After my last post [Are You Too Busy to Hear What God Wants Next?], I heard from a friend on the other side of the world who had just received a copy of my latest book A Story Worth Telling — but was too tired to read it.
So even though he knew he needed to make some changes in order to live a story worth telling, the pace of his life was leaving him too tired to do it. So he asked an obvious question I think we all ask at times: what can I do when I am too tired for God?
He shared a few of the things on his plate, but we can all easily compile a list of our own. There’s no end to the possibilities. There’s no shortage of stuff — even good stuff — we could do with our time.
But Jesus said there is one thing that must be chosen: sitting at his feet to hear His words.
Are You Dragging Around?
You probably know the story. Jesus stopped at the home of Martha and Mary for a visit. While Martha scurried about serving, Mary sat and listened at Jesus’ feet. When Martha complained to Jesus about Mary’s inactivity, Jesus rebuked Martha instead:
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40-42)
We could learn much from this story, but one thing jumps out. The word translated here as distracted literally means “dragging around.”
Sound familiar? I think a lot of us have no energy left for God because we’re dragging around. We’re so busy that we’re depleted and tired by the time we finally get around to sitting at his feet.
Rest is a gift from God. Yet we often avoid it like a curse from hell.
7 Ways to Stop Being So Tired
- Stop doing something. Go ahead. You have my permission. Choose one thing in your life to stop doing today. And then stop doing it. We get so caught up in keeping the plates spinning that we fail to realize some plates should fall. They are not all ours to spin.
- Start your day with God. I’ve written before about the importance of starting your day with God before anything else can intrude. Make God the first thought of your day. Start by sitting at His feet and see if your priorities don’t begin to change.
- Go to sleep earlier. This is a no-brainer. And yet we just don’t do it. Thanks to the marvel of electricity, we can function long after the sun goes to sleep for the day. It’s as if we’re afraid we will miss something if we turn in for a good night’s rest. I once heard a pastor recommend that we sleep in on the front side of the clock — at night instead of in the morning. Try going to bed an hour earlier and see if your energy level doesn’t improve.
- Get more sleep. If you’re tired, chances are good you are not sleeping enough. It’s not rocket science, folks. Plan to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. You were wired for it. Your body and mind need to recharge. Let them.
- Take a nap. We can’t all do this, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with taking a short nap after lunch to reset your day. [If you think you can’t fit it in, see my guest post with Michael Hyatt on the topic.] Don’t nod off for more than 30 minutes to an hour, though, or you may have trouble sleeping at night. For some of us, ten minutes will be all we need.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. We are creatures of habit–and that’s a good thing. Let your body know what to expect by going to sleep and waking at the same times every day. I know there will always be exceptions. But by training ourselves to rest, we harness the power of habit to work in our favor.
- Reset your life priorities. If you’re too tired for God, chances are good that more than your relationship with God is suffering. There’s a good chance your physical health has gone downhill as well as other relationships. Choose what will be important to you and then create a schedule that reflects your priorities.
Remember that our value does not depend on how busy we appear to be. The next time you feel too tired to engage with God, as yourself: What would I be willing to change to rest at the feet of Jesus?
Question: Do you struggle to find the energy to engage with God? What other tips do you have for reclaiming rest? Share your thoughts by clicking here.
Photo credit: Harold R Cologne — Creative Commons