We show up the exact opposite way of what’s needed to fulfill God’s calling on our lives when we are exhausted and depleted.
Recently, I had a breakdown of sorts. In about an 8-hour stretch of time, I went from being consumed by anger and not knowing why… to tears pouring down my face as I tried to explain this torrent of emotions to my husband.
My body was crying out for rest in the only way it knew how – by overwhelming me with emotion until I was forced to search for the root cause.
What I discovered was that I’ve been putting too many things as my top priority. By definition, there can only be one “top” priority. Only one thing can top a list…
But I was trying to put:
…all at number ONE on the list! At the same time!
This is impossible and leads to an emotional breakdown.
I was exhausted and depleted, which meant I was showing up poorly for all of those things on my list. My husband asked me, “From that list, what is God calling you to?”
Y’all, I felt like God was calling me to all of it. But that can’t be true, can it? Because His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)
So, the next morning, I asked God what He wanted me to prioritize. I didn’t hear or sense anything from Him at first, so I picked up my current Bible Study book and opened to that day’s lesson. It put me in 1 Kings 19.
I encourage you to grab your Bible and read 1 Kings 19:1-9 on your own to get the full story. But essentially, Elijah has just completed this courageous and miraculous undertaking on Mount Carmel, fully stepping into his purpose and risking his life to serve God, when he just cracks under the weight of it all. He runs off into the wilderness and asks God to end his life.
“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” - 1 Kings 9:4b.
Now, if someone like Elijah, for goodness’ sake, can take such a quick turn towards emotional despair, then of course this can happen to any of us too! It doesn’t explicitly say this but God showed me that Elijah was exhausted and depleted after the big Mount Carmel showdown and he needed some tender care from the Lord.
How does God answer Elijah’s plea to end his life? By sending an angel to give him food, water, and a nap. A nap, y’all! (In fact, Elijah ends up getting two naps before he sets out again!)
Elijah wanted to give up in his state of overwhelm but the Lord knew he simply needed rest. Sleep, comfort, and nourishment were required for Elijah to carry on.
I honestly couldn’t believe this was the daily reading the morning after my emotional breakdown. God is so sweet to us, bringing us exactly what we need when we need it.
God reminded me that rest is essential. He reminded me that I cannot live out my calling if I try to act like the Energizer Bunny, going and going and going.
The best part? God has been telling me to rest all year… and now, almost 11 months into the year, I’m still struggling with this concept. But did God give up on me? Did He get impatient? Did He abandon me and throw up His hands in frustration because I keep forgetting to rest?
He simply keeps sending me reminders.
This passage in 1 Kings is quickly becoming one of my favorite passages in the Bible. It promotes napping AND it shows the importance of rest if we want to fully live out God’s purpose for our lives.
So the next time you feel like you have too much to do and too many things to keep up with, drop some of those balls, friend. Let God lead you towards what’s most important, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense. He already knows how it all plays out and He knows exactly what’s best for you – mind, body, and soul.
And you can find confirmation of all that right there in Elijah’s story. If such a great prophet can break under the weight of his calling AND recover with a little rest and nourishment, surely we can too.
Chrissie Kenaston shares about her experiences as a wife, mother, friend, entrepreneur, etc., all filtered through the lens of God's grace.