Leading in Weariness
I don’t know about you, but I find myself tired and weary this spring. Easter is over, the trees and flowers are coming alive, and yet I feel like the struggling hydrangea plant in my backyard—more dry twigs than new growth. I’m not a gardener at all, but I find myself wondering if I was supposed to prune it over the winter. Do I leave the brittle twigs alone or try to remove them now? And that gets me thinking—are there areas of my life that I should have been allowing God to prune? Am I feeding myself with quality time with God in His Word, in silence, listening to His voice? Or have I been running around once again trying to live, serve, and lead out of my own strength, leaving myself weary?
I have the habit of doing too much, and when life gets busy, it tends to become more about me and less about Him. My time with God can easily become something I do, rather than a relationship that I cultivate. I don’t want to just check God off my to-do list or to lead without Him, but sometimes that is what I’m doing. During my current tired time, God has been reminding me of Gideon. In the book of Judges, Israel is being oppressed by the Midianites, and God calls Gideon to rescue the Israelites. We probably all know at least a little bit of this story, since it seems to be a favorite in kids ministry. But it bears repeating here. Gideon is afraid and by no means feels up to this task, but he follows God’s commands (after testing God many times) and amasses an army of over 30,000 men. But the Lord says in Judges 7:2–4, 7
The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands, Let all the others go home.”
‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands, Let all the others go home.”
God didn’t want Gideon or the people of Israel to feel self-sufficient. He wanted the people to know that it was only through God that they were saved. And the same goes for me. God doesn’t give me a ministry to lead because I am self-sufficient. He asks me to use my gifts, but He wants my reliance to be on Him and not myself. So in this time that I am feeling dry, I will trust God to lead me. With each volunteer who says “we’re moving” or “I need a break” when I already feel stretched thin, I will remember Gideon and try to rely more on what God can do than what I can do. I will listen and spend time with just him—refocusing on Him, refilling my tank so that I can lead where God asks and go where He says. So what about you? How are you doing this spring?