There’s no doubt, this pandemic has made many of us weary. Let alone, life itself can do that to us. However, I believe you and I have functioned rather well as we’ve navigated new and unfamiliar waters in the last year. We may not have navigated them perfectly, but we’ve managed to keep moving forward, even if it’s been slow going. But the common tone I’m hearing lately is we are a weary people. Some of us have heavy hearts. Some of us are burdened with more than we care to admit. So, what can we do when your heart or mine becomes weary?
What can we do? Would a vacation help? Maybe. Would adding more to our already full schedules help so we wouldn’t have to think about our weariness? Probably not. Or should we just do nothing and hope our hearts become less weary? I’m not sure that will help, either.
What if we tried something else?
A practice I devised and am learning is this: Pause, Ponder, Praise.
When my heart becomes weary, I realize something needs adjustment. I’m usually unsure of the cause or source, so I force myself to pause. I hop off the hamster wheel of life for a time to cease activity and be still. That’s not easy for a person like me who struggles with being idle. I’m usually stuck in high gear, so forcing myself to pause is necessary (but uncomfortable) for me. Even when I pause my body, my mind wants to rush ahead. It’s not easy to practice pause, but it’s worth it.
Take, for example, this morning.
For days my heart has felt heavy. After I exercised and prayed and got myself ready for the day, I sat down and wrote in my notebook. This is a new practice for me… free-writing as many mornings as I can fit it in. I’ve only completed a handful of days, but this new habit has been an inspiring one. I write whatever is on my heart and on my mind, with no censorship allowed. (I had no idea how often I censor myself! This reality has been eye-opening!) Needless to say, this morning’s writing was full of my heart’s heaviness.
As I continued to write, I decided to jot down everything that was burdening my heart. And let me tell you, I quickly filled the page. With concerns, questions, hurts, and worries. Then I wrote beside the list, “Lord, I give all of these to you today, because I can’t handle them.”
After spewing my long list in my journal, my mind was clear enough to ponder (consider, evaluate, examine) truth. Because I know full-well, my emotions and feelings can override truth. Once I was able to get my feelings on paper and out of my head, I was able to turn my focus to reality. True reality. I turned to God’s Word and was reminded of Jesus’ words in John, chapter 16.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.John 16:33 NIV
In reading this in context, the truth of how Jesus overcame the world through His life, His death, and His resurrection (which we get to celebrate next weekend!) was evident. But, what about the first part of this verse. What are “these things” Jesus is referring to? Well, in summary, He promised the Holy Spirit would come in His absence after His death. He said the disciples’ mourning will turn to joy because they would see Him again. He was giving His deciples His peace as He would soon return to His Father.
“These things” can encourage us as well.
We aren’t left in this world to fend for ourselves. The Holy Spirit is our Helper, our Advocate, our Counselor.
We, too, will see Jesus one day face-to-face.
Jesus’ peace is ours, as well.
Because Jesus is with His Father, He is interceding (intervening, pleading to God) on our behalf.
When your heart or mine becomes weary, this verse is a powerful one to remember.
The third part of this practice invites us to praise God for what we’ve pondered. This reminded me of many truths:
My feelings don’t need to dictate my life.
I have the Holy Spirit to guide me, to equip me, to protect me, and to strengthen me.
There’s nothing I need to handle on my own.
God helps me, so my heart doesn’t need to feel so weary.
I have Jesus’ peace.
Jesus is pleading to God on my behalf, and soon I will see Him face-to-face.
These are beautiful truths I can cling to and focus on. The result? My heart turned hopeful by following this simple process. I’m still learning it, and I’m not doing it perfectly, but it’s making a difference as I practice it when my heart becomes weary.
The next time your heart becomes weary, or if it’s feeling weary now, I invite you to give this a try.
Pause. Ponder. Praise.
Friend, I pray this helps you as much as it has helped me. I’m so glad we get to journey through this life together, encouraging one another!
God bless you, friend!