As an itinerant minister, I have the opportunity of meeting people of varying color, creed and country. In the last 10 years, I have found one over arching commonality… exhaustion! Let’s look at the Oxford dictionary’s definition of exhaustion it is, well…exhaustive!
Exhaustion:1 tired out, worn out, weary, dead-tired, dog-tired, bone-tired, ready to drop, drained, fatigued, enervated; (informal) beat, done in, all in, bushed, zonked, bagged, knocked out, wiped out, burned out, pooped, tuckered out, tapped out, fried, whipped. 2 exhausted reserves used up, consumed, finished, spent, depleted; empty, drained.
As I was reading this amusing, lengthy definition, it dawned on me that it was merely a list of symptoms, not the root cause. This “old school” term, exhaustion was missing a prefix that explained everything… adrenal exhaustion! The adrenal glands are two small glands (about the size of a walnut, weighing less than a grape) that sit atop the kidneys. So when these tiny glands are depleted by physical or emotional stress, overwork, fear, trauma, etc, the body experiences, chronic fatigue, poor sleep, inability to deal with stress, B vitamin deficiency, difficulty concentrating/brain fog, and even food or environmental allergies.
Considering the genius of God, I find it amazing that He has left His “crowning achievement,” Man, totally vulnerable to a pair of tiny glands. As with everything our Heavenly Father does, love is the motivator for this vulnerability. Let me explain; have you ever looked at the back of your office computer, copy machine, printer, or flat screen television? There is a tiny little fuse or circuit breaker that protects the machine from damage due to power surges, lightning strikes or polarity issues. In the same way, our adrenal glands function as a circuit breaker, that when depleted, slows the body down before any permanent damage is done.
Christians find this hard to believe, but there is just as much “burn out” within the four walls of the church as there is without. As I mentioned earlier, it is an over arching commonality, truth be told, the world is full of “quick fried Cretans” and “crunchy Christians.” It is extremely difficult to get a chronically fatigued unbeliever to listen to you, if you are a chronically fatigued believer. People are looking for answers, not more questions.
Let’s examine some of the reasons why Christians crumble even though Jesus lives in their heart.
- Works: with all the need in the world, it is important that we “stay in our own lane” and be faithful to the work God has given us to do. Remember; just because something is “good” doesn’t mean it’s God!
- Illusion: when we assume that because we are Christians, our bodies are impervious to overwork, stress, vitamin deficiency and exhaustion. Remember; our “Earth suits” are not glorified bodies, they are simply carriers of His glory; 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
- Self-righteousness: we would do well to remember the prophet Elijah’s trip to Horeb. Elijah did not flee to Horeb because God called him, he ran because he was afraid. Elijah was afraid Jezebel would kill him, he also thought he was the only righteous prophet God had left. When Elijah reached Horeb, God asked him a question; “What are you doing here, Elijah? Elijah answered; “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” When God asks you a question, He expects a truthful answer! If you read the whole story, after a powerful demonstration of power (tornado, earthquake, fire, and a still, small voice) God tells Elijah He was only in the still small voice. Then, God gives Elijah another chance to answer His question; “What are you doing here Elijah?” Sadly, Elijah gives God the same self-righteous answer as before, and it spells the end for Elijah’s earthly ministry. God ends the conversation with this statement; ”Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” Remember; self-righteousness and fear can take you on a perilous journey you were never called to.
Now, lets find a prescription for our disease. Isn’t it interesting, as soon as you read disease, all kinds of dreadful conditions filled your mind, let’s fix that! When the body is not feeling well (out of homeostasis) it is at dis-ease with itself. The word “ease” defined means; “to relax ones efforts,” so if the prefix, “dis” is added, it now means; “not relaxing ones efforts.” We are called, human beings, not human doings for a reason! God is way more concerned about who we are, than what we do. Striving, pushing, driving is not the way of the Kingdom. Jesus constantly mentioned rest, He is the “Prince of peace,” and He lives in us!
John 14: 27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.”
Sometimes the best thing you can do in the middle of a battle is lay down. Psalm 23 was written on a battlefield! David was in the midst of the battle of his life and God made him lie down in green pastures, led him by still waters, and restored his soul, right in the heat of the fight. If we could just get a glimpse of the enormity of God’s rod and staff, and His unfailing love for us, we too could lie down; stop striving and let God fight the battle. By the way, David was only walking in the shadow of death, not death, only a shadow.
Compared to death itself, a shadow is a little thing.
By nature, humans tend to be overly dramatic and fixated on big things. Jesus continually draws our attention to little things, a mustard seed, the tongue, the little foxes, and of course, a child. In God’s economy, little is big. In mans economy, bigger is better and small is often ignored. Jesus was an advocate of downward mobility, with the servant being the master of all.
The purpose of this article is to bring awareness to the little things that you may have overlooked that have more power than you had realized. In the natural, your tiny adrenal glands will shut your body down if you don’t learn to nurture them and live in peace.