I am tired, there I have said it, I am tired to my bones, exhausted, and weary, weary of trying to keep myself going. The last few weeks have been stressful, partly stress of my own making, but then had I not chosen to take the course of action I did, then the stress would have simply been different. That said the stress has taken a toll. I think that some of it is mental and emotional stress working its way into making me feel physically exhausted! It hit me last night, having had a lovely half-day out with my friend Louise, I simply knew that I couldn’t do any more that day, so I gave apologies to the evening conference that I was due to attend and put my feet up. I am not much better this morning, and am considering speaking to my GP because this has all the signs of depression masking itself as physical exhaustion. Depression is something I have suffered from before and something I have written about:
I guess to some this may seem self indulgent, maybe it is, and I am certainly not expecting anyone to read all of that, but sometimes just writing about it helps me, so if this is simply a self help tool for me then so be it! I have as I said had to put a huge amount of energy into seeking a change recently, a change that will see me ending my ministry in Sheffield and heading for the Durham Coast. Now anyone who knows me will know that I love the sea, and will know that there are many positives to this, and yet I am weary, because the process has taken a toll on me. Choosing change meant choosing uncertainty for a while, and as I was already in an uncertain place that was perhaps a bigger choice than I had given it credit for! I also put myself into a place where I could have experienced rejection, I was taking a risk, not easy amidst the best of circumstances, but then I chose this calling just as much as it chose me, and this seeking a new appointment risk comes with it!
So, maybe I am just wallowing, maybe I should pull myself together and get on with things, maybe I am lazy, of course I am asking myself all of those questions, and it is easy to give each question a questioner, a different face for each of my the inner critics by falsely embodying the questions with the faces of those I perceive to be my accusers. The truth is I am always my own worst enemy and most vocal critic, even in the silence of my own head.
I do have a lot to look forward to, I am not denying that, and I am able to do things like go out for my birthday and to welcome my family for a weekend visit, I can get out for a walk if I want to, and yet I am weary. I see friends sharing all sorts of good things that they are doing in ministry, creative ideas, projects and initiatives, and I feel weary. These are things I would love to be doing, but right now I simply don’t have the energy.
I reflect upon the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel, and how after a time of drought, and after a long intense period of time he summons all he has, places himself into God’s hands and overcomes the prophets of Baal, Time for a celebration? No, his life is threatened and he flees, exhausted he sits under a tree and prays to die, take my life he says, I am no good! Lots of drama, that far outstrips anything I have been going through, but I can relate to the exhaustion, I also notice that it when he stops that God steps in!
I reflect on my need to stop, to stop pushing myself to be creative and positive and dynamic, and simply to accept that I am tired and I need rest. So I am going to talk to my GP, and I am going to take some time off, and maybe then I will encounter God in the still small voice, the voice that invites the weary to come, to rest, to be…