Good Exhaustion

A Good Exhaustion

No one wants to feel exhausted, but one type of exhaustion is beautiful. I want to be exhausted in the sense of doing everything God has asked me to do. When I meet Jesus, I hope I have exhausted the plans God had for my life.

I love how Exodus 16:19 describes the manna God sent down from heaven each day for the Israelites wandering the desert. Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.”

I can’t help but think this is how God fuels our bodies – by giving us enough energy for each day for us to use up completely. Sometimes our lack is not from giving away too much but from clinging to it too much or hoarding it.

I don’t want to miss opportunities because I’m trying to conserve energy for tomorrow. We can trust that if God leads us, he will also provide what we need.

Now, this is not an excuse for us to max ourselves out, but a reminder that the Christian life is not a cakewalk. If we are expecting never to feel tired, I’m not sure I’d call that really living. We will undoubtedly face hardships and different seasons that require a lot from us. But when we stay focused on what God is calling us to do, those feelings of exhaustion can be buoyed by the knowledge that we’re doing what we’re supposed to do.

If you’re exhausted in a good way – meaning you’re living an abundant life for the Lord – rejoice in it! See that good kind of exhaustion as a sign that you love hard and live well.

I experience this type of exhaustion after a full day of doing what God has called me to do-serving my spouse, playing with my kids, meeting a deadline, or pushing myself through the afternoon wall and making it to bedtime with a smile on my face. When I go into my children’s rooms at night and stare at their faces in the dim light, thanking God for them, my body might be dead tired. But I’m energized because I feel like I did what God called me to do that day. As I get rid of the world’s version of tiredness, the exhaustion I feel is a footnote to how full my soul feels.

*adapted from a devotional by Valerie Woerner, whom I do not know or know what else she may or may not believe or stand for.

Then what?

As a pastor and a counselor, you’ll often get variations of these questions from a spouse:

– “How do I get my husband to stop/start doing this?”

– “How do I get my wife to start/stop doing that?”

It could be disrespect, a porn issue, nagging, negligence, etc.

The reality is that your options, as the wounded spouse, are few — if the person doesn’t want to repent, resolve, or restore the conflict, issue, and/or sin.

– You can talk to them about it.

– You can pray to God about it.

– You can change any of YOUR behavior that exacerbates or contributes to the issue.

– You can involve others who can take the same actions.

Those are the main actions you, as the spouse, can take, and they ARE powerful.

But, again, you can’t force a person to change who doesn’t own their fault or want to change.

If these actions don’t yield the desired results (your spouse doing what you think they should be doing), spouses tend to resort to things like…

– Threats/ultimatums

– Using children as pawns

– Physical intimidation

– Sexual withholding

– Various forms of manipulation

– Etc, etc

This is like throwing water on a grease fire. It doesn’t put anything out and spreads the fire elsewhere.

Obviously, there is a time to involve both the civil and church authorities.

I want to focus on the church authorities.

I’ve had many husbands tell me that they appealed to their elders for help with a wayward wife and didn’t get any help whatsoever.

In some cases, they got blamed for the problem. They were told that she wouldn’t be that way if he loved her like Jesus loves the church.

I’ve heard people say stupid and unbiblical things like that. So I don’t doubt they were told that in some of these cases. That’s not to say that the problem may not be that the husband is not loving the wife like Jesus love the church, but it is not always definitively the case. Sometimes spouses just refuse to be Biblical to own their faults and work on themselves…then what?

I tell these husbands—and this applies to wives as well—to ask the “then what” question.

– Let’s say the elders call your wife to a session meeting and rebuke her. If she still doesn’t change, then what?

– Let’s say the elders actually excommunicate your wife. If she still doesn’t change, then what?

– What if she switches churches and that church takes her side? Then what? Now you are married to an excommunicated woman attending a different church.

– Let’s say we totally redo our divorce courts where a spouse can’t divorce without a legit reason. Then what?

– Let’s say they try to divorce you, but the court doesn’t allow them. Then what? You are married to someone who is only remaining in the relationship because they can’t get out of it legally. I think that would be a very unpleasant household.

You can’t force someone to love or respect you.

You can’t force them to love God and respect His authority.

There are clearly times to involve the courts, whether they be civil or ecclesiastical.

My counsel is to patiently give yourself to these three actions for as long as possible:

– Talk to them about it.

– Pray to God about it.

– Change any of your behavior that exacerbates or contributes to the issue.

– Exhaust these actions as much as you can.

– And before you involve the courts, ask the “then what” question and think through it.

Well said and proven true in so so many of my own counseling experiences. I’ve added some of my own adaptations to the above from Michael Foster.

Impactful Leadership

Strong, effective, and impactful leaders are not made by titles, offices, appointments, duties, etc.

Impactful leaders are forged by God, not by men, out of faithful servants. When we faithfully love and serve God by loving and serving His image bearers, God rewards faithfulness with the gift of increased responsibility and audience to those whom He chooses.

If you want to be an impactful leader in your church, community, workplace, organization, team, etc. — follow well, be faithful, be a servant.

– If you don’t know how to follow well, no one in their right mind will release leadership responsibility to you.

– If you’re not faithful to the mission, vision, values, and strategy of the organization, you’ll not be trusted with leadership responsibility.

– If you do not have a servant’s heart, then you do not have the heart of God and will be ineffective as a leader.

Don’t seek the title…don’t seek the position…don’t seek the office…don’t seek to LEAD…seek God’s favor in your obedience to His Spirit and His Word. Seek to SERVE.

Our Identity

Those of us who have been made alive together with Christ Jesus, those of us who have been made the sons/daughters of the King, those of us who are being conformed to the image of Jesus…

Our behavior flows from our identity, not from our feelings.

How we live is determined by who we are.

Our identity, not our circumstances, always drives our behavior.

What we do/how we behave is always going to flow out of who we are.

If you live for yourself, it’s going to reveal itself in your behavior.

If you live for the glory of other people (which is another way of living for yourself), it’s going to be revealed in your behavior.

If you live for the glory of your Creator and Savior, it’s going to reveal itself in your behavior.

A Critical Spirit

A critical spirit often comes from a place of idleness.

In my 30+ years of ministry, nearly every time I’ve seen a critical spirit tamed, God has used a change in station that altered their idleness – they got a job, they got married, they had kids, they started working on an education, they had a crisis, they started caring for others, they had a major move, etc. They no longer had the idle time to ponder the imperfections of others.

None of those things in and of themselves will cure a critical spirit. This only comes by the work of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with a follower of King Jesus who desires to walk in sworn allegiance to His person, in obedience to His Word, and in likeness of His character.

Being critical is simply a manifestation of our arrogance…thinking too highly or too low of ourselves. Humility is the act of thinking of ourselves less.

Humility cares for others…it doesn’t criticize them.

Philippians 2:2-8

make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. [3] Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; [4] do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. [5] Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, [6] who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, [7] but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. [8] And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross.

1440 Minutes

Those of us who will live through this day have been gifted 1440 minutes that we will leverage for the gods/idols we serve.

For those of us who serve the Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator, and Savior of our souls, those minutes gifted to us are exactly what we need to leverage well, who we are and what we’ve been given…to rest, to work, to learn, to teach, to love, to care, to prepare for the next day, Lord-willing.

There’s no such thing as “too busy” or “not enough time.” What we’re actually saying is, “I gave priority to things that I wasn’t designed/intended/supposed to do.”

Take a beat. Acknowledge Who it is that you serve and then honor Him with your time, your relationships, your agenda, and your tasks.

Jesus is the Reason for the season…He’s also the reason for our existence.

Acceptable Worship

Not all worship is accepted by God.

This is why we encourage our church family every Friday evening/Saturday to prepare their hearts for The Lord’s Day BEFORE coming into the gathering. It’s not only important to faithfully attend the gathering of the body on the Lord’s Day, but it’s essential that we do so with a Gospel-centered heart focused on the Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator, and Savior of our souls — or it’s self-worship.

God killed two priests in the Bible for using incense that was not prescribed by God for worship.

Just because we “feel” like our worship is worship, it doesn’t mean our worship is accepted by God as worship. Neither our heart nor our mind defines worship.

God defines acceptable worship. He reveals what acceptable worship is in His holy, living, complete, authoritative Word in what we call The Bible.

Sola Scriptura.


Do you ever suffer from FOMO (feelings of missing out)? You see your friends doing things – going places, having dinner, hosting parties, etc. – and you’re not included or invited? I sometimes do.

When I do, I have to take a beat for a personal inventory:

  1. How much of my conversation with others is about how busy I am (there are not enough hours in the day or days of the week) and how tired, exhausted, or stressed I am?
  2. How many things do I miss, skip, or decline for the above reasons? Has this made people feel I don’t want to be invited or included?
  3. How often do I speak negatively about the things that I DO participate in or the people I DO spend time around?
  4. How often do I initiate the invitation myself and include others?

No one likes to be told “no,” “not this time,”, “maybe next time,” “sorry,” etc., over and over again. Many of us want to be considerate and not burden expectations on others who are already “too busy.” Sometimes people just stop asking because they care…not because they don’t.

God’s Truths have not Changed

Mark those who cause division among you. Be on your guard so that you are not carried away by error…don’t believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit, you will recognize them. There are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception. They must be silenced because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach…and that for the sake of dishonest gain.

There’s no such thing as a “new take” on Scripture. God’s truths have been God’s truths since the beginning of time, and they will remain His truths through the restoration of His Kingdom. That doesn’t mean that there are not truths in Scripture which you have yet to uncover through your study and discipleship, but there are no truths that have yet to be uncovered by a modern generation.

A Citizen of His Kingdom

King Jesus, the Messiah, God in the flesh “with us,” loves you and wants to have a relationship with you, no matter what idols you’ve worshiped, your lifestyle, past choices, or beliefs about yourself or others. That’s the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel of Jesus.

If you accept that GOOD NEWS, here’s the even better news. He forgives you, His Spirit comes to dwell in you, regenerates you, redeems you, reconciles you back to Himself, and restores you to His original design before sin broke you and your world. Here is His ask — maybe not so much an “ask” but His “conditions” for becoming a citizen of His Kingdom, a member of His royal family:

In the same way that He died for you, you must die for Him – deny self, take up YOUR symbol of death and follow Him. Die to your will, die to your agenda, die to your self-worship, die to your desires, die to your way.

He is Messiah. He is Lord. He is King. We’re in His Kingdom now. This is His family.