I sat down for a quiet time this morning. Me, a classic stress-case who couldn’t recognize the signs until they were staring me black-and-white in the face. I wouldn’t consider myself a high-stress person, but my hormones are telling me otherwise. Off-the-chart high cortisol, both day and night – or, as a girlfriend put it, “Girl! You’re waking up stressed and going to bed stressed!”
If I’m honest, figuring out how to manage my hormone levels is just one more thing that, well, stressed me out. And I sat down weary this morning, rehashing the last few days with God in my prayer journal – needing to get it out now before I forgot later so that I could come back in that forgotten-later and remind myself of how He worked this one out for me as well.
Is there a psalm for exhaustion?
I wrote the prayer-words, and asked that, if there was, God would point me to it. And then I did a google search, which pointed me to one little verse toward the end of Psalm 76:
My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
And then I did what I also do: I began to dig. And as I dug, I re-wrote the verse in my journal with those newly dug-out words:
My body, my heart, and my mind fail. They are spent. Used up. Depleted. Exhausted. But thank You, LORD, that it’s not a Job 19:27 kind of exhaustion – the kind that’s exhausted from disappointed hope. You know how long we were stuck there. This time, it’s different. Thank You that I’m on the other side of the miracle. Thank You that I’m a different kind of exhausted. But still … exhausted.
And then came the two words that always elicit a deep breath of “stop here for a minute and acknowledge this” relief: but God.
I am exhausted. But God.
I am depleted. But God.
I am completely spent. But God.
“But God,” Psalm 73:26 says, “is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
There are three things about the second part of that verse. First: the word heart can also be translated mind (which meets me right where I am at – still learning to take captive every thought so God can take captivity captive and fill that emptied-out space – just like I talked about in my last post). And, second, that strength word? It means a rock wall or a cliff. And if you’re one of my Dear Monday readers, you’ll know what that means (and why it’s a trail-marker)! (If you’re not, you can join the free party here!)
And the third? It’s the root of that Hebrew word for God-strength. It means “to shut in, shut up, enclose.”
So, that letter that I wrote to myself? About taking every thought captive and shutting the door and letting God fill that space? It turns out that He doesn’t just move into a gutted-out space where lies once lived. He makes all things new, right? Isn’t that why He tells us to renew our mind? Re-new and re-build and re-paint and make new?
Once we take the initial faith-steps of clearing out the junk from our minds, He gets to the work of renewing our minds. And it’s by way of Psalm 73:26, and being that rock-wall cliff strength of your mind that He uses to shut you in, shut Satan up, and enclose entirely around you. And He does it so that He can then go all Zephaniah 3:17 on you: rejoicing over you with gladness, quieting you with His love, and rejoicing over you with singing.