By Barb Roberts
What do you do when you get really weary - I mean "bone weary"? Sometimes I experience that kind of weariness and I find it a difficult thing to talk about ... let alone to write about. It is a weariness that requires more than a good night's sleep but rather calls for renewal and restoration.
When life gets incredibly heavy and you feel depleted, there are, of course, a variety of ways to fill up an empty bucket. However, if the filling does not include some means of internal filling, the bucket will be "leaky!"
Psalm 23 is a favorite of many, used often when planning a funeral and absolutely appropriate in that setting - "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
He is indeed the One who comforts, and he understands the valleys through which we travel. But looking further - "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul."
Some time ago, this passage was a revelation to me as I pondered that my soul only receives filling when a very loving Shepherd fills up that empty soul. No matter the naps we take; the coffees we have with friends; no matter the funny movies or books or the music - unless he is the restorer of our souls, we will not be truly restored.
Soul restoration happens when I take time ... time to think, time to pray, time to allow the One who knows me, knows my depletion, knows what I need ... to begin the process from the inside out. This kind of inside-out-renewing cannot be rushed! It is easy to think of things we have tried that should help us feel better. In fact, there may actually be a temporary respite; however, soon the weariness in one's bones returns and it is apparent that renewal is still needed.
God is the restorer. "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-30) It is from him we learn; it is through him we are restored. "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matthew 6:26) He loves us! He restores! He is enough!
Barb Roberts has been Director of Caring Ministry for Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, CO for twenty-eight years. She is a conference speaker and teacher and has published, Helping Those Who Hurt: A Handbook for Caring and Crisis (NavPress). She and her husband, Ken, have 3 married children and 9 grandchildren. Visit www.barbroberts.comfor her blog and updates on her upcoming new book.