Are you tired?

SCRIPTURE:

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

STORY:

Have you ever watched an Iron Man Triathlon on TV? I remember watching them as a kid and being somewhat disturbed watching people reach the finish line, as they’re peeing (among other things) all over themselves, having completely lost control of all bodily functions.

This is the only analogy I can come up with lately on how I feel emotionally. I’m exhausted and I have no control. I’ve had the weirdest meltdowns lately, triggered by the most ridiculous things. I was beginning to ask myself, “is there something clinically wrong with me?”

I was talking to a friend of mine recently, telling her I feel totally crazy, and she said, “Sara. You are at the end of the most intense emotional year of your life. You are at the finish line of an emotional iron man. It makes sense that you feel out of control. It’s OK to give yourself some grace and rest.”

Oh. Give myself some grace. Why hadn’t I thought of that before?

I think sometimes, especially as leaders, we just plow through our lives in the name of “church” or “leadership” or “mission” without allowing ourselves to heal when we’ve been hurt. I was a college athlete, and I was a classic case of “playing too soon after an injury.” It’s how I tore my hip flexor — a chronic inability to fully rest.

As I’m looking back on this year, I’m realizing that I was pretty severely injured in May, and I spent a little bit of time rehabbing my broken and bruised self, but there are places in me that have not fully healed — and now in some ways, they’re worse than they were before.

I’m carving out time to stop and grieve. I’m asking God hard questions that I need Him to help me resolve in my heart. I’m getting some counseling and I’m re-opening some wounds that need to be cleaned out and properly sewn back together.

I’m doing all these things in step with my marriage and my ministry and the rest of my life & relationships — learning the unforced rhythms of grace.

Walking when He tells me to walk. Letting Him throw me over His shoulder & carry me when I can’t. Crying when I need to cry. Screaming and shaking my fists and asking Him hard questions when I feel like it’s all so unfair, because He can handle it.

Learning that being in pain and wrestling with big questions in my heart does not disqualify me from leadership. It draws me nearer to the heart of the only One who can resolve my questions and heal my broken heart.

So when we’re stumbling through the last leg of the race, peeing all over ourselves, falling every few steps — we lean in. We let Him show us the way. We climb into His arms and let Him carry us when we need to. His burden is light. His way is perfect. He hasn’t left us. He never will.

SONG:

“Cecie’s Lullaby”
Steffany Gretzinger
The Undoing

Listen:
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Playlist from previous weeks:
Spotify  |  Apple Music

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The beauty of process.

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One of the things I miss the most about living in Tennessee is the fall. I used to love taking drives down back roads in Nashville when the leaves were changing colors. When I was in college in Arkansas, I’d drive across the entire state of Tennessee to visit my sister in Knoxville, talking to God and enjoying the beauty of His creation as it transitioned to another season.

Last week as we drove from Waco up to Lawrence, Kansas, I got to see those fall colors again. As we drove, I began to wonder what was actually happening scientifically to those leaves when they were so beautiful in the fall.

Trees spend the summer months going through photosynthesis and storing up food so that when the winter comes, they can rest. As they begin to shut down their food making factories to go into rest mode for the winter, the chlorophyll disappears from the leaves. As the green fades with the chlorophyll, we begin to see the colors of autumn that we admire so much each year — a color that’s actually been there all along, we just couldn’t see it.

We always want to say that the trees are dead in the winter, but they’ve really just gone into a state of rest. The wood part of the tree lives, because it’s rooted. The plant itself is always connected to the life source. 

But why do the leaves die? 

Leaves have to die and shed because over time, they’re damaged one of three ways: by insects, disease, or weather.

We’re pretty similar as humans. We have to go through this process of renewal from time to time, because we get damaged the same way the leaves do. Maybe it’s attack of the enemy (insects), or perhaps we’re dealing with disease (heart issues), or maybe it’s just life circumstances (weather). Whatever the case, we too need to shed some things off once in a while. It’s the only way to keep bearing fruit.

But through the process, we are always connected to the life source. 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” -2 Corinthians 4:16

…and even nature knows that the process is beautiful. Because God made it, too. We long to see the colors of autumn every year. The colors of renewal and refining. The colors of change. The colors that signify the coming of winter… a season of rest, that will spring up new life in the season to follow.