Are you running on empty? Battling fatigue and exhaustion?
You don’t have to look far to find countless promises offering to help us fight fatigue and boost our energy. From vitamin supplements and exercise, to energy shots and double espresso, we all find ourselves seeking ways to boost our energy and muster enough strength and stamina to make it through the week…or day. And to be clear, I’m not suggesting that some of the above options are not valid resources for regaining strength as we battle daily fatigue. But I firmly believe there is a spiritual component that is just as important when we find ourselves worn out and weary.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:1-2
Yes, life often feels like a race to the finish line! But this passage gives us some practical instruction and encouragement on finding the strength and energy we need.
We’ve all got a race to run. The word for race in the original language can mean an effort, anxiety, conflict or battle. Each one of our races looks different with its own challenges, opportunities and battles. It’s not always easy, but it’s our race to run. It’s a race that has been appointed for us by God —that’s what the word set means. And we are all called to run our race. Often we want to jump tracks and run someone else’s race. This will just bring more anxiety and discontent, and fatigue. Instead we are to run our race with perseverance.
Perseverance is defined as the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult.
Perseverance is not about trying to do more in our own strength. It’s not a “pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps” and “get over it” kind of word.
Perseverance is about choosing to let go of those things that are hindering and entangling leaving us feeling fatigued and worn out. Often the tasks and attitudes that are leaving me exhausted are burdens I’ve chosen to bear alone or the result of a “people-pleasing” attitude chooses to say “yes” when I should have said “no”. This Scripture verse (and others) encourages us to throw off meaning to cast off. We are to throw off those things that hinder and the sin that entangles:
- Hindrances —those burdens that weigh us down, like that spirit of worry or that complaining and grumbling attitude. Throw it off!
- Sin —when we miss the mark or wander from the ways that please God. This sin entangles us, which means it’s EVERYWHERE! It surrounds and encompasses us. The word picture is of something thwarting a racer in every direction. Throw it off!
Let us preserve by choosing to throw off what’s hindering and put on the truth of God’s Word that renews and restores.
Perseverance is about choosing a focal point. We are instructed and encouraged to “fix our eyes on Jesus”. This word for fix in the original language is quite practical. It is the word aphorao which translates to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.
We have a choice as to what we decide to fix our minds. Too often we fixate on the “what ifs” and “if onlys” of life. This just sends us spiraling downward and exhausts us even further. It’s never productive. In our effort and desire to make life perfect and comfortable, we miss what God is doing in the ordinary and hard moments of our lives. We will not experience the fullness of joy in our lives without an eternal perspective, without shifting our gaze from the temporal to the eternal and seeing God’s goodness in all things of life.
I can choose to run my race with a “what if” or “if only” attitude or by looking to Jesus with an attitude and perspective that acknowledges it’s tough…BUT God is working something good in me or something out of me that needs to “go”. God uses the hard and the ugly in my life for His glory, and my growth and good! I can rest in His overflowing grace.
“We must be clear in our minds that whatever further reasons there may be why God exposes us to the joys and sorrows, fulfillments and frustrations, delights and disappointments, happiness and hurts that make up the emotional reality of our lives, all these experiences are part of His curriculum for us in the school of holiness, which is His spiritual gymnasium for our reshaping and rebuilding in the moral likeness of Jesus Christ.” —J.I. Packer
Here are a few practical ways we can look to Jesus and persevere when we are running on empty and ready to give up:
- Remember God’s goodness—fixate on who God is.
- Rehearse His faithfulness—speak aloud or write out the ways you’ve seen God’s faithfulness in your life.
- Rely on God’s strength by acknowledging your need for Him—for me this often begins with closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, and just confessing my need for Him.
- Recite His Word—God’s Word is energy and life! (see Hebrews 4:12)
- Rest in His Presence—continue about your day or the task at hand knowing that God will provide all you need in the moment.
If you find yourself stuck, making unwise choices and trying to do it all in your own strength, just repeat the steps above! God will fill you with His peace and renew your strength as you continually look to Him!
In my weakness, His grace is Sufficient!
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Corinthians 12:9
Copyright ©2013, Susan Cady