But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2Corinthians 4:7).
I am not sure about you, but I can sure tell you there are many times I am completely fatigued that it escapes the human consciousness of simply being beyond tired. My body languidly moves along throughout the day — moment by moment, move by move — each step a little harder and a little harder. My mind, well, it’s as sluggish as my body. My speech is slurred. My words are jumbled and incoherent. By the end of the day, let alone the week, I am totally done in.
Have you ever felt that way? It doesn’t matter if you are working out of the home in a workplace, working in home as a homemaker, or working in ministry for the Lord. Sometimes we reach a place within ourselves where we simply think we cannot make one more step.
That place of one more step is exactly where I found myself this past week.
I am doing what I have always dreamed of doing — writing and editing. But most of all, I’m serving God while doing the very things I love most. Yet several years ago, after weeks, days, and many, many long hours of planning, writing, editing and all the other little jobs that go into writing and publishing for this brand, new magazine, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I was getting up at 6 a.m. to begin my day with quiet solitude with my Lord only to immediately launch myself into the ins and outs of being a managing editor. Sometimes I stopped for lunch, but most of the time I did not. The only times I did stop was to go and check on my then eighth-grade daughter in the next room doing her school assignments (I also home schooled my daughter). By the time my husband got home from work, I had mentally checked out.
I made dinner and fed my family. Afterwards, I went right back to work at my desk in my new makeshift office that my daughter has lovingly named, “The Shattered Room.” Most nights I worked until 1 or 2 a.m. until so exhausted, I walked to my bed and fell in. However, my mind did not cease. It but kept running, with all these thoughts of what I needed to do when I got back up at 6.
After a few weeks, I hit a wall and fell face down. I could not, mentally, get up. Physically, I picked myself up and sat myself back at my desk one night, ready to work some more, when I heard a small voice say, “Enough.”
I don’t know why, but as much as I knew I should not because I had so much work to do, I stopped and left my office. The next few days, which happened to be the weekend, I did not return to my office. I could not. I was simply so tired from trying so hard to do it all that I had tried everything right out of my system. Does that make sense? Instead of relying on the power of God, I was relying on the power of Diane, which failed me miserably.
We are jars of clay, molded by the hand of God to do good works to His glory. Yet, when we begin to rest in our own weak power, we, the clay jars that we are, will break all to pieces. For me, I was determined not to fail God, not to fail my fellow colleagues, and not to fail my family that I forgot where my source of strength comes from — God, not me.
When we try to rest on our own strengths, we will ultimately, as I did, crumple and fall. However, it was when I fell that I was able to look up and sense God was over me speaking, “Diane, take My hand, and I will lift you up.”
After a few days of physical and mental relaxation, I woke up and began my quiet time, and God showed me this in Frances Roberts’ devotional book, Come Away My Beloved: “Your busyness wearies Me. Small wonder you are yourself fatigued! Your fretfulness grieves Me. I long to take it from you and give you instead the balm of Gilead. Be my ally. I will endow you with life so dynamic that you will serve Me before you have time to even think about putting forth the effort to do so…”
No matter what we do, we must learn to receive our strength from the Lord. When God decides to lead us “beside still waters… [to] restore our souls” (Psalm 23: 2-3), we should follow.