Hi, I’m Chelsey. I'm a full-time law student. I'm an introvert. I'm a people-pleaser. I'm the daughter of an endlessly hardworking mother. I’m the granddaughter of aging grandparents. I’m a sister to struggling siblings. I'm the best friend of a military woman. But most of all, I am just tired.
In a world that is so busy and filled with so much violence and sickness, I pray to have His eyes and His heart. I have been praying for years to see people as He does and to love people as He does. God has opened my heart to those around me, but with this gift comes a heavy burden.
Some days I come home from a long day at school or work and can happily know that I accomplished everything on my to-do list. Even so, as I am getting ready for bed and thinking about my loved ones, I realize that nothing I did today solved the world's problems. Strangers are still in agony and my loved ones are still suffering. Day after day I watch the people that I cannot help. Although I know God is moving in their lives, their pain remains excruciatingly real to them at this moment, and I cannot take it away for them. And even though I cognitively know that God is moving in this world and will bring them out of their suffering, my heart still wishes that I could eradicate the source of their pain.
My heart longs to make a difference and be a light for those around me, and for this reason, deciding to trust God and wait for His perfect timing weighs extremely heavy on my heart. Choosing to be an open resource to others rather than closing yourself off and turning a blind eye is draining. Intensely feeling, continually thinking, and actively choosing to remain connected to how others are feeling when you have your own to-do list is simply exhausting. Even though I want more than anything to be everything I can be for anyone who needs it—I am just tired.
I know that He has given us the power to endure all things, but my energy continues to fade. I continue to rely on His word and seek His truth, but sometimes I have been so tired for so long that I just need a jumpstart. Sometimes as Christians we are ashamed of this feeling. We tend to feel as though His love should be enough to sustain us and that seeking rest through any outlet other than the Bible or prayer means that we are not relying on Him to sustain us. We buckle down and continue pressing forward, attempting to do our best work for those around us but failing to do the best work for ourselves. We need to stop.
We all recognize that when a toddler refuses to nap there’s a spiral into disaster on the horizon, yet we remain bewildered as to why our emotional health starts to spiral when we refuse to rest? Much like a toddler, I have been refusing my spiritual naps.
God does NOT want us to live life constantly drained. In John 10:10 Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” He gave us passions and creative minds for a reason...to allow us to take a "spiritual nap." When He intricately created us, He gave us each special gifts that we can use to glorify Him. If you're like me, however, when you hear "to glorify Him" you think of what you can do to serve others and bring light to His name. If you're like me, we need to adjust our mindsets.
God gave us empathy, but He also gave us joy. Just like some people choose to detach themselves from painful situations to avoid feeling pain, some people choose to detach themselves from things they enjoy because they are busy spending so much time trying to hold the weight of everything else in their lives. Delighting in our gifts allows us to remain "shiny" and glowing with His love. This in turn truly does benefit those around us. After all, we never expect a nap-less child to be on their best behavior, so how should we expect ourselves to be at our best when we are spiritually exhausted? We can't. But if we want to serve our God in the best way possible and maximize the positive effect we can have on those around us, we have to be willing to take care of ourselves. We have to find rest.
Because God made us all beautifully different, everyone's spiritual nap will look different. To get you brainstorming, however, I have provided a list of my own spiritual naps:
Be honest. Admit that you need a break from something. Sometimes "good" things can start to feel like a chore, and if you allow that mindset to creep in your happy place soon becomes tainted with resentment.
Sweat. Sometimes you get on auto-pilot and don't remember how to feel. A vigorous (but short, because I don't "cardio" well) exercise allows me to feel the individual muscles I have and reminds me just how intricately God created me.
Wear the bright lipstick (or whatever the guy version of this is)
Watch the sunrise (or the sunset, if waking up early sounds counterintuitive to you)
Watch children interact with each other (preferably ones who have taken their nap)
Listen to music that speaks to you. Thanks to a beautiful soul in my T-Life Group, the song "Just Be Held" by Casting Crowns has become my anthem.
So, until next time—I’m still Chelsey, and I’m still tired. I’m also thankful, though, that God has intricately made me. He has blessed me with a heart for others and placed passions deep within me to allow me to find rest. He knew that we would grow weary, and He created the sunrise, music, and many other things to restore us. Because I want more than anything to be everything I can be for anyone who needs it—I will choose to rest.