’t you just love how kids misunderstand song lyrics and subsequently fill in the blanks with their own version? At the age of three, my daughter did that with the words, “In our family, we communicate.” For days, she was skipping about the house singing, “In our family, we can eat some cake!” Silly girl, everyone knows that our family prefers pie.

In similar fashion, I once had a friend who overheard her daughter singing in her bedroom. As my friend drew near to listen, she found little Emily seated on the bed singing at the top of her lungs, “We exhaust Thee. We exhaust Thee. We exhaust Thee, O Lord!” My friend could not help but quip that her daughter most likely had a more accurate perception of reality than adults did when they sang the intended lyrics of “We Exalt Thee.” And while it’s funny to think that young Emily may have clearly portrayed the exhaustion I, as a mother, would feel as caregiver for children as needy as those our Heavenly Father parents, I had to wonder about the truth of her statement. For while it seems true that my incessant neediness would indeed exhaust God, the Bible indicates that is not the case. The truth is, God never gets tired. And the BIG miracle within this truth is that God never gets tired… of me. Nothing makes Him roll His eyes and try to find a place where my whining voice can no longer reach His ears. Nothing.

In the midst of life’s challenges – from the ones that change abruptly to those that linger interminably – it’s refreshing to know that God remains constant. Unchangeable. Unshakeable. Unrelenting. Uninterrupted. Just constantly God.

Isaiah 40:28 portrays it like this:
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

Contrary to little Emily’s song, God, who has formed and sustains all things, is not prone to exhaustion. The One who fashioned the galaxies and flung the stars to grace the backdrop of midnight skies never once grows weary at the small task of caring for His children. Just as surely as He holds the universe in place with a whisper and calls the stars by name, so He speaks to the cries of our hearts and stills us with tender hand outstretched. Always wakeful. Ever watchful. Maintaining His sleepless vigil over us, keeping us within His protection night and day. And while we may run in circles exhausting ourselves, God is not susceptible to our soul-weariness. He continues His watch with unrelenting love and a patience that is truly, well… inexhaustible.

The next time you find yourself being tempted to believe that God is tired of you, I invite you to change your tune. Turn those mixed-up words of “We exhaust Thee” into the praises of “We exalt Thee,” then climb into your Daddy’s lap and nestle down for a peaceful nap while He keeps watch over you.

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