When Your Body Is All Worn Out
A Gentle Reminder from Elizabeth Rice Handford
I have a dear friend who earns her living by cleaning houses and businesses. We don’t see each other very often because of her work schedule. She’s alone in the world and depends on what she herself earns every day to pay her rent, buy her groceries and gas, and pay her taxes.
She used to work a full six days a week, but recently she’s accepted a job to clean a business on Sunday. She feels desperate: if she doesn’t accept every job she’s offered, she fears she’ll end up homeless.
“The body wins every time!” I’ve been there-too many obligations, all of them important, too little time, too little strength, but a conscience that kept me staggering to get it all done. It was self-defeating. Depriving my body of rest meant that I made more mistakes. It took me longer to do simple tasks. I was harsh with my children. Being worn out took away all my joy in life. I had to learn that I could get done everything God intended me to, and still get the rest my body needed. I did not honor God by driving myself beyond my strength.
I remember during the terrible days of World War II, when America faced formidable enemies both beyond the Atlantic and the Pacific. Manufacturers tried to increase production by requiring workers to work seven days a week. To their surprise, production fell. Workers couldn’t drive their worn-out bodies to work faster, no matter how determined their hearts were.
Last week, the World Health Organization announced some scary statistics:
“Working long hours is killing hundreds of thousands of people a year in a worsening trend that may accelerate further due to the COVID-19 pandemic. . . . In the first global study of the loss of life associated with longer working hours, the journal Environment International showed that in 2016, 745,000 people died from stroke and heart disease associated with long working hours. That was an increase of nearly 30% from 2000. . . . Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard.”
How can you relieve some of that pressure? By analyzing your work carefully, seeing how you can work smarter, talking with your boss to set priorities, making a good night’s rest a priority, being aware of the snippets of wasted time in your schedule.
But most of all, commit your life-all of it: work, rest, recreation, worship-to the God who created you and who knows exactly what you need. The Lord Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28-30:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
And you will find rest for your souls,
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Do you feel “heavy laden” each day as you go to work? Then let Jesus, the One who created your body with such loving care, take all your burdens. Then you will find rest for your soul.