God, I’m Worn Out

God, I’m Worn Out

August 19, 2014

“When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.” Psalm 142:3 (NLT)

Lysa TerKeurst

Have you ever had one of those late night come-to-Jesus moments where the weight of regret lays heavy across your chest?

For me, it usually happens because in the hectic pace of the day, I blew up at one of my kids, I brushed past a moment of connection with someone God put in my path, or I rushed through all the moments without stopping to enjoy any of them.

I’ve discovered a great source of stress, distraction and exhaustion in my life. I say yes to too many things. I take on too many good things, which causes me to miss my best things. It’s so hard to say no and let go of opportunities that come my way. But if I don’t learn the gift of release, I’ll wrestle with a lack of peace.

I saw this visibly a few years ago when I traveled to visit a friend. As soon as she picked me up from the airport and we started driving, I saw the fallout from the storm she’d tried to describe. A massive 20-inch snow in the middle of fall.

But it wasn’t the amount of snow still on the ground, or the snowmen proudly standing that grabbed my attention.

It was the broken trees. The branches were piled everywhere.

House after house. All down the street. Disastrous piles of limbs — big piles of trees — all still clinging to the leaves that hadn’t dropped yet. And because the leaves hadn’t dropped, the trees broke.

That’s what happens when a snow comes early. The trees weren’t designed to face snow before releasing their leaves. They weren’t made to carry more than they should. And neither are we.

I know the weight of carrying more than I should. And usually it’s because I’ve refused to release something before taking on something else. If I want to choose a Best Yes, it’s crucial I make room for it first.

Otherwise, a Best Yes can quickly become a stressed yes. And a stressed yes is like snow on a tree that refuses to release its leaves. It causes cracks and breaks at our core.

If we refuse to release before we add, we will get overloaded.

We see how refusing to release gets people in trouble all throughout the stories in Scripture.

Eve refused to release the forbidden fruit. And because she became hyperfocused on that one thing, she missed out on the best things in paradise.

Esau refused to release his urgent need for some stew. And because he became hyperfocused on eating that soup, he missed out on his birthright.

Moses refused to release his fear that just speaking to the rock as God commanded wouldn’t actually bring forth water. And because he struck the rock twice, he missed out on entering the Promised Land.

Each of these people paid a high price for their refusals to release — to let go of their ways so they could walk in the amazing way of God.

It wasn’t God’s desire for any of these people to suffer the consequences they did. Each of us has a free will, which means we have the freedom to make choices.

God tells us the right way to go, but we have to make the choice to do so. Choices and consequences come in package deals. When we make a choice, we ignite the consequences that can come along with it.

It was true for Eve, Esau and Moses. And it’s true for you and me. Refusing to release often means refusing to have peace. I trade my peace for a weight of regret.

Release is a gift to a woman weighed down, grasping her leaves in the midst of a snowstorm, so desperate for help. She can feel the twinges and hear the creaking sounds of a splitting break about to happen.

She knows she can’t take much more. She remembers Psalm 142:3, “When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.” Tears well up in her upturned, pleading eyes. “God help me. It’s all too much. I’m tired and frustrated and so very worn out.”

The wind whips past her, trailing a whispered, “R-e-l-e-a-s-e.” She must listen or she will break. Her tree needs to be stripped and prepared for winter. But she can’t embrace winter until she lets go of fall. Like a tree, a woman can’t carry the weight of two seasons simultaneously. In the violent struggle of trying, she’ll miss every bit of joy each season promises to bring.

I think sometimes I’m resistant to release because I fear missing out. But, in an effort to hold on to too much, I wind up stressed, exhausted and at my breaking point.

Release brings with it the gift of peace. There are some opportunities I need to decline today. There are some things I need to say no to in this current season. There are good things I need to let go of so I can make room for the best things. Then and only then can my beautiful, bare winter branch receive its snow. When we release in peace, we signal we’re now ready to receive.

Receive what’s next. Receive what’s best. Receive what’s meant for this season, right now.

I don’t know what you have to release right now. But I suspect you know. Just like I do in a few areas of my life.

So let’s release. With release comes more peace. I see that now. I believe that now. And soon, I pray you will too.

Dear Lord, only You can help me with this release. My heart seeks to obey You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Are you living with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule and aching with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul? Lysa’s new book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands can help! Click here to purchase your copy.

Learn to release and embrace peace with Lysa’s free, 5-day “Unrush Me” Challenge. The challenge will be sent right to your email every morning to encourage you before all of the day’s demands come flooding in. Click here to sign up!

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What do you feel like you need to release? Offer this thing up to the Lord in prayer and ask for wisdom, discernment, and direction.

Lysa TerKeurstClick here to pin the imageClick here to download this free printable PDF

© 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much. Perfect timing for me.

    • These days, my husband, Ron Smithand I are keeping an open mind about what our future plans may end up holding. Ultimately, we know just how much God unconditionally loves both… of us. Whatever our future holds is in His wonderful hands. This is just something that we can’t control on our own without praying to God at all times.
      “When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.” Psalm 142:3 (NLT)
      Wow! What a powerful verse tonight! When we are feeling overwhelmed, God can help us overcome whatever our circumstances may happen to be. Ultimately, God knows how we should conduct our lives in a way that is going to be most pleasing to His eyes.
      “Choices and consequences come in packaged deals. When you make a choice, we ignite the consequence.”
      Wow! WhAT A WONDERFUL REMINDER! CHOICES AND WHAT HAPPENS come
      together. When a certain choice is made, the consequences are put into place. God wants us to make the right choices that are going to be pleasing in His eyes. Rather than making bad decisions, we need to learn how to do the right thing by making decisions that will benefit others and us in a positive light.
      “Dear Lord, only You can help me with this release. My heart seeks to obey You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”~Lysa TerKeurst Wow! What a very powerful prayer! At this midnight hour, I’m praying that my husband and I hear some good news tomorrow about our possible appointment that we’re attempting to arrange for sometime this week. It would most definitely be a blessing if this doesn’t fall through the way our vacation did already.
      Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast,
      because they trust in you.” (NIV)
      Wow! What a very powerful verse during this midnight hour! If we continue to trust in the Lord, He will make sure that we keep our minds set on Him always. Nothing should steer us away from relying on God in times of great trial. Unconditionally is how He loves each and every one of us, no matter what may be going on in and throughout our lives.

  2. Toxic relationships

  3. I am trying to figure out what to release. Four kids-two are twin infants-, a cross country move and now the start of school and all the busy-ness of that schedule is beginning again. I think all I can do is pray for strength to get through but I need to remember that it is all a blessing.

    • I knoe that God hasn’t walked out on my husband and I. he is with us, no matter what our circumstances may hppen to be. Amidst any challenges we may be dealing with at all times, God is always going to be there for us. Challenges may come and go for Ron Smith and I, but we know that we are going to eventually overcome whatever challenges and obstacles we may be dealing with every now and then. No obstacle or challenge is too scary for us to handle together. We know that our destiny of where we’ll be by this time next year is most definitely in God’s hands. “Do you ever feel like God’s walked out on you? My friend Wendy was violently attacked and went through a long period of darkness, fear, and loneliness.

      Wendy was angry and felt abandoned by God but in the middle of her struggle, God gave… her hope while she was reading in the Bible about the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt. God had promised to deliver them, but all they could hear were Pharaoh’s chariots chasing after them. And all they saw was the Red Sea blocking their only escape.

      Yet, when Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, the Bible says that all night God parted the waters so they could cross on dry land. They couldn’t see what God was doing in the darkness but He was helping them just as He’d promised.

      This reminded Wendy that God was working to carry her through her darkness even when she couldn’t see it.

      No matter how dark life feels, God is near and He’s working to rescue us, too!” ~Renee Swope “Do you ever feel like God’s walked out on you? My friend Wendy was violently attacked and went through a long period of darkness, fear, and loneliness.

      Wendy was angry and felt abandoned by God but in the middle of her struggle, God gave… her hope while she was reading in the Bible about the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt. God had promised to deliver them, but all they could hear were Pharaoh’s chariots chasing after them. And all they saw was the Red Sea blocking their only escape.

      Yet, when Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, the Bible says that all night God parted the waters so they could cross on dry land. They couldn’t see what God was doing in the darkness but He was helping them just as He’d promised.

      This reminded Wendy that God was working to carry her through her darkness even when she couldn’t see it.

      No matter how dark life feels, God is near and He’s working to rescue us, too!” ~Renee Swope Wow! How so very powerful! No matter what we could possibly be going through throughout our lifetime, God is always going to be there. In good times and bad, we’re never going to face any difficult times alone. God is always going to be there to lead us down the riht path that He sees fit for our walk with Him, no matter what circumstances may be hindering us.
      “Jesus, help me remember in the dark what You taught me in the light.”
      Wow! What a very powerful prayer on the night before our very big day tomorrow. No matter how things turn out, I know that Jesus is always going to be walking with us. He isn’t going to leave us to fend for ourselves. He is merely going to help us fight off whatever trouble Satan may attempt to throw in our direction at all times.

  4. Franchesca says:

    This was really great. Thank God I think I always get a message from these posts. There a lot of things I need to release, and I know the biggest one, at least I think I know but I’m not sure what to call it. Maybe it’s just not being able to be at peace, even though I am really, but just in my mind and heart I need to let go and let God do the work that He will do in me because He has done it and has been I just need to trust and be happy and don’t miss the moments. I don’t like that I have let myself or even the enemy steal moments that I know I need to be completely happy and not worried. I need to let go and let God just because He’s so lovely and way more than I know.

  5. I’m very excited about your new book the best yes and the study group. It is really going to bless me…I do feel very overwhelmed with full time job, wife duties, and 4 kids, and caring for my frail elderly mother. And I am very busy with church ministries that I feel like no time left for me. I love to read and do devotional study. Prayer…also. But I am learning to say no and to some activities. Thanks!!

  6. Lysa, this is such a crucial message for today’s women. I’m praying your book will touch many lives.

    Oh, I have so many things on my plate: being a wife, homeschooling mother, church planter, writer, friend and mentor/discipler. I’m asking God for wisdom to say yes and no to the right things.

  7. CONFIRMATION…had this very conversation with a friend today…I know and accept this to be true…my heart is submitted to THE LORD…and I sincerely pray HE continues to strengthen me in this area.

  8. Lysa I really liked the example of an overburdened tree. Very useful for me as I am too in the midst of an overwhelming schedule. I was about to take up one more academic study and this is really a warning from God. Now I am clear that I will not say `yes` to that at this point in my life. Thanks a lot .Please pray for me as the burden of ministry presses , I need wisdom to make right choices.

  9. Anna Dault says:

    Love your comments! They are always so encouraging,helpful!

  10. Sandra Gyan-Mante says:

    Was having doubts on letting go… What if I’m suppose remain in that persons life..or what if that thing I’m letting go of would be beneficial to me oneday…but its been sorta confirmed..God bless

  11. Angela Christensen says:

    Wow Lysa,

    This is an amazing devotional. SO true. Just like I see many others need to do, I myself need wisdom to know of which things I need to release. Sometimes it’s so hard to decipher which things need to be released, because it seems like the need for US in so many areas is so detrimental. I need to pray for GOD’S wisdom. Thank you for this devotional! May the GOD of ALL Wisdom bless you!

  12. I’m in a different point in life right now. I spent too much time being idle and saying no to everything. Now, I feel God filling me and giving me the desire to do things I’ve thought about for years. I know I have to pace myself and to some,it probably looks like I am taking on too much but I feel Him guiding me to new accomplishments. For me, maybe God had me to say no for a while so I could eventually give some best yes’es to several things.

  13. I too, am wondering what to ‘release’. I am a divorced mother of 9 (4 at home). My husband left us 4½ yrs ago for someone else. I was patient at first knowing the Lord would send help my way. But its been too hard for too long….. What to do in addition to pray?? I’m worn out!!!

    • Clara sulpice says:

      Sounds exhausting, do you have a supportive group of friends, church, family? Praying for you this morning Mary.

  14. I am so looking forward to this study because I have the hardest time saying no! Far too often I end up like the overburden tree just about to snap. Yet, I feel like if I don’t say yes it won’t get done! Grrr! Boundaries lady! Listen! Do you not hear what God is saying?

  15. Even though I am a man, I am currently struggling with this situation in my life. Dealing with my ex-wife and the consequences this will have in or son’s life. But I am reminded that I need to seek Christ in order to make the best decision and asking for His will to be done.

  16. Lysa,

    I want to just tell you I think you are one of the most gifted writers I have ever read and your honesty and passion for drawing closer to God and helping us all do so is something I appreciate so much! You are so real and your words are so encouraging! I only have 1 of your books and I re-read it all the time! On this post about release, I think it is something we struggle with, especially if we are pleasers and we don’t want people to dislike us if we say no. My second child just left for college and now there is just one high-schooler at home. I am having the opposite problem in that it is a season to release and I am so sad that she is gone. I know in my head all is well and she is exactly in the center of God’s will and doing fabulously, but I just miss her and 5 states away is a long long way from home. I did say yes to helping with a new project for my son in a group I have said no to in past years. I am glad to be doing my part there and concentrating on work too, but how do you move forward with the best yes when you know it’s right when your heart is broken for the changes endured when another one leaves the nest? Also, please know I am praying for your family! As I stopped in Charlotte on the way up to school with my girl to meet a friend who lives in Matthews, I thought of you! I wish you a blessed year. Erin

  17. Doormat in Texas says:

    Thank you for this. I feel a bit distraught right now. After 8 years of giving my company 200% of my time and energy, not taking vacations, working weekends and staying late….I have decided to go part-time and pursue my hearts calling on the side. I no support from anyone, including my husband. I believe God is moving me and trying to open my eyes to see that I was created for so much more than working in a cubicle, stressed out, overwhelmed, for pennies a day. I can do something I love for pennies a day. Wish me luck!

  18. Thank you for the tree illustration helped me see what I am doing in my life. Letting go and letting God is not easy for me, but it hit hard while reading why I am breaking cause im trying to do more than I should. I am trying to take the reigns back from God instead of trusting him.
    I need to search my heaer and listen and release

  19. So true. This happened while I was living in CT. The power lines and the trees…. they were on the ground. Even the pines. It was such a heavy burden for those trees with leaves that still held the warmth of fall, not yet having the time of cold to harden their branches to even attempt to hold up. It was indeed a great visual of what burdens look like on us. We can’t take on everything. That’s why God gifted us each differently….none of us should bear all the burden.

  20. Tammy Harrington says:

    Awesome devotion! I love the analogy of the tree branches and how a season can only handle one season at a time. I must know when to say YES! I love the Proverbs31 ministry, and I am so grateful that God uses each of you to do his work! Have an amazing day!

  21. Very good article. I do feel overwhelmed sometimes with a full schedule. There are two new things I feel the Lord calling me to do, so there MUST be something He wants me to release. I don’t know what it is, but I’m praying for wisdom, discernment, and direction. If anyone reads this, I appreciate your prayers that God makes it clear what I need to release. Thank you! God bless you.

  22. Anita Smith says:

    Just yesterday i realized that God had given me the release i needed if i would only take it…release from sorrow, grief..feeling of loss… guilt. i am feeling freer and lighter- more hopeful. thank you for the beautiful reminder this morning- i will try to remember the snow covered branches 🙂 (wish i could pin this to my board on pinterest -hint hint 🙂 )

    • I so relate to this, Anita. These are some of the same areas I struggle with and thanks to this timely (thank you, Father!) devotion I have the confirmation that my time of release is NOW. I can’t put it off any longer so I’m going to choose to be obedient today and release these areas into His hands. I was lecturing my oldest on choices & consequences this morning so I need to stop being hypocritical and lead by example. Thank you Lysa for this beautiful, timely devotion.

  23. daisy kaith says:

    single yet powerful statement that really struck me – the gift of release..I tend to say “yes” to all opportunities, neglecting what is more important – obeying the Lord…

  24. Helen Evans says:

    God answers every prayer! I just walked in from my deck after sending up a prayer asking for an answer in written form. This is usually the way I get my answers.
    I went to your post and here it is!! I have no doubt that early retirement is what I must do in order to fulfill other obligations at home.
    Thanks to all at Proverbs 31 Ministry for all you do. Every post is so spirit filled and carries a powerful message! God bless.
    Lysa God used you in a mighty way today!! May he continue to do so until He use you up!!
    Love and blessings.
    Helen.

  25. Wow is this an amazing devo today! I was driving home from a bridal shower on Sunday, filled with unwanted and unneeded stress……..no joke, as I was praying to the Lord a leaf that had already changed (red,) fell onto my windshield. As I read this today, I could feel God tugging at my heart, Janelle let it go. God is SO great, feeling His love and peace.

  26. I am not struggling with being too busy. I have cut my work schedule down tremendously so I could study the Bible more. Where I need release is from sorrow, grief and loss!!I lost my 24 yr old daughter and 5 yr old granddaughter in a car wreck. I have been studying so much and finding some peace awaiting for when they would set a trial date. They finally set it for Dec. 18th, this year. I was told what to expect. They will reenact the accident over and over again BUT they will show the pictures of the accident. Them in the car and all, even their injuries. I have been praying so hard. I can’t do the pictures but need to be in the courtroom and God gave me the answer last night! When they start to show the pictures. Turn and get on my knees where I am sitting and pray through it all. Things will be OK. I’ve turned this over to God. HE will see me through.

  27. I am struggling big time with stress anxiety depression… Even wanting to go on.. I am a mother with 2 kids and work full time.. My 2 boys are a big handful with crying arguing nog listening.. StrAight up defiance everyday… I don’t know what to do anymore.. I pray and try and seek god but my mind is so busy that even if he did talk to me I probably would not hear it… Feeling very hopeless .. I wake up everyday not wanting to go thru another day .. Very lonely… I know god word but have a hard time applying it and understanding.. I never feel good enough

  28. Rose,I ‘m praying for you!!! I struggle with depression and anxiety too.i ask that The Lord will give you peace and strength that could only come from Him.He has not left you and He never will…hold on …He loves you!!!

  29. Lysa, Thank you so much for your wise words! I lived through that same fall storm, but never thought about it in relation to my life. I desperately need to learn to say “No,” so I can say “Yes” to other opportunities God might have for me. Looking forward to reading your book! I pray that God will continue to bless you and your ministry.

  30. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom. I have much to pray about and ponder as I wait for God to lead. In June, I was a full time school counselor, a caregiver for my 81 yr. old mother, a weekly volunteer working with at risk teenage girls, a wife, mother of a college student, and a grandmother of beautiful granddaughters. I enjoyed all of these roles and thanked God for all of them. Today, as I sit in a hospital bed , over 30 days out from post surgical complications, my world has grown much smaller and quiet. Due to a compromised airway, I underwent a tracheostomy this week. I am several states away from home and in a state of release not chosen. I am not confused or dismayed but am waiting before God to see what He decides is best for me. Release for me has come totally unexpectedly and in some areas, total. Silence before God is a good thing and this may have been the only way I could hear the quiet whisper of His voice in this release. A very timely devotion for me to see what God restores. If nothing more, time and quiet with God is a gift.

  31. I think it’s so strange that I am holding onto things that are weighing me down. How do I not know I am doing this? How do I not know what I need to release?

  32. I’m so tired.

  33. I just came across this accidentally. ..after having a day full of tears,disappointments, heartaches,disgust…I could go on and on. .I was at my breaking point! This really helped bring light to many things.

  34. Dear God,

    Thank Your for this reminder. I was just so sick and stressed this past few weeks. Every time I remember You, You gave me peace and love to continue in this work, you’ve given me.

  35. Jasmine says:

    I think people who can’t release often suffer from control issue. They want everything to be done in a perfect way. They are usually very capable people. If we do not let go of the control of our lives, there will be no space for God to take control of our lives. Well written piece, thank you so much! “There are good things we need to let go of so we can make room for the best things.” Well said.

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