One of my biggest joys in life is getting away and heading out to retreats and conferences. It is probably one of the nerdiest, religious, most stereotypical things I do, and I’m absolutely unapologetic about it. As I said, it brings immense joy. I find that when I am totally depleted, that heading to a conference is like an emotional B-12 shot.
Well, I’ve been exhausted for quite some time now. So this past weekend, I went to my second Beth Moore conference (put on by LifeWay). I wasn’t sure what to expect. I never know what to expect from Beth other than spiritual depth and an absolute refusal on her part to allow you to get a “spiritual high.” She doesn’t want you to get “high;” she wants you to get free and to live in sound mind with the Lord.
Her topic was Psalm 31:26 “She speaks with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” Now, I’m a mom of three. As a mom of three young children, one of them with sensory disorders (read: daily meltdowns) believe me, I needed to be reminded that it is wise to be kind when I open my mouth. But Beth isn’t about condemning you. She’s like Jesus, she wants to show you what’s hurting you.
As she laid out eight points about what applying the law of kindness can do, I was captivated. But at point three, I just found my heart on the floor. Point three was “Kindness Wears Down When We Do.”
I think we can all say that’s a true statement. When we’re exhausted, bitter, stressed, or tired, we just don’t have it in us to choose patience and giving others the benefit of the doubt. We get sharp with our words. We’re not even kind to ourselves. We slip into believing thoughts like “you’re so stupid.”
The problem is that our world tells us that when we’re exhausted, we need to isolate. Now, as someone who absolutely needs sleep, I completely advocate having some time to rest and to be quiet. But Beth reminded me of a fundamental fact.
Every single time there’s the words “build up” in scripture, it’s always in the context of the corporate community. When we’re exhausted, we’re supposed to go to each other and let each other build us back up. Sometimes that’s going to mean letting someone pray for us. Sometimes that’s going to mean letting someone listen to us as we lay it all out there, bare, even raw. Sometimes that’s going to be swallowing our pride and letting someone take our kids so that we can get a date with our husbands or so that we can get our heads together. But it’s always a matter of being transparent with others.
My heart aches as I write this because as someone who’s become exhausted, I don’t want to go to anyone else. I have a lot of fear about telling people where I’m at because there’s a lot of people who will want to slime me with so-called wisdom. But I’m not just supposed to go to just anyone. I’m supposed to go to the church community. I’m supposed to go to true believers (not the pharisee type Christians) that I normally do life with. If needed, I’m supposed to go to my pastor or my woman’s ministry pastor. I’m supposed to go to the people who have the spirit of God living inside them so that they can share Jesus with me. As I was reminded yesterday, God doesn’t dispense encouragement like a prescription. He gives us Himself. And in Him is strength. In Him is rest. In Him is renewal. When exhaustion takes over, I need somebody to bring ME back to Jesus. Not bring me back to prayer. I pray multiple times a day. Not bring me back to my daily devotional. But someone who will remind me that I’m part of the body, and it is His body.
Sure, it’s going to be a bit embarrassing. It’s like showing people that I have holes in my underpants. But if my God has told me that it’s the thing to do to be the best I can be — to live life abundantly — then it’s the thing I need to do.