Today I scrolled back to an early post where I asked for your input. As I read through some of the responses, this one jumped out at me.
When I asked what area of life was hardest for you to love God with all, someone responded,
Maybe with all my strength. I can easily be lazy and not want to give everything until I'm exhausted. I like to be comfortable and "just relax". It's hard for me to give everything until I have nothing left.
What do we do when we're exhausted? When we want to relax instead of focus on God? Is it ever wrong to take a break, and how do we press on when our strength is gone?
I don't have all the answers, and I hope you will share what you've learned about this area of life. But recently I've been debating some of these questions. We get so caught up in the western lifestyle that sometimes we forget that the Bible is the ultimate guide to life. We have habits and norms that might even contradict what God's Word says.
One example of that is when we become comfortable. Certainly being comfortable isn't wrong. God has created a beautiful world for us to enjoy. He created smells and tastes and sounds and colors. Everything was made for His purpose and pleasure, and I believe He wants us to be thankful and enjoy the many gifts around us.
But we can't stop there. We can only enjoy life rightly when we enjoy it to bring Him glory.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,And into His courts with praise.Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
- Psalm 100:4 (emphasis added)
We don't just have a thankful spirit. We must also bless His name.
When we take comfort, pleasure, relaxation, or anything else too far, it becomes an idol in our lives. And that means we are not loving God with all.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
- Deuteronomy 6:5 (emphasis added)
What happens when we don't have any strength?
One day recently, I wasn't able to have my quiet time after breakfast like normal because I went with my sisters and mom to town. We had a fun girls' time together going shopping and doing other various things. On that particular day, we went to adopt a cat from the animal shelter, and we drove home with the wonderful smells of a car-sick cat. And then at home, I got together everything the cat needed, tried to introduce her to our other (not-so-friendly to newcomers) cat, and then finally came instead to eat. I had a headache.
But the day was only half done. I still had school to do, things to catch up on, and what about that Bible time I had missed earlier?
I was already exhausted. I didn't want to read or think hard. I just wanted a break.
What then? It's not wrong to take a break. Sometimes walking outside in the fresh air helps me recharge and get back to life with more vigor. It give me focus and clarity.
But in other times, we have to press on. We can't not read the Bible or pray or love others because we're tired. Wanting a nap isn't an excuse to why we lashed out at our brother.
When we are at the end of our line and must press on, we can remember His loving promises.
But those who wait on the LordShall renew their strength;They shall mount up with wings like eagles,They shall run and not be weary,They shall walk and not faint.
His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness...
We have everything we need to press on. We have everything we need to keep smiling and encouraging and loving others. Through Christ, we can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
God knows our weaknesses and limitations. When Jesus was on earth, He often went to a secluded place to pray (Matthew 14:23). Sometimes we also must take a break from life and refocus (preferably in prayer and in His presence). But we cannot allow comfort to become our idol.
I have so far to go in mastering this area of loving God, but I've talked long enough. Now I would be honored to hear from you! How do you press on when you're exhausted? How do we make sure that comfort is not an idol? When do we take a break or trust God for strength to press on?
And if you're feeling tired or out of strength, remember His promises. He will carry you on. Keep trusting.