“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
My coffee had been reheated for the third time that morning. A mountain of rumpled laundry mocked me from the couch as I begrudgingly scribbled down my growing to-do list. The kids were fighting (again) over some toy nobody wanted until everyone did, and I was still wearing my sweaty clothes from an early morning run.
Had I even brushed my teeth?
I honestly couldn’t answer “yes” or “no” with any certainty. The only things that were certain were my souring mood and a wish for the day to be over already.
Why was I feeling so frustrated … so tired and burned-out? Nothing in my life had changed. In fact, my daily stressors were familiar, even expected. The kids woke up at their normal, crack-of-dawn time; I had decent-ish sleep and managed to squeeze in a quick workout; reheated coffee was in my system; I even found a few spare minutes to read through a daily devotion with minimal distractions.
What was I missing?
Perhaps more “me” time … more self-care time to better manage myself? A new exercise routine to shake things up and really sweat out my woes? Or stretching? Yes! Maybe try to breathe through those woes instead … or could it be as simple as a pedicure with a friend? Or better yet, a girls’ night out? Or maybe I needed more culture. Join a book club? Pick up a new hobby? There had to be something …
As I contemplated how to magically add extra hours in the day to complete all the missing self-care tasks, I only became more frustrated. As I let out a long and dramatic sigh of exasperation, a forgotten truth settled heavily over my entire being in that small moment:
These things are all temporary.
Sudden clarity and conviction overwhelmed my senses. The feelings I might experience from pursuing any number of self-care remedies were temporary.
Did it make any of them bad? Of course not! Taking care of my physical self was a good thing; adrenaline rushes are real; freshly scrubbed toes should be appreciated; and nights with good friends are much-needed. But depending on those temporary remedies to wholly sustain my soul through the ups and downs of a chaotic morning, let alone my life? Was it any wonder I was feeling so tired and burned-out?
Suddenly a word from the book of Isaiah sprang to the forefront of my mind:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV).
The Lord is eternal. He renews my weary soul with the strength and perseverance I so desperately need. There is no substitute.
My soul exhaled with relief. I didn’t need to find extra hours in the day to self-care myself to sanity. I needed to realign my heart and place my hope in the Lord. It was as simple as that.
Temporary self-care is no substitute for the eternal soul-care only the Lord can provide. And yet, somewhere — amidst the grind of the daily to-do’s, the frustrations, and the busyness of life — we lose our way.
Our hearts wander, and we find ourselves clinging to that which cannot sustain us. But we don’t have to settle for white-knuckled, clinging hopelessness. We can release our grip on the temporary and place our hope in the eternal hands of the One who does not grow tired or weary, the Creator of heaven and earth. He is our Lord. Let us not hesitate to return our hearts to Him today.
Dear heavenly Father, I praise You for who You are, the Eternal God. Forgive me for the times I’ve placed my hope in anything other than You. There is no substitute. I pray You realign my heart to Yours, and grant me strength for this day in You and You alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Written by:Corrie Gerbatz