Perplexed, exhausted, discouraged, fearful, overwhelmed, beaten down, anxious, alone, cast down. I have personally experienced many of these emotions just in the past six months! But, I have talked to enough women to know that I am not alone. Today women of all ages are wearied by overwhelming responsibilities, pressures, stress, unmet desires, afflictions, and the devastation that sin has wreaked in their lives and the lives of those they love.
- Single women grow weary of being alone.
- Mothers grow weary from the constant demands of managing home life, caring for the needs of others, and worrying about how to equip their children for a world bent against them.
- Those who care for children or parents who battle the darkness through mental illness grow weary of watching loved ones suffer while grieving their own loss.
- Family members grow weary of waiting for loved ones who are slaves to sin and the world to repent and believe.
- Career women grow weary of travel, deadlines, competition, and the loads they are often expected to carry.
- Older women (with less energy than they once had), find themselves busier than ever as they care for children, grandchildren, and aging parents, along with other responsibilities. They are weary too.
These are women who love Christ and desire to serve Him in the places He has called them. Many of them carry heavy burdens and bear many sorrows, even as they faithfully do the work God has called them to. Still, when God given responsibilities, along with the heaviness of life, press upon us and weigh us down, we can grow weary and begin to wonder if we’re doing something wrong. Thus, in seasons such as these, it’s always good to start by examining both our thoughts and works in the light of God’s Word.
We might begin by looking at what we are doing and why. Over the course of my life, I have come to recognize my temptation to try to meet needs that I know I could meet, and would like to meet, but may not be the work God has prepared for me! Through ongoing prayer, we must learn to pray for God’s discernment in the use of our time, gifts, and treasures. Yet, even then, as was the case for me in a recent demanding season, God’s voice can seem hard to hear.
And so we must also ask God to search our hearts and reveal where sin may be at work. Perhaps unbelief is driving us to take control or manipulate people or circumstances. Maybe something we want has become more important to us than our relationship with Christ. We can easily miss the subtle sins that lie beneath seemingly good intentions and desires. Allowing ourselves to focus on our pressures, unmet desires, and heartaches can lead to weariness of soul.
One morning, after several months of wrestling with significant weariness, God’s Spirit directed me to say no to something good and come away with Him. The choice was clear. I needed to let go of something I had planned and would enjoy in order to receive something better. That something better was sitting long at Jesus’ feet.
As I sat in the quiet of a hotel room, the Spirit led me beside the still waters of God’s Word and restored my soul through Psalm 51. As I joined David in the prayer he had prayed during a deeply troubling season in his own life, I was reminded that when the Spirit of God revives our hearts, we can hear God’s voice more clearly. David’s quest for reconciliation and restored fellowship with God led him to cry out for His mercy.
- Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
- Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
- Restore to me the joy of my salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit, Psalm 51.
Renewed and Restored through Repentance
Psalm 51 is a prayer of repentance. David understood that his biggest problem was the sin that separated him from fellowship with his Lord. That’s our biggest problem as well! We might think that our greatest need is healing, a better job, a husband, a more loving husband, more money, more appreciation, or (fill in the blank). But Psalm 51 suggests that joy and gladness are byproducts of righteousness. Thus, because we are naturally tempted to blame our circumstances or people for our troubles, a good place for us to begin is by praying as David did: “Have mercy on me, O God!”
If anyone felt the weight of unrelenting pressure and responsibility, it was David. Yet, Israel’s king knew that what he needed more than wisdom, discernment, or victory in battle, was to be forgiven of sin he had previously been blinded to. He understood that true peace could be received only through a deeply repentant heart. David learned first hand that, only when his heart was cleansed and his spirit renewed, could he do the work He had been called to do with joy and for God’s glory. Oh, how we need to remember these things as well!
Praise God for Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection opened the way for us to be forgiven and cleansed of all unrighteousness. Our acknowledgement and repentance of sin restores the joy of our salvation which can grow dim in the midst of weariness, fear, disappointment, and overwhelming pressure. God brings the Gospel to bear in our lives by exposing hidden sin, teaching us truths that can defeat lies we have believed, and reminding us who we are and what we have been given in Christ.
That morning, as I was rejoicing that the joy of my salvation had been restored, my eyes fell upon the second part of David’s prayer: Uphold me with a willing spirit.
By this humble request, David was acknowledging that He had neither power nor desire to accomplish God’s purposes apart from God’s gracious provision. And neither do we. This encourages us by reminding us that God not only graciously upholds us when we are weary in well doing, but also empowers us with the desire and will to serve others for His sake.
Although I was still physically tired after my quiet morning in that hotel room, my soul had been refreshed and my heart revived. But something else happened in the days that followed as well. As I prayerfully relinquished all the work of my hands before God, the Spirit brought clarity and wisdom that helped me discern the way forward.
God never promises that we won’t become bone tired, fight discouragement, or need to lay down the life we expected. He cautions us against envying those whose load seems lighter than ours. He warns us of the insidious sin of grumbling and whining that only serves to choke the joy out of us. Jesus knows the burdens we carry, the fears we fight, the temptations we face, and our battle with the world and the flesh because He experienced all of these things too. So He calls us to come away with Him, to be still, and to remember that He is Almighty God. He exhorts us to examine ourselves, repent of all revealed sin, and trust that He faithfully upholds all who love Him with gospel grace.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” Galatians 6:9.
Are you feeling weary? Do you sometimes feel like you just can’t face another day let alone your fear of the future? Deep down, do you wonder, at times, if God really hears your prayers for help? He is listening, of course, but He knows that the only way we will hear His voice is when we:
- Run to His Word.
- Remember that, though we deserve the eternal wrath of God, we’ve been rescued and set free from sin and death through the shed blood of our Savior Jesus Christ.
- Repent of seeking happiness and peace in this world, and depending on our own wisdom and strength to do good works.
- Rejoice in a Savior who promises to uphold us with a willing spirit.
- Refuse to give up, remembering that in due season all who love Christ and persevere in faith will reap an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
While there will be times in life when we feel too weak and weary to keep running the race God has assigned to us, He promises that, in Christ, He will uphold us! “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down,” Psalm 145:14.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you,