H. A. L. T.

Note: I’m not taking credit for any of what follows. I’m only trying to reproduce it as faithfully as I can.

Everyone knows that you’re most vulnerable to temptation when you’re hungry, angry, lonely, and/or tired. Any one of these is tough to overcome, but a combination of two or more makes it even harder.

At Kairos tonight, Chris Brooks suggested some methods to deal with these emotions.

When you’re tired, you need to fill up on God and His word. As strange as it sounds, the best way to do that is to fast, whether that be from food or social media or anything that can distract you from or take the place of God in your heart.

When you’re angry, it’s best to seek awareness of what it is that is causing that emotion. Rather than always blaming something or someone else, you need to look within to find what’s off in your own life. The best way is by spending time in silent reflection.

When you’re lonely, you want to seek to be united in the fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ. You want to seek to love and be loved. Sometimes, that takes the form of seeking guidance by asking others to speak into your loneliness or sometimes you need solitude to be better able to interact with others out of a place of wholeness and not approval-seeking.

When you’re tired, sometimes you need a time out from doing. God created the Sabbath so that we could rest and worship (and sometimes the best worship can be resting). No one was ever meant to go full-steam 24/7.

Something that grabbed my attention is the idea of secrecy– that is, doing an act of service and kindness for someone else with the intention of no one finding out. That way you take the attention off yourself and put it on another.

Again, I’m parroting what I learned tonight. I’m probably leaving out a good deal of important information, but I myself am tired, so I will make use of Chris’ advice and get me some rest.

 

 

Weary Part II

I’m still weary. Only this time it’s a different kind of weariness.

I’m weary of violence and hatred seeming to always have the upper hand. It’s not a matter of guns or no guns, knifes or no knifes. It’s a matter of what lies within the unredeemed human heart when it gets its own way. You don’t overcome hatred by more hatred (even if it’s a different kind of hatred). Only love– God’s love– overcomes and conquers hate.

I’m weary of impatience wherever I find it, especially within my own heart. I know from personal experience that good things truly come to those who wait, yet it still goes against those ingrained instincts and that voice that always wants to have what it wants now.

I’m weary of the constant overload of information and the dearth of true wisdom. We have so much more knowledge now than we’ve ever had in our history, yet we seem so much more foolish than ever before in our choices and our character.

I’m weary of my own continual reluctance to trust God in the every day business of living. He’s never steered me wrong, yet I am still slow to listen and hesitant to take Him at His word when He does speak.

I’m weary of believers who try too much to look like the lost world they’re trying to save. What makes Christians attractive is not how much like everybody else we are but how different we are (hopefully in a good and loving way and not in a harsh and condemning way). I’m most weary of the fact that most of the time I’m too good at being incognito in my faith.

I’m thankful that all these things that are so tiresome are not the end of the story. The end is victory and overcoming and rest. Just as Jesus sat down at God’s right hand after His atoning work was finished, so shall we all finally find rest after Jesus comes back to redeem and restore history and humanity.

 

 

Soooooooo Tired

This is my experience lately. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you can’t. So here goes.

I basically am on the go at work from 7:30 straight through until 4 pm (taking 30 minutes for lunch).

From there, I headed south to the Goodwill on Highway 96 where I made some good $2 music finds. Those are always the best kind.

After that, I walked over to Bar-B-Cuties for a stellar dinner, including the world’s best fruit tea. If you’re ever at a Bar-B-Cuties, you should try it.

Following the grub, I went in the direction of a friend’s house where I attend a Life Group, but I stopped off at a pet store because I would have been super early to his place. I browsed and bought a little something for the cat.

After all that, I made it to my friend’s house and finally sat down. Then I was tired. Really tired.

It’s funny how that works. As long as you’re on the go, you don’t realize how drained you are. Not at least until you stop. Then all that activity catches up with you.

As much as I’d like to fall back a couple of hours tonight so I could sleep extra, that’s not the best kind of rest.

The best kind of rest is the kind Jesus promises to all those who are weary and heavy-laden. He says, “Come to me, all you who work to the point of exhaustion and I will give you real rest.”

Not necessarily sleep, although that is sometimes part of it. What Jesus means is the rest from striving to perform in order to measure up to some artificial standard (either your’s or someone else’s). It’s ceasing from feeling like you always have to do more and be more to be complete and fulfilled.

Jesus says, “I love you just as you are, not as you should be or as you wish you could be or how everyone else wishes you would be. Come to me, right now, just exactly the way you are, and I will get you to where and who you need to be.”

That’s true rest.

 

Once Again, I Got Nothin’

It’s Friday night at 10:55 pm, and I am brain-dead. We’re talking total Night of the Living Dead, flesh-craving zombie kind of brain-dead.

I stayed home on a Friday night because it was grey and rainy. And because I was tired.

Maturity doesn’t mean that you can’t stay out until the wee small hours of the morning, but that you don’t have to. You can survive by staying at home and watching old episodes of The Facts of Life. I did.

I used to think that if I was alone by myself, there was something going on somewhere that I was missing. Not just any something, but something vitally and earth-shakingly important. Something that was bound to come up on a pop quiz later.

Now if it’s just me and Lucy the Wonder Cat hanging out, it’s still a good night. She’s the most affordable feline therapist out there, though she still tends to sleep on the job. That’s okay. She always has room to pencil me last minute into her schedule. She’s good like that.

Tonight will end like this. Me reading a bit of Go Set a Watchman and Luke 18. Some of you may be out painting the town red (or whatever other color you prefer if red is not your thing). I will be very shortly watching with great intent the backs of my eyelids.

Good night.

 

Oh So Tired

I finished the work week and I am tired. I mean dog tired. Or better yet, cat tired, since cats seem to sleep more than dogs. At least my cat does.

I’m looking forward to turning off the alarm clock and sleeping in tomorrow. That will be lovely. No 5:40 wake-up call for me. No sirree.

It’s the good kind of tired. It’s the kind of tired where you feel like you’ve accomplished something productive and made a difference, albeit the tiniest, in people’s lives.

I’ve learned that sleep is God’s gift. Some nights, it doesn’t matter how tired I am. I simply can’t sleep. I also noticed that I do my best sleeping just before my alarm is set to go off. What’s up with that?

Sleep belongs to those who know it’s not up to them to figure it all out. Sleep belongs to those who understand not just intellectually but experientially that God is in control of every aspect of their lives.

It still amazes me how my cat can fall asleep at any moment in any place at any given time. Cats never have insomnia. I suppose they have a lot less on their little kitty minds to keep them awake at night.

In fact, my cat is asleep close to me as I write all this. I suppose when you’re as cute and cuddly as Lucy is, what better way to exhibit it than to sleep all the time. Plus, you get the added benefit of being your own blanket.

So here’s hoping and praying that you find not just sleep but rest. Here’s hoping and praying that you can rest in the knowledge that your Abba is very fond of you at this moment just as you are. And His love will lead you all the way to where you need to be.

 

Another Blog About Nothing

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I swear I had a great idea for a blog this morning. I probably had another two or three decent topics lined up. Right now, at 10:23 pm, I can’t remember a single one of them. One day I will write these strokes of genius down on paper or make a note on my phone.

So you get another one of my stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Which is make even more fun by the fact that my brain is tired, as is the rest of me.

I can’t believe it’s almost the 4th of July weekend already. That means the year is over halfway over. That means we’re past the summer solstice and the days are getting shorter again. Before you know it, school will start back up again.

The seasons are reminders of God’s faithfulness. Just as summer follows spring and autumn follows summer, so the promises of God always come to pass. That will always be true.

I hope that is as comforting to you as it is to me these days. It’s good to have a few constants in this crazy world of change and unrest. It’s good to know that as unpredictable as life can be that God will always keep His word.

The Theology of Tired

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Have you ever been somewhere and suddenly have the overwhelming feeling of being tired? Like you could go sleep for 18 hours straight?

I had that feeling tonight. I went from fine to tired in 0.6 seconds. At least, that’s what it felt like.

Sometimes when you’re tired, your mind can play tricks on you. It will tell you that you’re all alone, that no one really understands you– or really wants to. That maybe they’d be better off without you.

It’s easy to take small things that mean nothing– a particular turn of phrase or remark– and make it seem monumental.

You have to remind yourself that your brain doesn’t function at its best when you’re tired. Sometimes, the best thing– the most spiritual thing– you can do is physically rest. Take a nap. Go to bed early.

The longer you let those tired thoughts play out in your head, the more attractive they become. You can even be to the point of wanting to give up on everything and everybody for no good reason. All because you’re tired.

As I learned once and have mentioned before more than once, what you think and what you feel will lie to you, so you go with what you know.

You remember that God is faithful and He’s got His eye on you tonight. You’ll be alright in the end. And all those overblown scenarios that play out in your head won’t ever come to fruition.

God is in control. You’re not. That’s a very good thing.

Just Keep Calm

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It’s funny how when you have a really great conversation or an amazing gathering of friends or a beautiful moment, you want to go back to that same place and re-create it. Well, at least I do. In my mind, I think if I get back to that place with those same people, maybe that same magic will be there and we can recreate another moment just like the one I remember so well.

But I’m learning you can’t. Real pleasure is only fully realized when a moment becomes a memory. Or so says one Mr. C. S. Lewis who I’ve heard was somewhat wise on these matters.

Besides, you can’t go back. Only forward. Otherwise we might stay stuck repeating one moment over and over. We’d never move into the future for always wanting to go back into the past and recreate it.

This is your best moment because this is where God has you now and this is where you will find Him. Be all in the moment right now.

I’m tired but thankful. I know I’ll sleep well and hopefully have more moments worth remembering tomorrow. I hope you will, too.

So Tired 2: 😴

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I’m tired again. Funny how that happens every 24 hours or so. Especially when you’re working and meeting friends to go walking on beautiful Monday evenings. Not to mention pinning useless but fun items to Pinterest.

It’s a good kind of tired. It’s a grateful kind of tired. The kind where as exhausted as you are, you’re more grateful at the new opportunities you have.

For me, it’s like an adventure. Maybe not a Tolkien kind with dragons and gold at the end, but new places and new people and paychecks at the end. And just once, it would be so cool to get paid in gold. Just once.

The verse in Psalms says that God gives rest to those He loves. I’m glad it’s worded that way, not to those who love Him. Some days, I’m crazy in love with God and some days I’m apathetic and could care less (which is probably redundant and repititious, right?) Sleep goes to the ones God loves because it’s His love for us holding us together and keeping us going, not the other way around.

So good night, all you out there in La-La-Land. May you find sweet dreams and rest as only your Abba could grant them.

Dis con ect ted

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There’s a movie I really like that you’ve probably never heard of. In this movie, a woman is shopping and trying on a new dress. Suddenly and inexplicably, reality shifts and no one can see or hear her anymore. As much as she frantically shouts and begs for people to notice her, no one does.

Do you ever feel like that? Do you feel like you have days when you feel disconnected from the rest of the world?

As someone who’s been there, done that, I have a few reminders.

1) Just because you feel it doesn’t make it true. Feelings don’t always tell the truth. They mean well, but they can be so very misleading, especially when you’re tired or hungry or if you have an upset stomach or a headache. Anything like that can affect your feelings.

2) Even if it were true that no one knew you were there (which is highly unlikely), God would know. There’s a verse in the Psalms that says that He knows when you make your bed in hell or when you’re dancing in the heavens. Or something like that. The point is that God always knows where you are and what you’re going through.

3) Those who matter will notice. Those who don’t, won’t. It really is that simple.

4) Use those days to find someone else who looks left out and reach out to them. Use your own feelings to identify with them and help them know they’re not alone either. Sit next to a lonely stranger and strike up a conversation. Offer a smile to the one whom no one else notices. It could be a world of difference for them.

Everyone has those disconnected days. Even you crazy extroverts. But take heart. These days only last 24 hours, just like all the other days. And in my own experience, there are very few things that a good night’s sleep and a fresh start won’t fix.