Sunday, September 16, 2012

when you're tired, and maybe even exhausted

Fatigue plagues us and we wonder why. What more can we fit into the day?  What new bits of information can we squeeze into our heads?  How many activities can our children experience?  How many more dollars could we earn today and how many different ways can we think of to spend them?  What pretty thing can we buy to brighten our home or our wrist for a little happiness?  What game can we download and compete in for a little fun or what table can we place our bet on for the thrill of it all?

Is it me or is anyone else running a race that is neither trained for nor entered willfully?

I have a few tech-savvy, apple-owning (i-what-not) friends who share a joke with me - To screen or Not to screen, This is the question. And as you read this, you know I do.  I know you do too.  And at what cost?

My kids want to participate in activities like all their friends, but they don't or can't know what they haven't learned the hard way - too many "good things" can add up to being a "bad thing."

Though I don't earn luxury in my part-time job at the school, I make more in just one hour than an African Pastor will in a month.  And oh how fast I can spend those wages on silly things like paper and books and ice cream.

... Sometimes I want to just live. 

But I'm too exhausted to do that.

Too tired to see, to fatigued to touch, too drained to really listen, too exhausted to talk, too sleepy to truly do anything that really matters. And what is living if not those things?  I don't know me and I lose sight of God, and breathing has become the inhalation of my news feed and the exhalation of my current status.

"Back in the day, students may have meandered through the Fine Arts section of the library to pick up a book. They may have even sat and spent some quality time alone without any distractions. There was a time when spending time reflecting and getting to know yourself did not involve vibrating interruptions every two seconds." - Gabby Tilevetz (college blogger

I once read that with higher machinery and technology, we've filled the time saved with expectations of just more busy-work rather than really enjoying our lives and the time we saved.  Take washing machines.  Now we have the expectation of owning hundreds of outfits and that they will all be meticulously spotless, whereas before this lovely contraption (for which I am extremely thankful), we had a few garments that we washed weekly in the basin and cared for the best we could, wearing an apron to cook in and graciously understanding if there was a bit of dust on our neighbor's cuff.  Was it worth the convenience, if we've merely hijacked our time with piles of laundry and excessive spending on clothing?  I'm not sure I can say yes.

Though I don't know how many beats this heart will perform in the course of my life, I know the One who counts them.  And I am so hungry to make the beats matter.  I want to really live this life and not waste it.  

"Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days." - Ephesians 5:16 (NLT)

I'm not calling names - judgement of evil still belongs firmly in His hand and not in mine.  But why are the days evil?  Could it be perhaps because we've forgotten to stop and see the holy in each one?

This is why I carry around books of pretty paper and ribbon full of my counting . . . because each day is the gift of opportunity.  To do what?  To worship in thankfulness. To "know He is God" (Psalm 46:10). 

Because I'm a writer and when I write down the gifts, I begin to look for what the gift is now. And if I'm ready to write it, ready to thank Him for it, I'm really living it for all it's worth.  Like these:

- her soft curly hair in my face - my friend and the twin sister I always wanted, right here in my arms as we pray for one another

- hoodies

- another astounding sunset painted bright red and orange, peering through all those leaves, and my awe at how He can do that differently every day

- the way my son still hugs me in the hallway when we pass, and the way he still calls me "Mama."  There's no way I'm rushing him out of either.

- my husband's embrace, and the way his arms can make every awful thing disappear, if only for a moment - it's still relief

- a missionary, ready to be sent, "if only to love one of them" to India and tears to remind me that God loves each of us that much

- the light teal-blue color He painted my daughter's eyes, and the way they take in everything before she speaks

"Why do we want to spend eternity with God, but we don't want to spend time with Him?"  -Mark Batterson


I'm tired again today, and yes, even exhausted.  It's early on the Sabbath (which means to catch your breath) and I'm already counting down the hours until my nap.  I'll make myself be still right now, though.  Choose to stop and see. Decide to be still and know who He is.  Sing my guts out in worship, because He deserves it, and I will become more undignified than this if I need to.  Consume the Bread and savor the taste of it on the tongue of my heart.  Rejoice in Him, because of who He is and all He's done.

The Giver of all good things.  The Father of lights.  My Provider and the One who gives each moment to be lived and not squandered.

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