grace without guilt … when you’re tired

If you’re anything like me then lots of different things can contribute to making you tired.

Sometimes it’s mainly physical factors — lack of sleep, spending a day doing physical labour. Other times it’s more emotional or even spiritual factors.

Expectations are one of the biggest contributing factors to tiredness.

Whether they’re realistic or unrealistic, self-imposed or laid on you by others, expectations can drive you to push yourself physically.

They can also be a source of stress (or shame if — especially if you’ve failed to meet some expectations, letting yourself and others down).

And they can prove spiritually crippling.

Which is where passages like Ephesians 1.3-14 can provide a tonic. Paul’s great prayer of thanksgiving is informed and animated by a remarkably theocentric vision — in the light of which any expectations on me fade mercifully.

When my vision shrinks, I tend to wring myself out as I start acting like the universe revolves around me: “I’m indispensable”, “I have to do that, otherwise it won’t get done (and that, you understand, is unthinkable)”.

But if the God who stands astride history itself pours out every spiritual blessing on those who’re united to Christ, then everything’s different.

We’re freed from needing to feel like everything depends on us. Because everything depends on him. And he’s supremely reliable — not to mention supremely able!

And if it’s not all about us, then we’re also freed to take small steps.

Worthwhile action doesn’t have to be an All Or Nothing thing. We can acknowledge our limits, start in a modest way, and relax a little…

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