– Eric Hoffer
I read this quote about a month ago, and it has been flitting around in my mind ever since. (There is a lot of room in there, so it has pretty much had the run of the place.) Once you read it about four times (I had to do it slowly and out loud) and really think about what it is saying, I think you may spend some time mulling it over as well. It is a powerful statement, and very accurate. But what does it mean in my life?
Weary is a word that I have had as an unfortunate companion in life the last 10 years or so. It was with me through a change in churches, a change in jobs, a change in finances, a change in friendships, and changes in my service in the church and to God. I have written before about how weariness has been persistently dogging me. This little quote has made me think about why that is.
As I look back over the last few years, I see a lot of weary times that I have endured. My wife has gone through them with me. Times when we are busy doing so many things, and we find too often that they are not things we even really wanted to do. That’s hard to face. Especially when you had all the best intentions going into it. Sometimes you just need to finish the row before you can walk away, but it is foolish to start another one!
Another way to look at getting weary of doing the things that you don’t want to do is that sometimes we get involved in doing something without thinking about the cost of it. We go in without checking the water, thinking everything will be just fine. Then we end up treading water before we realize it, and we start feeling the damaging effects of sin in our lives, but we are now so deep we must fight our way out. It leaves us tired.
Doing things we don’t want to do will make us feel weary. That just makes sense! Energy put into an unwanted endeavor seems to take a double toll. The waste of time, resources, energy, or other opportunities is enough to make us want to avoid things we don’t want to do altogether. Makes sense, right?
The problem with that is that sometimes the thing we don’t want to do is the good and right thing to do. It may be the very thing God wants us to do, but we don’t like it so we don’t request His help in it, we don’t experience the joy of working on it with God, and we end up wasted, worn, and weary. By taking our focus off God and putting it on our feelings, we miss the joy of working with Him, and the energy of the Spirit working in us! The Bible says:
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
– Galatians 6:9
How many reapings have I missed because I gave up before the work was done? Sad to think about. God has things to give me, but I turned away because I thought they were too hard. I’m letting that sink in. How about you?
So what about becoming weary from not doing what we want to do? Is that really a thing? Yep. It sure is. Whether it is a desire to go back to school, teaching, learning to write, how to play an instrument, or starting a new career, we can grow weary of living a life of, “I wonder what would happen…” I know I have struggled with that.
Sometimes I think that is why I lost my old job. God just decided that I needed to get into another career where I could use some of the other gifts he had given me that were sitting stagnant. It was time to stretch, but I was afraid. It was time to grow, but I was “comfortable”. It would be too much to try something new. The thing is, I was miserable!
I ran into my old boss yesterday, and as glad as I was to see him, I was reminded of how miserable I was in that job! The time away from home, the long hours behind the wheel, the lack of interaction with people. It was terrible! Why on earth would I hang on to that? I remember how tired I was of the job. I hated going to work in the morning, but I was unwilling to take a chance to do something else. I am so thankful God had a better idea.
Weariness is something we all face from time to time, but we need to evaluate why we feel that feeling. If it is a physical reason, then address it! Get more sleep, eat better, exercise! (All things I need to do!) You should see a change as better stuff coming in makes you feel better and gives you more energy.
If you’re not seeing a physical problem, then it is time to look within. I know for myself the main thing that affects my attitude is what I am concentrating on. When I am putting a focus on daily spending time with God, He changes the way I think. He changes the attitude I have. He changes my perspective in my situation. He changes my energy level. He changes me from a weary man to a man that sees a purpose.
There are a lot of books out there that are telling you to focus the power of the mind. Are they correct? I’d say in part that they are. The mind is a very powerful thing, but a mind focused on Christ and His redeeming power at work in your life? That is something that leads to you a Relentless Life. So, how about it? Are you weary? Are you looking for a solution? Are you willing to do what it takes? Get in the Word! The answers are there.