On the Cure for Exhaustion

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1 Kings 19:5–6 (NIV)

Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

CONSIDER THIS

ME: THIS IS THE WAY—
YOU: FROM GLORY TO GLORY!

Exhaustion is real. Depression is real. Done with it all is real. 

Elijah felt them all. 

Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

Can you see him? There he is, somewhere deep in the wilderness, in the middle of nowhere, all alone, sitting under a broom bush. No—not sitting—he is crashed out in deep slumber, laying on the ground. 

Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

Have you ever been there? Are you there now? You’ve had faith; tried to obey God; done all you know to do; and it is just not adding up, working out, or breaking through. You just want to go to bed, pull the covers over your head and not wake up. But you do wake up, and another day comes, and another, and another, and you find yourself still living but you are far from alive. You are now a days walk into the wilderness (exhausted), and then two and then a month (depressed) and then a year (done with it all). You have learned to carry on with the condition known as “Lights on. Nobody home.”

Watch the replay on today’s text with Elijah:

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

I want to say three things to you here. (1) This condition is not out of the ordinary. There is no shame in this game. You are doing your best. It’s just where you are right now. As my daughter, Lily, likes to say, “Now is not forever.” (2) There is a way out. Naps are good. Vacations are better. And to be sure, rest is essential, but rest is not a strategy. The way is awakening. Elijah must wake up. This is the way—from glory to glory. 

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” (1 Kings 19:7)

Here’s the official WAKE-UP CALL translation of 1 Kings 19:7:

ME: Wake up sleeper and rise from the dead!
YOU: And Christ will shine on you! 

And, (3) Friends, this journey, this way from glory to glory is too much for us. This journey is too much for you. It is too much for me. Sentimental religion says things like, “He will never give you more than you can handle.” I say hogwash (which is the sanitized version of what I actually said). Here’s the truth: He always gives us more than we can handle. He gives us what only he can handle, which is precisely the point. The way of glory to glory is not about us getting stronger and stronger. It is about Jesus growing stronger and stronger in us. This requires a comfort level with getting weaker and weaker in our own ego strength and stronger and stronger in his eternal strength. 

On Monday night of this week I found myself sitting in a seminary chapel over at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. My dear friend, and Seedbed author, Carolyn Moore, was preaching the lecture in her fiery form. She told a story about a full-time poet (my dream) named David Whyte. Along the way, he had become profoundly exhausted after working many years doing all kinds of jobs to make ends meet while writing late at night and early in the morning. He had a monk friend, Brother David Stendl-Rast, who came for a visit in that season. The aspiring writer shared with the monk about his life, exhaustion, and unfulfilled dreams. Then the poet asked the monk this question, “What is the cure for exhaustion?” The monk replied, “The cure for exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness.” 

(Insert mind-blown emoji here.)

“The cure for exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness.” 

This is the way—from glory to glory. 

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, this is exactly what I need: wholeheartedness. It is so easy for me to get stalled somewhere between tired and exhausted. My heart can grow weary. It is easier to settle for some temporary escape like a nap or a vacation or another glass of wine. I need wholeheartedness. I need you, Jesus. I am asking for you to awaken me to the next leg of this journey from glory to glory. Holy Spirit fill me up and lead me to this place of wholeheartedness. Make my heart whole. I need courage. I need healing. I need help. I need you. Yes, I need you. Even better, I want you. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen. 

THE QUESTION

“The cure for exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness.” How do you resonate with this? What is your heart telling you? 

P.S. Speaking of Carolyn Moore . . . 

We are exceedingly proud of her new book, When Women Lead!!! Women will love it, but it’s us men who need to read it the most. This may be her magnum opus so far. So treat yourself, bless Carolyn, and encourage Seedbed’s partnership with Zondervan and GET YOUR COPY TODAY!! ;0) 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I perceive that wholeheartedness is another way of saying entirely sanctified. This, in my opinion, is where my will, my thoughts and desires have been totally yielded to Christ who lives within me. Some might use the term “cruciformed”. This is what Jesus meant by denying oneself and picking up one’s cross daily. As we surrender our will’s, God’s image will increase within us. This must be intentional and supported within a community of believers. “Lone Ranger Christianity “ is a lie of Satan.

  2. Last night, before I went to bed, I wrote this and posted it on FB: “If you’re longing for more meaning and purpose in life, you can find it by fully opening your heart to Jesus,” and “Every day I experience Jesus streaming in Spirit and in truth through my heart, welling up and flowing out as rivers of alive water and giving life to my soul.”

    This morning I woke up with this running through my mind and heart: “Your heart is a life-valve. Always keep it open so the life of Jesus can continually flow through you.”

    After reading today’s DT, this came to my mind: “To wholeheartedly surrender to the living Jesus fully open the valve in your heart that tries to regulate or limit His activity within you. Then keep it wide open every day so that He can freely overflow in and through you as the living God, releasing lively, eternal, life-giving water.”

  3. Great message!
    Who hasn’t felt like throwing in the towel, pulling the covers over our heads because exhaustion became weariness? The evil one prefers us to sleep life away by trudging through life. But it’s a new day, a new dawn, and the Lord says, “Arise O’sleeper! Let my Son shine on you!”
    And when we keep our eyes on the Son, the shadows (of the valley of death) are but distant memories.
    Staying 💪’n Christ.

  4. As Oswald Chambers put it, even though you cannot see an inch in front of you, it is about waking up each day and still choosing to be God’s immortal. It is accepting that while everybody else is running, I have to walk.

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