“ The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, ‘Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.’ He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out. Nourished by that meal, he walked forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb. When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep.” I Kings 19-7-9 (The Message)
I recently came out of a very busy season in life. While most of what we were participating in was fun, it was still busy and at times stressful and exhausting. I had promised myself a reward of sorts. Everything we were responsible for would be completed by June 11th. I gave myself permission on that Monday, after I saw our daughter off to school and my husband off to work, I would go back to sleep, in the bedroom and not wake up until it happened naturally. That was a goal I looked forward to as I neared the homeward stretch of our “busy.”
As seems to happen at times, life didn’t get my memo. Saturday afternoon, my husband came home from his weekly date with one of our kids and informed me we had an electrical problem with one of our cars. I called around that afternoon but it turns out we couldn’t get it looked at until Monday. Okay, so my plans changed slightly. “I’ll drop off the car early in the morning and still have time to come home, crawl into bed and sleep until I feel like waking up.”
I asked the mechanic to please call my husband when they figured out the problem, before performing any repairs, and then told our kids not to wake me up unless there was a true emergency. I slept all of one hour – until I was woken up to be told something important that couldn’t wait. After falling back to sleep, I was woken up again one hour later, this time having to deal with car issues that continued for the rest of the day. My nap was permanently interrupted by life once again.
Throughout the week I realized I had no energy or motivation to do anything. My creativity was bottomed out, my emotions were all over the board (weepy one minute, angry the next, feeling guilty for being angry and/or crying) and I soon realized I wasn’t crazy, I was just exhausted. I decided to give myself grace. I got my work done but didn’t work ahead. I went to bed early, read some “just for fun” books without an agenda and I spent a day running errands with my kids and helped plan a fun weekend.
Most importantly, though, I took time each morning, when the house was still quiet, to spend time filling up with my Heavenly Father. I took the time (and my emotions) to Him and asked how He wanted me to deal with them. He revealed some important “growth” areas I needed to work on this summer: giving up control, worry/fear is a sin, and live in the joy of life to name a few.
I realized exhaustion (mental, physical and spiritual) can be a breeding ground for many negative emotions (fear, worry, bitterness, anger to name a few) and the enemy likes to capitalize on the times our strength has been depleted. Filling up with God first and foremost is the best resource for combatting the enemy and his lies. Then, once we are feeling more spiritually strong, we can tackle the issues we have allowed to creep in, asking for God’s help to destroy them once and for all. By Friday, after having had four days to rest, fill up with my Father, and accept His challenge to grow this summer, I entered into the weekend with my family with joy and peace.
It’s important to remember that busyness, whether celebrations or challenges, can lead to exhaustion and if left unchecked, that exhaustion can open up the opportunity for dangerous cycles of negative emotions. Filling up with God and allowing Him to speak His truth into your life destroys those cycles and ushers peace back into our lives instead so we can remember our busy seasons with joy instead of sadness.
© Cheri Swalwell 2018