As a person who struggles with depression, I am too familiar with what it means to be weary. But that is only one kind of weariness.
There is another kind of weariness common to all people, not just those, like me, who know depression. Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not a mental health care professional. I know what I have experienced and what I have done to combat it in my own life. And I read scripture and I find it to be very practical in addressing common symptoms of daily life. I speak from that place of knowing.
In the New Testament there are 6 occurrences of the Greek word “ekkakeo” which means to be utterly spiritless, to be wearied out, exhausted.
In Luke 18:1, Jesus tells his disciples to never give up praying. Interesting. By the very mention of it, Jesus indicates that we might grow weary in prayer. Perhaps we do not all pray, but doesn’t a one way conversation or relationship also become exhausting? Giving of ourselves and not seeing a return is wearisome.
Thought: communication that goes unanswered leads to weariness.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16 that we should not give up. The whole chapter is about ministry in the new covenant. We share the gospel not for ourselves, but to bring glory to Jesus. But we are not all in ministry and sharing the gospel is not everyone’s concern. It seems that daily responsibilities, working for something we believe in, or going to a job every day to make ends meet can also become wearisome.
Thought: responsibilities of life and a cause worth fighting for can cause weariness.
In Galatians 6:9 and 2 Thessalonians 3:13, Paul reminds believers to do the right thing even when others are not. It is a common experience to be committed to the right thing while others around us care very little about integrity, honesty, values, hardwork, generosity, compassion – all the attributes that make being human worthwhile. It can be wearying to do the right thing when others don’t seem to care.
Thought: Doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest thing.
In Ephesians 3:13, Paul tells the believers not to let his imprisonment and trials make them weary in their faith walk. Suffering comes in all shapes and sizes and we all experience it to some degree or another. Walking with someone who is suffering can drain the most compassionate of people.
Thought: suffering has the potential to produce weariness in the sufferer and the one walking alongside.
Strategies to combat weariness exist. It doesn’t matter so much what causes a person to be weary, the same tactics can be helpful in nearly every situation.
A few of these strategies can be found in 1 Kings 19:3-9. To get the full story, you need to read chapters 18 and 19, but take a moment to read the linked scripture above.
Elijah just finished defeating the prophets of Baal, one of the most important confrontations of his ministry. Afterwards, he went to the top of Mount Carmel and prayed for rain to come and end the three year drought the land experienced. He didn’t pray just once, he prayed seven times for rain to come.
When Jezebel heard what he had done in defeating the prophets of Baal, she was furious and threatened to kill him. He flees the area and goes to Beersheba where he leaves his servant.
Going alone into the wilderness, he sat under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He tells the Lord that he has had enough. In other words, he is weary!
And then he does a super spiritual thing! He takes a nap. An angel wakes him and feeds him and then he naps again. And then the angel brings him more food.
The Lord strengthened Elijah by meeting his needs for rest and food. Elijah put himself in a place to be strengthened by going to a quiet spot alone and meeting with God. Combined, this provided what he needed for the next portion of his journey.
When I am weary, I find I neglect self-care. I run on empty in regard to sleep, food, water, alone time, time listening to God, time talking to God about what is bothering me…Elijah is a great example. He told God he was weary; he admitted he couldn’t go on like this. He went to the desert alone to meet with God and God renewed his strength in the most practical ways.
The account goes on in chapter 19, so keep reading. You will find that God showed himself to Elijah in tangible ways and then provided him a ministry partner who would be his successor.
What type of weariness do you experience? Are you trying to do it alone? Would good self-care put you in a place of strength again to continue the good fight? Does trusting God to renew you seem practical?
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.Numbers 6:24-26