The title of today's blog post probably caught the eye of some of you who are looking for help due to chronic fatigue. We do live in a fast-paced world that demands limitless energy. Our weekends are no longer used for relaxation and rest, they are used for shuttling children to numerous activities, smashing in all the household chores we have no time for during the week, and worst of all; office work that we did not finish in our scheduled working hours.
I cannot deny that the electronic gizmos that bring us conveniences like internet anywhere also have become a curse that make us accessible constantly and at any time of the day or night. As I have been out and about over the Christmas shopping season I was amazed at how many times I saw people standing in the store device in hand sending or replying to a message of some sort. There are days when even I think there is seemingly no escape from work and responsibilities. (Putting up a "Do Not Disturb" message only seems to get me more messages of people asking me what is wrong!) I believe we are simply worn out from over working our minds and our physical bodies.
The relationship issues that plague families today also take a huge toll on our well being. So many people living in destructive life situations, ungodly marriages, and tumultuous family dynamics add an enormous emotional burden into the mix. If you are like me, there are times when an emotional burden weighs far heavier and is more exhausting than many physical ones would be. Compounding the problems is the lack of solid biblical teaching in most churches and the lack of pastors offering truly biblical counseling for the issues that plague their flock, leading to unresolved spiritual issues. Christians find little help or hope in the methods of the world. Looking at all these factors it is no wonder that many people are living tired.
Let me ask you, has the constant tiredness, weariness and fatigue caused you to turn toward God or away from Him? Do you find yourself turning to escapism (food, excessive entertainment, fantasy), or drug or alcohol use instead? Have you become a grumbler and complainer? Are you full of self-pity and woe?
Have you decided that there must be something wrong with you for you to feel this way? In my years in the medical field I have seen many, many people who doctor shop looking for the one specialist who will tell them what is wrong with them. They eat up hundreds of hours of time and run up tens of thousands of dollars in bills as they search for that diagnosis. Now, don't misunderstand me; when a person is ill they should seek medical care! However far too many people have nothing physically wrong with them causing their fatigue and weariness.
We are both material and immaterial beings. The material part of you is all that can be physically touched, and the immaterial is everything else. The immaterial is your mind, will, emotions, feelings, soul, desires, thoughts, beliefs, and so on. When it is determined that there is no physical problem with the material part of you, the only alternative is a problem in the immaterial or spiritual part of you. This is the domain of the Spirit of God and explains why methods focused on treating the body (psychotropic and other medications, therapies) don't work. It is not primarily a physical issue, it is a spiritual one.
Would it surprise you to know that Jesus also suffered with fatigue and tiredness? While Jesus did not suffer fatigue for the same reasons many of us do it is important to know that He also struggled with tiredness, weariness, physical weakness, and had to deal with relationship issues that sapped His strength. Jesus lived in human form so He completely understands the things we suffer and struggle with in our humanity.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb 4:15-16 (NASB)
Please understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is not looking down on your fatigue and weakness, He sympathizes with you and knows your need. When Jesus was weary and burdened He went to the Father, and you can too.
You may be thinking that my "cure" is too simplistic to work. Perhaps God is too busy to be bothered with your problems and cares or maybe you have tried that in the past and it just didn't work for you. If these are your thoughts, then I would say that we have hit upon a problem larger than the daily fatigue you live with. It is possible that God has allowed this issue into your life to expose some sinful thoughts, beliefs, and desires that have been lurking in your heart. He intends to use the fatigue as a vehicle to expose and uproot them!
What is going on in your heart as you struggle with fatigue? Are you wishing to just get better? Are you angry that you feel like this all the time? Are you envious of others who seem to have limitless energy? Are you resentful that you cannot fulfill your daily desires? There is nothing wrong with wanting and desiring these things, but your response to being denied reveals what is going on in your heart.
It is when we are denied what we want that our heart reveals what and who we truly worship. We are so prone to wandering away from the Lord in our affections and our desires are so strong that we develop attachments to things other than God and they become our objects of worship. They become our idols.
Is it possible you have made relief from fatigue an idol of your heart? If so, there is only one biblical response to recognizing it: repentance and confession. Turning away from worshiping the false god and turning toward worship of the true and living God.
As you turn toward Him, you will find a renewed desire to pray for His will to take over your life. You will find yourself praying as Paul did, asking God to display His power in the midst of human weakness.
Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:8-10 (NASB)
As your heart is changed toward worshiping God there will be changes that begin to take place in everyday life. Others will see that you are no longer fixated on "the cure" or your fatigue but that you are focused on honoring God and giving Him glory even in the midst of your tiredness. You will find contentment in your circumstances and hope that despite human frailty you can and will accomplish all that God has determined you will do in life. He will be living His life in and through you to those around you.
Your character will be refined in the process and you will become a living epistle to others who struggle and suffer. They will find help, healing, and hope in Christ as they watch you overcome! It begins with recognizing that you need to examine yourself, ask God to examine your heart (Ps. 139:23-24) and then confess with repentance the idols that live there. Seek His wisdom and direction through His Word and begin to lean heavily on His strength when yours fails you.