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“We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously He once waited for us”   ~Charles Spurgeon

My friend – are you weary? Are you worn out from waiting upon God in some way? Are you searching for something specific this holiday season? Perhaps strength? Or direction? Perhaps an answer to prayer? Or healing? Perhaps freedom from a specific burden? What’s weighing heavy on your heart these days? If you’re like me, you know that thinking about this type of stuff too much or too long can sometimes lead down a rabbit hole of even greater exhaustion, fear, anxiety, stress, or worse. And if you’re really like me, you know that it’s all too easy to STAY there. In the pit. Weary of it all. And if you’re really, really, like me… you know that we need a whole lot more than a well-crafted Charles Spurgeon bumper sticker quote to really get us back up, back out, and back in step with the Spirit. If any of this resonates with you in any way… let’s chat. 

Years ago a mentor of mine shared some great wisdom on how he attacks weariness using two tools. Tool #1 is the return to the reality of God’s Word. To re-attain a high view of true truth from God’s perspective. Tool #2 is to look beyond personal circumstances or situations. To stretch one’s thoughts into one’s habits and actions. To build in practical ways to implement His truth into my walk. We’re talking deeds. Good works. Make sense? Granted, the toolbelt of the believer is full of devices ready to deploy for sanctification. But these two… oh these powerful two… are a great starting point that we should practice together, more often, maybe even here today. Can we give this a shot? Can we try to flush out examples of how to use these two tools in the short span of a newsletter blog post? Let’s try!

Tool #1. Always start with prayer and the Word. Return to His reality. There is an abundance of Scripture that speaks into weariness vs. strength. You can pick any one of them to meditate on. For now, as an example, we’ll fix our eyes on one of my go-to passages which some of you may even have memorized. 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  - Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)

There is a mountain of truth to unpack in these words. Read it again! By God’s unmerited favor we have been saved from His wrath through the faith that He authored in us. Do you really believe this? Christ-follower, let me remind you that you… are… His… workmanship. You and all of your life and all of your history and all of your past and all of your circumstances, are His workmanship! Created with a purpose. His purpose! His good works! Which were established before you were established! How great is this good news! And we have the privilege and joy of “walking in them”! Do you really believe this? Let that sink in for a moment. Re-read that verse. Maybe multiple times. Now ask yourself what you’re really weary over. Try to examine your circumstances from His perspective. Go back to Spurgeon with Ephesians in mind. “We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we REMEMBER how long and how graciously He once waited for us.” Humble yourself. Repent if needed. But do not miss the bigness of God’s plan for your life!

Hopefully you can sense the gravity and power of scripture even in this one short example. But remember this is just one of the tools we can use to push back against weariness. The other, Tool #2, deals with the “hands on” call to get serious about our actions and habits. 

Tool #2. Check this out. I want to share a nugget of sweetness with you that I picked up in a conversation last weekend. I had the opportunity to meet-and-greet an elder from a church network over in Kansas City. And as we talked, he kept using the word “extraordinary” when sharing about the habits (they refer to them as rhythms) that they have built into the life of their church. Extraordinary prayer and fasting. That was the phrase. Those who know me know that definitions of words matter a lot to me. I couldn’t help myself. 

“How do you define extraordinary?” I asked. His response was so good. So carefully put.

“Examine your current spiritual disciplines,” he said. “Maybe examine your church gathering attendance. Maybe your ministry roles. Maybe what you normally pray for or fast over. This is what you do now, right? This is your ‘ordinary’. Good. Ok. Now look at the world around you. Look beyond your ordinary. Pray and fast over something outside of your bubble. Look beyond yourself. Add one thing to your normal routine. Make your disciplines un-ordinary, but obviously aimed in the direction of Jesus. Un-ordinary. Extraordinary.”  

The key was that they encourage their people to look beyond their own world. Beyond their own circumstance or need. Beyond their own… weariness. Pray in an extraordinary way. Fast in an extraordinary way. Love in an extraordinary way. Serve in an extraordinary way. And that’s my challenge for you and me today. Right now. As you read this. Take a moment to assess the world around you. Of the needs of those in the church. Of the needs of your neighbor (maybe this means you have to actually… you know… talk to someone you’ve never talked to before… radical idea right?) Take a moment to inventory your spiritual disciplines and level-up in just one way that you’re not currently deploying in your walk. Commit to one new aspect to care about other than your own self. Weariness loves selfishness. Weariness loves stillness. Don’t pray, fast, love, or serve… in stillness. Pray, fast, love, and serve… in an EXTRAORDINARY way. 

My friend – are you weary? My hope and encouragement is twofold. First, that you would swim in the scriptures, meditating on the power and presence and reality of the magnitude of God and His plan for your life. Second, that you consider one way to ensure that your spiritual walk tomorrow will look a little more like Jesus, and be just a little less spiritually ordinary, than it was yesterday.