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:
YouTube  |  iTunes

Playlist from previous weeks:
Spotify  |  Apple Music

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Therefore, we hope.

SCRIPTURE:

Lamentations 3:21-24

But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

STORY:

I have learned to lament this year in ways I’m not sure I ever thought I would in my entire lifetime. Certainly not ways I hoped I ever would. I don’t think anyone ever sits around and thinks, “Gosh, I really hope I go through something so tragic that the mark on my life would be that I know how to grieve well.”

What I’m learning, though, is that leaning into pain these last six months has actually expanded my capacity for hope. Loss leaves gaping holes in our hearts and somehow when we hand them over to Jesus, they end up becoming greater spaces for hope to live.

A few weeks ago I was walking to a coffee shop to meet some girls, and it was still kind of dark outside. I could just barley see light beginning to come up behind the silhouette of the Wasatch Mountains on the east side of the city. I was praying for a friend of mine as I walked, asking God if He had any encouraging words for her that day.

I felt like He directed my attention to the mountains, and the way the sun was rising behind them. “Mercies new,” I thought. “They always rise, even over the mountains in front of us.”

I love the way these words are tucked right into the middle of Lamentations, a book in which the title literally means, “the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping.” We grieve and we ache and we lay it all out at the feet of Jesus, because He can handle it. He’s so familiar with our suffering. He already went there for us.

And then we have that “but” moment.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. His love never ceases. His mercies never end. He is faithful. I will hope in Him.

I don’t know what your mountain of impossibility is, but I sure know the feeling of staring up at it. Here’s what I’m certain of, though: His mercies will rise, even over our mountains.

So we write these words like a promise on our hearts. He never ceases to make beauty from ashes. His love is endless.

SONG:

“Constant One”
Steffany Gretzinger
The Undoing

(Purchase on iTunes or listen on YouTube)

Music from previous weeks:
Spotify Playlist  |  Apple Music Playlist