Today I am in a good place, a refreshed place, a soul-nourishing place. But I remember a time when that wasn’t the case for me. Many years ago I hit a burnout that forever changed the way I live.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I’d said yes to too many things. With a weary heart and a parched soul, I wrapped myself up in a blanket and headed outside to find a cozy spot on the deck. The winds picked up and blew through the trees. The leaves clapped their hands in the breeze. I stared for a while and wondered how long it’d been since I’d felt such a wind in my sails. My eyes traveled to the tree trunk of the giant oak in our backyard. Though the branches whistled in the wind, the trunk didn’t budge. I was moved by the oak’s great strength. Years of deep root growth provided stability that held fast in the fiercest storm.
I longed for that kind of strength. I knew God invited me to be deeply rooted in Him, to find my soul’s rest in Him. I used to think that our proneness to wander only had to do with a bent towards sinful indulgence. I now see that wandering also includes trying to do life in our own strength.
Read this powerful passage from Jeremiah 17:5-8:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in human strength and the abilities of mere mortals.
His very heart strays from the Eternal.
He is like a little shrub in the desert that never grows;
he will see no good thing come his way.
He will live in a desert wasteland,
a barren land of salt where no one lives.
But blessed is the one who trusts in Me alone;
the Eternal will be his confidence.
He is like a tree planted by water,
sending out its roots beside the stream.
It does not fear the heat or even drought.
Its leaves stay green and its fruit is dependable, no matter what it faces.”
Maybe you find your soul parched today because you’ve been too busy and you know it. Sometimes we hide in our busyness. Sometimes our busyness numbs us from the pain we don’t want to face. But we need to slow down to heal. And we need time in God’s presence if we want to be restored.
If that’s you, your best course of action is this: Be still. Stop striving. And deeply know that He is God (see Psalm 46:10).
But maybe your soul weariness comes from an altogether different place. Maybe you’re parched because it’s been too long in the desert for you. The battle has gone long and the breakthrough feels like it’ll never come. Are you starting to wonder if God hears your prayers?
Can I tell you, friend? He does. He does. He is intimately near even now. Sometimes He seems silent but He’s never absent. If you find yourself in such a place, your best choice would be to rise up. Speak to your soul. Remind yourself that God is who He says He is and that this season won’t last forever. This is what it means to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. King David did it. We sometimes need to do it too.
Recently on Middays I spoke with author and speaker, Karen Schatzline about her book, Dehydrated: Find Refreshment and Hope for Your Soul. She writes:
“Dry seasons and droughts are not meant to dehydrate or kill us; they are opportunities for us to get up and search out fresh water. Drought causes us to thirst for the right things again. We learn that movement is important; we can’t linger in the same pool for too long or the water will become stagnant. Sometimes the well has to dry up so we’ll get moving in a new direction. We need fresh water to grow and flourish. New direction means new seasons. Our seasons in life are not meant to last forever.
No matter the reason for your weariness, know this: Jesus cares deeply about the condition of your soul. He invites you away to rest a while. He wants you to find your strength in Him. There’s no substitute for the presence of God. Those who wander into sin, or wander into self-striving do so because they’ve stopped enjoying the presence of God, nothing in this world satisfies like Him!
There’s a remedy for your weariness. It’s Jesus.