Zzzzzzz….

Lately I’ve found it incredibly difficult to work, to write, or to do anything that would typically be a normal occurrence in my day  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 small children or living with a teenager, but the exhaustion runs much deeper.

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

Without going into the details, I am 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 house, write,  spend time with the kids or friends, 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 I will be able to extract myself 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 kids, 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 trouble began, I had seen some growth in myself and my walk with God. I had left the toxic, life-draining environment of my home, my writing opportunities had expanded, I was beginning to believe in myself again, and I was excited to be able to minister to people who had followed a tough path like my own.

So many good things….And at this moment, 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 doing 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. Sometimes life knocks us off our feet leaves 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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About Shannon Joy

I am a single mother of two incredible munchkins. I pray a lot, work a lot, learn a lot, volunteer a lot and tend to do a lot... I love my life. The past few years have been an incredible journey, full of ups and downs. Thankfully, I have made the choice to see challenges as opportunities and it makes me so much stronger than I ever thought possible. I love to write and paint and feel that being creative is my God-given talent. I am so excited to share my life and experiences with you. Although I am a diamond in the rough, I known that I am being chiseled and hewn by God's grace and my own perseverance. I love comments and feedback, so please send a little love when you can. I will always try to respond personally and in a timely fashion.
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