Sharon

I Will Rest, But I Will Not Quit

Sharon Encouragement, Suffering 11 Comments

Lately I’ve found it incredibly difficult to write, and there’s a reason for that:

I’m tired.

No, exhausted.

I wish I could blame my fatigue on the spotty sleep schedules that come with parenting a small child, but the exhaustion runs much deeper.

I’m not sleep deprived; I am spiritually and emotionally drained.

Without going into the details, Ike and I are engulfed in a situation that is draining the life out of me. It has sucked away my energy, leaving me with little motivation to do anything at all. Whenever I have free time to work on my dissertation or write or prepare for a talk, I don’t want to do any of it. I just want to crawl into my bed and pull the sheets over my head. I don’t even have the energy to leave the house, let alone write, create, and do ministry.

I don’t know when Ike and I will be able to extract ourselves from this toxic situation, but until then I am figuring out how to deal with the spiritual oppression that has descended upon my heart and mind. I feel heavy, and angry, and bitter, and I don’t want to get stuck there.

When faced with trials like this one, it’s easy for me to focus on the problem itself. It’s easy to get tunnel vision, which leaves me feeling trapped. Even hopeless.

That is why, during times like this, it helps me to remember the big picture. It helps me to take a step back and see my life from a wider angle.

When I do, I remember two things:

1. Jesus is greater.

When I am exhausted and depressed, it’s tough to harness the resources to fight back. I don’t feel like doing anything at all, including spiritual disciplines like patience, love, and mercy.

In times of great weakness, I can do little more than breathe out the name of Christ.

But that’s ok, because his name is powerful.

The character and sacrifice of Jesus Christ is so mighty that his name alone commands influence (Luke 10:17, Acts 16:18). And during weeks like this one, that is such good news. I don’t have the energy to do much, but I have just enough to utter Jesus’ name.

So that is what I’ve been doing. As I clean the dishes, I whisper “Jesus.” As I do the laundry, I quietly pray “Jesus, Jesus.” And as I pick up after my son, I breathe out “Jeeesus.

As I do, I feel a hedge of protection descend around me. God knows what I need, He knows my heart, and He hears my cry. I only need to call on him, and it is enough.

That tiny little prayer, that simple name, can move mountains.

2. I have an enemy.

Around the time our trouble began, I had seen some growth in my ministry. My blog traffic had surged, my writing opportunities had expanded, I was receiving more speaking invitations, and I was about to start on my dissertation.

So many good things….And now I don’t have the motivation to do any of them.

The timing is strange indeed. Now, I’m not quick to assume that my circumstances are a spiritual attack, but they might be. And if they are, if there is more to this situation than the immediate difficulty before me, then I only have one thing to say:

I will rally. I might be tired and dragging, and I might be writing less, but I will not give up. I will rest, but I will not run away. Not because of anything strong in me, but because I serve a God who overcame the grave, and He will overcome this too.

We all need an occasional break from the daily grind of ministry. Sometimes life knocks us off our feet, and even ministry itself can leave us limping. When this happens, it’s important to rest and recuperate. We need time to get back up.

But that space for rest and healing, that season when you’re lying flat on your back wondering what in the world you’re going to do, that is not a defeat. In that moment, the Enemy hasn’t won. He can’t, because he has already lost.

In the coming days and weeks I will tend to my soul. I will give this situation the spiritual attention it needs. I will probably write less until it passes, and I will allow myself time to rest.

But make no mistake, this isn’t over. I serve a God whose very name causes the demons to tremble. I also serve a God who conquered death, a feat that dwarfs the obstacles facing me now. I am a weak and fragile vessel, but I serve a God whose power is made perfect in weakness.

I might be down, but I will get back up. I will finish the race. I will fight the good fight again.

Until then, please send a prayer my way. I could use it!

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Comments 11

  1. Grace Z.

    You don’t stand alone! There is a royal priesthood standing beside you, raising your arms to the sky when you’ve got no strength left to do it yourself. See you tonight! 🙂

  2. Mechelle Garrett

    Sharon, I don’t know what you and Ike are going through, but everything you said is where I am and how I feel. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not a bad Christian or person when I have just enough energy to say “Jesus” versus praying for hours on end during this time. You and Ike are in my prayers, and thank you for your vulnerability in sharing.

  3. Judy Blackburn

    Take care of yourself and give all of this directly to our Lord. He is walking along side of you and will carry you any time you need him to. He offers you confort (co fortitude) by putting the right people and support in your life . . . just when you need it. Blessings and hugs to you.

  4. Elizabeth Savage

    I needed to read this tonight for my dear sister I have found myself in the same place. But also found my self saying the name than changes everything Jesus Jesus Jesus. I stumbled upon you by a friend and I needed to read your words as a strong confirmation of what the Lord has already been telling.. healing me with. Thank you and bless you. I find in the life we live that we are all broken for each other.. for each others healing.

  5. Carol J. Marshall

    Thank you for your transparency Sharon. The bells of understanding are resonating loud and clear for many of us; you have put it into such honest and straightforward words. I will pray for you indeed!

  6. Alyson

    Hi Sharon, I followed a link on a ministry wife blog to your post on modesty from earlier this year (which I thought was excellent by the way). Then I saw the previous post’s topic and read that one…after reading several insightful and delightful posts I looked at your information and saw you were from NC! How exciting! Then I saw the picture of your adorable son in the Duke onesie (love it!) and knew I should definitely add you to my favorite blog list!
    And now I have read this blog and even after this short bit, my heart breaks for you and the struggle you are enduring currently. I would love to be encouraging and have the perfect words to say to make you feel better, but the only help and strength through times like these comes from the Lord.
    So I will definitely be praying for you! And here is a cyber ~HUG~ since Chicago is a little far away to sit down and have a cup of coffee together! And Psalm 121 is a great chapter to pray through during tough times.

  7. Margie Smallman

    Hi Sharon. I have no idea how I found your blog but am so glad God caused me to notice it. Sister, you speak words that many of us could echo and we stand shoulder to shoulder with you both in your exhaustion and in your confidence in the powerful name of Christ. Keep that attitude and walk on……NO matter what. You’l never be sorry you did and you’ll see in hind sight, one day, that He walked beside you the entire way through this situation. Love to you in Jesis’ sweet name!! Margie

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