During a recent early afternoon visit to Wal-Mart, I spoke to two employees (one at the beginning of my visit, and the other with the checker) and had identical conversations with them.
Me: (smile) "Hello there, how are you doing?"
Them: "Oh..." (blink/nod) "... I'm tired. Ready for a break."
Now, I'm not slamming either of them for being tired, even mid-day. We all have "off" days.
But these two conversations punctuated my experience of watching people walking around Wal-Mart, in the middle of the day on a weekend, looking tired and worn out.
It was, to me, a picture of a larger truth in our society: people are (by and large) shuffling through life, getting by, not really engaging with people.
Everybody's tired! All the time.
And all too often, rather than intentionally working with purpose and dignity, even employees (who used to be trained in customer-engagement and an attitude of service) are just passing time, waiting for the next break.
Of course, we moms are tired too.
Even if we're not "working," make no mistake: we're working. Constantly helping, cooking, training, re-training, tying, cutting, writing, cleaning, singing, playing, nursing, showing, watching, coaching, carrying, listening, teaching... the needs sometimes seem endless, and it makes us tired, but deep down we know: it is a GOOD tired.
"GOOD AND TIRED"
As I drove home from Wal-Mart that day, the exhaustion of childhood came to mind.
Summer days in our small town were filled with moments best described by "getting good and tired." Long walks down railroad tracks, biking all over our small town, exploring under trundle bridges, playing basketball in the driveway, building forts out in the field behind our house, swinging on a homemade swing from the tall trees at my grandparents' home... all these things made me and my little brother "good and tired."
Have you experienced days like that recently? Days where wholesome, hard work, intense but fruitful emotional investments, or fervent play, were what made you tired, rather than the fast-paced lifestyle full of commitments and events that has now become part-and-parcel of the American life?
Do you differentiate these things in your life-- the "tired" from the "good and tired?"
Consider these questions about your tiredness:
- Am I tired from good things (eternal purpose, even if it's hard)? (Examples: Up at night nursing an infant, nurturing healthy characteristics and patterns in my family, the body-wearying work of raising young children, the mind-wearying work of parenting older children, the soul-wearying work of being sanctified and changed by God?)
- Am I tired from stretching to meet goals that I/my spouse find important?
Or, are you just tired?
- What am I doing in my life that is making me tired, or using me up, but is (eternally speaking) fruitless? Am I used up on things that seem urgent, but are ultimately unimportant? (With fresh eyes, consider your daily/weekly/monthly commitments... especially those things that you've 'always done.')
- Am I feeding an unhealthy physical or mental exhaustion by continuing certain activities or relationships? Are there certain things or people you need to step away from?
DOES IT MATTER?
This summer, we built a chicken coop ourselves (yes, in the Texas summer heat, and yes, we did it with six children in tow). Some of those days ended with a bone-wearying exhaustion.
BUT-- it was a "good and tired" sort of exhaustion. Exhaustion with a purpose.
Your purpose doesn't have to be mine, and mine doesn't have to be yours (you might think I'm crazy for spending energy on the chicken coop, and that's OK)-- different women will rank these things differently-- but I think it makes all the difference in the world to know that your tiredness is for a purpose. [TWEET THAT.]
It feels different, even in the moment your head hits the pillow.
Are you intentionally using what God has given you (body/soul/mind/gifts/abilities)?
Are you "good and tired?
Or just tired?
Images courtesy of: David Castillo Dominici & Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net