By Rich DuBose
The antidote for anxiety is found in Matthew 6:19-34 where Jesus tells his followers to be "care-less" in a world that is obsessed with cares and worries. How can we not care when we are inundated with mega-reasons to care about everything?
In western culture we try to fill every waking moment of each day with activity. Productivity is closely associated with personal success and self-worth. This is why we're gluttons for work and busyness. Our recreation and leisure activities are so activity oriented they leave us barren and exhausted. No wonder some scream: "Stop the world, I want off!"
Do you feel stressed and overwhelmed? Are you filled with a sense of hopelessness? Do you feel like a loser because you often end up getting the short end of the stick? Welcome to reality. Life in the 21st century can be overwhelming at times.
Everywhere you turn someone wants more of what you've just run out of. There are unending bills, traffic jams, squabbling children and broken promises. You may be tempted to just check out of it all.
I once went to an emergency room to visit a teenager who had overdosed on sleeping pills. Somehow, at an early age she had reached the point where she lost all hope. She didn't want to live! Waking up from what she thought was her final sleep was a disappointment.
People spend a lot of money trying to minimize their pain. Material wealth, alcohol, drugs (both legal and illegal), sex, entertainment--all are used to try and divert attention from their soul distress. Can we find sanity and rest this side of the grave?
There are many ways to deal with stress. We can exercise, get more rest, try to bring more balance into our lives, and be on time to appointments. But relief from soul fatigue requires more than behavior modifications.
A Brighter Way
If your life is more of a burden than joy and you feel like calling it quits, listen to what Jesus says:
"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matthew: 11:28).
"I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20).
David experienced soul fatigue more than once. But he found comfort in God and left these words of encouragement for you and me.
"The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever" (Psalm 23, NLT).
As you look to the future, why not consider the following suggestions:
1. Give God your brokenness and believe what he says.
2. Find a Christian counselor who can help you sort through your problems.
3. Get involved in helping someone else.
Rich DuBose is Director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference. All rights reserved 2013.