Friday, November 16, 2012

Don't Quit. Take a nap.

Discouragement. It happens to all of us at one point...and then another. We can't avoid it altogether. We can ignore it and even pretend we're above it, but until we acknowledge it and deal with it, we'll just continue to battle it. I think there is an unspoken belief in the world (and even in the Church) that worships success that only the "weak" or "spiritually immature" become discouraged. If we look to others for validation of our worth or our worthiness of respect, our tendency will be to "fake it 'til we make it." In other words, we'll feel discouraged, but we won't admit it--hoping that ignoring it will mean (1) it doesn't really exist, and (2) if it does, ignoring it will make it go away as it surrenders to our personal awesomeness of being "above it." For the driven, admitting discouragement (even to ourselves) can be humiliating because there's an internal pull to be strong and independent.

Although I do believe that discouragement is often the result of being in a spiritual battle, especially for those folks who live with intentionality and understand the value their contributions in this world and this generation make; I have also noticed that many times when people feel most discouraged what they're really feeling is fatigue. Good old-fashioned tiredness. There is nothing spiritual or impressive to God about wearing your body out in the name of service to others.

On a recent flight I read a magazine article which described the struggles most adults have with getting adequate sleep. I tried to find the article on-line. No luck, but when you do a search on this topic, you'll see that there are many studies revealing that this is a HUGE problem for our generation. Even though we are equipped with the most comfortable beds, blankets, and PJ's, and even though we have plenty of sleep aids, as a general rule, we're getting less sleep than ever. We may think we are machines, but the truth is, without the "reboot" of adequate rest, we are going to wear out way sooner than necessary.

People ask me all the time, "Shelley, how do you do it ALL?" The truth, in a nutshell: I don't. I can't. And neither can you. If you're feeling discouraged, you might just need a nap. You might need to add an hour to your sleep schedule. You might need to turn off your technology for a day...or two...or three. I don't know what you need to do specifically, but this I know: you have a Heavenly Father who will whisper, in that Still, Small Voice of the Spirit, what would be best for you to do, and when you listen and obey, you might just begin to recognize that you weren't really even discouraged at all--you just needed a nap.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Psalm 127:1-2 NIV

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