I want to share a quick story about prayer in my life.
About a year ago, I began feeling like I had a dark cloud hanging over my head. I was feeling blah, out of it, just kind of down. Since you don’t know me, this is the exact opposite of my usual personality. I’m an extreme extrovert, happy, outgoing, and positive, so this “dark cloud” season was definitely out of character.
I even found myself disengaged in my job. I’m a campus coordinator for a church which includes hosting special events, leading volunteers, etc. I remember one Sunday we had a large event, and typically, I’m bouncing around making sure everyone is having fun, but I found myself disconnected and just going through the motions that day…almost like I was sedated. Most people can push through when it comes to their jobs, but I couldn’t even do that, so I knew something was wrong.
Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t immediately seek the Lord in prayer at the beginning of the “dark cloud”, but I’m still learning to seek Him first! So, a couple of weeks in, I finally began asking some questions in prayer: “Lord, am I slipping into a depression? Is this a spiritual attack? Am I finished in ministry?” He didn’t answer immediately…and that’s okay! I kept asking and waiting.
During the waiting period, one of our pastors called a special time of prayer for the entire staff. Apparently, there was a general sense of heavy spiritual battling amongst our staff.
We gathered, worshipped, prayed, and waited for the Lord to respond…and here’s what He began to speak to my heart that day, unpacking it over the next several days.
God: “Yes, there is spiritual attack right now, but I’m going to use this to teach you something — you don’t know how to rest!”
Me: “Wait, what? Of course I know how to rest; it’s one of our church’s spiritual habits – Rest, Bless, Gather, Go! And how does rest have anything to do with what I’m feeling?”
God: “The dark cloud and heaviness you are feeling is not depression, but exhaustion.”
Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting that depression is merely exhaustion; this was just specific to my situation. Please consult a mental health professional if you are feeling depressed—there is help and hope!
God: “You don’t know how to mentally rest, and yes, that also affects your physical rest. Your brain is a hamster on a wheel, trying to fix your problems, running what-if scenarios, dwelling on all the things! A racing mind is NOT a restful mind! Bottom line…you’re not trusting Me! And when you don’t trust Me, you won’t feel rested, but you will feel exhausted and burned out in your life and work. Essentially, it’s like you’ve short-circuited and the power is shutting down. Think Energizer bunny when it’s run out of battery life. Again, you’re not trusting Me…and that’s prideful!”
Me: “Ouch. Wow, I didn’t see that coming. Thanks for the Truth Bomb! You’re so right. God, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being prideful and not trusting You. I’m sorry for trying to run my own life to the point of exhaustion. I’m sorry for not running to You sooner. I’m sorry for working from my own strength. I’m sorry for not acknowledging that true rest is only found in You. I’m sorry, God. Please forgive me?”
God: “Yes, you are forgiven. I’m glad you surrendered all these things to Me. I got them. You take a nap.”
That was the BEST nap I’ve ever had, I didn’t feel gross and groggy when I woke up, but I felt refreshed and light!
He did a work in me that was a major breakthrough in my freedom journey, and it happened in prayer!
I’m not here to tell you how to pray, do this or that, but just encourage you: God really does listen. He wants us to seek Him in prayer, and He wants to meet us where we are, He wants to set us free from the things that are weighing us down.
Are you exhausted? When was the last time you really rested? Are you trusting God? Maybe now is a good time to ask God, “Why?” and see what He has for you.