What Do When We Are Tired
Have you ever been so tired you couldn’t even stand up? Been there. Done that. Let me tell you about a season in my life I was always tired….
This is an excerpt from my new book, Lessons in the Desert.
At some point, we have all been in an emotional and spiritual wilderness called the desert. The desert is a time in life when we feel alone, hurt, and unsure. Your desert season may be a difficult stage of marriage, widowhood, hearing a life-altering diagnosis, or parenting a wayward child. It can take all different forms yet we have our one true God who can turn it into an oasis.
My own desert season began six years ago. As I sat on the cold table in the doctor’s office with just a thin, faded gown covering my bare legs. I shivered and sighed. It wasn’t the first time I’d been here. The last time, I broke down in tears in front of a doctor I barely knew. He clumsily handed me tissues with a hurried look on his face. While he listened, I told him things I couldn’t even tell my mother. He barely glanced at me. Without empathy or counsel, he gave me a prescription and sent me on my way. I felt unheard and dismissed.
Two years later, I met with my Ob-Gyn . She prescribed medication and recommended that I talk with someone about my depression, the first person in my desert season to do so. She agreed that pregnancy had changed my hormones and, even three years later, it was normal to still have anxiety and depression. The relief that came from her validation felt long overdue.
Now, I sat in the waiting room of my new family doctor. After three years of medication, I knew I wouldn’t cry. I kept a straight face and spoke factually so I could get my antidepressant medication refilled. Even though I seemed strong on the outside, I still had anxiety about this appointment because my husband was in the medical field and knew all the doctors and they knew me.
I wondered, “Would this new doctor ask about the depression? Would he question my sanity for needing antidepressants? How much of my heart did I need to spill to him? Would he suggest a counselor? Something else? Would the staff talk about me behind closed doors?”
To my relief, he came in, refilled the prescription, and was on his way. I sighed, thankful that I didn’t have to explain myself. I’m not ashamed to be on medication for depression, but sometimes I feel awkward explaining why I need it. It just seems to me that after six years post-pregnancy that my hormones should have leveled out by now.
Yet the truth is that no amount of Scripture reading, prayer, or going to church helped me escape the clutches of depression. That’s where the medication comes in. I am so thankful for the medicine that helps me see my depression without the fog of confusion. While it does not “cure” feeling empty and alone, it helps me see the light of God’s truth, which is my only source of true joy. Medication doesn’t take away the pain, darkness, or feelings of despair; it simply allows me to look up to Jesus.
Everyone experiences suffering, and it comes in all different ways and methods. No matter how you find yourself suffering, it’s important to know that pride may keep you from asking for help. As Edward T. Welch writes in his book on depression, “Hope will only grow in the ground of humility.”
If hope grows in humility, then pride keeps us stuck in the desert. You may be too worried about being “found out” that you sin. You may struggle to ask for help. Perhaps you worry that you aren’t “Christian” enough. Pride is an ugly sin, and I’ll admit that for me, it kept me in the darkness way longer than necessary. Let’s not let pride keep us from growing in humility and Christ-likeness.
God met me in my weakness and revealed a close presence I would have never felt otherwise. He will meet you there too. Because of our suffering, we gain wisdom, grow in empathy, and more clearly see the hope we have in heaven.
But no matter how much we recognize the benefits of our suffering, we still wonder why we’re going through it. Welch writes, “The reason Scripture doesn’t give clear guidelines for assigning responsibility (for our suffering) is that it is not essential for us to know precise causes. This is good news: you don’t have to know the exact cause of suffering in order to find hope and comfort.”
You and I may never know why God has allowed suffering in our lives. Maybe you are like me and desperately want God to answer. For me, God has said this, “ I am enough.”
The reason for our suffering is not as important as looking to God for comfort.
So began my search for God in this desert season. So many questions lingered, and sometimes still linger in my mind about the kindness of God in all of this heartache. God is faithfully teaching me to search His word, to let Him speak through the pages of the Bible, and to let my heart be still before Him in prayer.
Maybe you are in your own season right now or have just finished a desert season. Maybe your entire life feels like a desert. No matter where you are, we will walk through this desert season together. At the end of this study, I hope you walk away with a better understanding of God and with a deeper peace grounded in Him, even if your circumstances never change.
May you listen to the voice of God through His word so you experience the peace, hope, and comfort we have in Him, even in the desert.
Get the rest of the devotional here. *Limited number of physical copies available.*