When a person goes though some physical trial like an injury or some test like climbing a mountain, we all understand that his or her body needs rest. They need time to recover, to heal. And during that time we don't expect them to be at 100%. We have a smidgen of that idea with our minds where we recognize the need to unplug and veg after some tough mental trial like a BA test or giving a speech.
But I don’t think we have any context for a spiritual analogue to this idea. I reckon we all know of times where our hearts are broken or weary or just under assault but I don’t see that we accept a kind of decreased capacity as a result of those trials. We seem to act as though our spirits have no real need for rest or healing.
It’s been a tough season for me lately and as I was going to bed the other night I felt bad because I’d had so little energy to pray or seek God. Even just soaking was more than I had the oomph for and I was starting to feel guilty. The message sounded something “Prayer is the thing you know you need most right now and look at you – a spiritually lazy scrub who just watches Netflix or plays Portal in your inconsonance.”...but my heart was heavy and the best I could do was shrug.
But I think increasingly that that message came from the enemy. Not from me, and definitely not from God. In fact the only way that idea makes sense is if I buy the line of thinking noted above – that my spirit needs no rest, no succor, no time to heal, regardless of the trauma it faces. I hear the Spirit say something like ‘Give yourself a break man – you’re going through a lot right now. Hang in there, endure, fight the good fight – yes to all of those things. But you can’t do everything at once.’
In this frame of a weary spirit it’s definitely true that my head is down, I’m just trying to get through, and I loose some of my capacity for ‘depth’ in that state. My ability to commune and hear his voice gets attenuated. But I realize that over this last month I’ve been riding on other people’s faith, cribbing from their insights...and it seems like the next best thing. It’s hard to ‘find God’ when you’re stressed but I can go to books or prayers, or clips like the guys making “Killing Lions” (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkw0sKw3xJTfV6T57cfCZgg) and I can feel like their faith is carrying me along...exactly as much as I allow that. And it’s not like a second-best experience or somehow a flattened vicarious thing, but it feels like a way to let somebody else bear my burden and to allow other parts of The Body compensate for my own season of stress and weakness.
That’s a neat lesson to learn.
It makes he enemy’s accusation of failure seem false. Specifically as I embrace the weakness that he’s pointing at – a weakness that’s real – I can thereby reject the condemnation he’s trying to slip in with it. Suddenly the weakness and weariness, the heart break and the hurt all seem holy, or at least human. And truly His strength can be made perfect.