I looked across at her worn weary face.
“You okay?” I asked.
She looked up. It seemed as if she were searching for a moment to come up with the “right” answer until she finally landed on, “You know, I think I’m just tired. I really think that’s all.”
I have been there, both with the being tired and the searching for an answer. It seems at times as Christians we have to have some reason for why we are acting the way we are. Often our theology tells us there is a root cause or a need for healing that is leading to our tired eyes, our weary glances, our terse outbursts and our spiritual apathy.
But, sometimes… sometimes I think we are just pure and simple tired.
Parenting is exhausting. Discipling your kids on top of that is even more demanding. Being intentional day in and day out can be wearying. Having to be “on” all the time, ready to address behaviors, talk about tough topics, negotiate sibling rivalries and you know, cook dinner, do laundry, date your spouse, clean the house, exercise and bathe… it can get tiring.
I think we need to give ourselves and others space to say, “I know I’m making excuses today and I know that I am being lazy, but it’s not because I’m struggling with anger towards others or bitter towards life or sinning against God, it’s because I am tired.”
The other day a parent wrote me a quick note and you could hear the desperation of someone who wants so badly to raise their kids in a godly home with intentional discipleship and meaningful routines, but who was so tired that even writing me took all the energy they had. Here’s the gist what I wrote back. I hope it can encourage you as well, that even when you are tired, God can use you in powerful ways to lead your family to Jesus.
Ah, I can hear it in your note. You are T-I-R-E-D. You are the one to whom Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.” And on top of being tired, you are weary, labeling yourself as lazy, unworthy, not-good-enough, a bad parent and those labels are weighing on your soul.
But those labels, they just aren’t true. A lazy parent doesn’t write a note asking for help. An unworthy parent isn’t worrying about their kid’s spiritual health. A not-good-enough parent doesn’t ask “Where can I do better?” Those things are markers of love, hope and godly desire.
The only label worth keeping is this one alone – Loved By God. Even when you are exhausted and tired, you are loved. Even when you do unlovable things, you are loved. Even when you make mistakes, you are loved. And even when your kids seem like more than you can handle, you. are. loved.
And you. are. tired.
Because you. are. human.
But God gives greater grace. In our weakness, He is strong.
So instead of trying to “add” discipleship to your home, why not just invite Christ into what you are already doing? If you are eating dinner, why not ask your kids, “What was your high today? Your low? Where did you see Jesus?” If you are already putting kids to bed at night, why not say, “Do you have any questions you’d like to ask me?” and see where that leads? If you are already driving to a myriad of practices and appointments and grocery stores, why not use that time to pray for others in needs, memorize a couple of verses, listen to a Bible story, do a Faith Talk, or celebrate a God Moment? And if you are already waking the kids up in the morning, why not do it with a blessing or a song or a prayer?
And know that in those moments, as tired as you are, they will hear LOVE and they will see JESUS. And may the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, give strength to your mortal body.”
Sometimes, it’s not about repenting or confessing or healing.
Sometimes, its about resting and receiving and relaxing.
It’s about letting go of the high expectations we put on ourselves and replacing them with high expectation on our God. It’s simply saying, “You know, I think I’m just tired. I really think that is all.”
I want to share with you this blessing that our families receive during every Family Faith Formation night at our church. It has become precious to me because it reminds me on the tired days, that Christ is always with me, even when my eyes are closed.
May the light of God shine over you.
May the Holy Spirit fill you.
May the blood of Jesus cover you.
May you sleep in peace.
May you always know just how much the Lord Jesus loves you.
May you learn to see God, even when your eyes are closed.
For more information about
- Practical Strategies for Welcoming Kids into Corporate Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- And much more!
About the author
Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at ChildrensMinistryBlog.com.