Gordon MacDonald tells of a time when as a child he was traveling with his family on a dusty, deserted road in Canada. It was late, and the family had been traveling the entire day. They were lost, tired, and were becoming irritable with one another. They could not find a motel, and the few cabins that they did see had “No Vacancy” signs in the window. The trip had begun with excitement, but all of that had worn away as they pushed ahead thinking that down the road somewhere there had to be a place to sleep. MacDonald continues by saying:
I have often recalled the feelings and frustration of that late-night, dark-road experience whenever my life seemed to momentarily turn into a mindless or spirit less journey crammed with events (not experiences) and contacts (not relationships). In such confounding periods, my sense is that one feels like my family did that night in Canada. Where is all of this going? What does it mean? And, how will I know when the destination has been reached? Why has this exciting trip suddenly turned into a wearisome journey? Where will I find tranquility again? Restoring Your Spiritual Passion, pp. 7-8
I can relate to this.
There are times when life has left me feeling tired and weary. These feelings are not the result of one incident or disappointment. Rather, weariness seems to be the result of numerous difficult situations stacked on top of one another. The compilation of these situations over time can be draining and exhausting.
Does this describe where you are or where you have been?
Prolonged weariness can leave one feeling tired, depleted, and feeling as if you have not made much progress. If you are like many, you may even come to a place where you become numb to what is happening in your life.
During times when I feel particularly weary, I have found it helpful to pursue simplicity in my life again. In other words, I re-visit my purpose for being alive and getting out of bed in the morning.
Some might push back and say, “My life is complicated. You are not telling me anything I don’t know by suggesting that I return to my purpose.”
I won’t argue with you.
Doing this, however, has been very helpful to me. Focusing again on the purpose for my life, my family, and my work can bring clarity and help life the fog. Eventually, I am in a better place to take the next step toward keeping my life in line with my purpose.
The following are a few realities I try to keep in mind during such times:
1. I have absolutely no control over so much of what happens in life. I can’t control the decisions and choices that others make. Very often life is very, very hard. Yet, I do have control over the choices and decisions that I make (Joshua 24:15). I can choose my attitude, my outlook, and the direction of my life.
2. I need to trust in God. I need to depend upon God for my life and my future. God is never weary or depleted. If I am not praying, it may be because I am either overconfident or my view of God is too small. I’ve noticed that the quality of my prayer life typically reflects my view of God.
3. I need to be proactive instead of passive. Stephen Covey encourages us to “choose with the end in mind.” Clarify your life’s mission. He suggests that we write eulogies that we would want our friends to read at our funeral. Proactive people step into life while passive people spend their lives waiting for something to happen.
What is particularly helpful to you during seasons of weariness?