He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11
Enfold, surround, wrap, hold close, swaddle. This is a word God gave me recently. Pondering these words brought some memories to mind. What do these words bring to your mind? As a young mom, one Advent season, as Isaiah 40:11 was sung over me from Handel’s Messiah, the words soothed and melted the weariness in my soul, my mind and my body. Sitting still, relaxing and listening to the chorale and orchestra, I felt a warmth come over me, filling me with comfort and peace from head to toe. It seemed God was holding me close. I cried quietly as I released the weariness. Everyone who is constantly caregiving gets weary, weary in body, weary in mind, weary in soul.
Ruth Barton in her book Invitation to Solitude and Silence points out the difference between a “good tired” and a “dangerous tired”. We experience “good tired” after a job well done, it’s temporary with quick recovery. When we are dangerously tired, we have chronic inner fatigue accumulating over months and months, that makes one feel out of control, and numb to feeling much of anything good or bad. The one is like a harmless spring rain shower and the other like an unpredictable eerie green tornado sky. Being dangerously tired doesn’t necessarily mean being physically exhausted, but it needs attention. Inner lacks become the sources of spiraling into deeper levels of exhaustion.
God reminded me of another significant enfolding as I prepared to write. It came when our children were grown, gone and adulting. I had been away from God’s word for too long. One night when I came to the end of myself, I began to read the Psalms. I felt such a soothing consolation come over me, I couldn’t stop reading. My soul was so thirsty, the words were so life-giving.
What do you do when you are weary? Run to the arms of Jesus? Read his word? Ruth Barton suggests viewing God as a caring parent, someone you can talk to about your tiredness and who can offer help. She recommends to get still and give yourself permission to become aware of your tiredness in body, mind, and soul with compassion, then talk to God. This will open up the opportunity for God to touch you and care for you in the midst of your weariness. Take time to posture yourself today and let him enfold you with himself, all that he is and all he can do.
By Donna Burns