Weights Worry and Weariness

According to market researchers, “Mintel”,  2023 has been named the year of hyper-fatigue. Every time I tell people this, there is a resounding sigh of agreement – people are tired. Tired from the ripple effects of COVID-19, lockdown, the constantly increasing financial pressures, load-shedding, never-ending admin lists and daily struggles and strains of everyday life.  Across the board, people’s capacities have drastically declined.

However, being weary is not new.

In Matthew 11, Jesus says, “Come to me, all weary and burdened…”

Isaiah 40 discusses how “even youths becoming weak and tired, and that young men will fall in exhaustion.” So clearly, the concept of weariness is a human condition that everyone is prone you.

Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become “weary” in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

The biblical description of weariness is to be utterly spiritless, worn out, loose courage, exhausted and behave badly. I find the last description of “behaving badly” quite interesting, as often, when people get so tired that they don’t care anymore – rebellious behaviour can be the fruit of apathy. One thing is for sure: if the enemy can’t stop you from becoming a Christ follower, he will do everything in his power to wear you out to the point of ineffectiveness!

So how do we not become weary?

One of the ways we become weary quickly is by picking up things that don’t belong to us. The problem with weights is that when we first pick them up, they are often not heavy, but they become heavier over time. The heavier they become, the more one becomes focused on the presence of the problem instead of the presence of God.

Hebrews 12:1 tells us to strip off every weight that slows us down.  I hear about three types of weights regularly when listening to people’s stories in the counselling room.

  1. Performance Weights: These weights are based on believing we must ‘earn’ our value.  We live in a world where the education system marks you. The sporting world ranks you; the business sector evaluates you, and social media likes you. Everything is underpinned by performance, which can lead to a life of performance as we try to impress a panel of judges. Our judges will be anyone we give the power to determine our value.  This will lead to a life of anxiety, competitiveness, comparison and calculated authenticity as we hide our weaknesses due to fear of failing. This will lead to exhausting living.
  2. Guilt Weights: These weights are based on believing it is your job to fix others, that other people’s problems are your responsibility to resolve. It is maintained by manipulation and expectations being placed on you. It will result in long-term bitterness, resentment, and ruminating conversations in your mind that you often never have until you explode. This will lead to exhausting living.
  3. Shame Weights: These weights are driven by a belief that something is fundamentally wrong with you, resulting in analyzing our fallen nature and fearing rejection. Resulting in despair and hiding and escaping behaviours. This will lead to exhausting living.

You cannot defeat, what you haven’t defined. Part of finding freedom is the ability to identify the weights that are triggering distress in your life.

Many of the weights we carry are underpinned by worries.

Philippians 4:6 tells us to not worry about anything. (Easier said than done right?) The biblical description of worry is to be drawn in different direction or to be distracted by anxious cares. The word worry comes from the term meaning “to choke.” Worry will cause you mental and emotional strangulation. It will turn peace into pieces.

The problem with worry is that is places your mind either in the past of regret or the future of fears. Worry places your mind in a position of powerlessness. Going back to Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry, instead pray.”  Prayer brings us back to the present and places us in a position of power. It is something we CAN do.  The promise that follows from here says “And then the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind.”  Biblical meaning of the word peace, is “he tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.”  Prayer keeps us present and turns our pieces back to peace.

When we live under weight and worries it will long term make us weary.  So how do we ultimately not become weary?

Hebrews 12:2 “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus.” Jesus encourages us to come to him, to pick up his yoke. When we keep our eyes on Jesus we learn his pace and grace. The message version of Matthew 11:28-30 captures this space so beautifully.

Matthew 11:28-30  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

By Madz Deyzel