The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Virtue in fatigue?

It might slow us down, so we could feel the Spirit blowing

There is a little sign in my office that reads, They are not hot flashes, they are power surges. Some mornings I drink a third or fourth cup of coffee, hoping to encourage the latter. Most weeks I listen to a variety of people who are lacking in power surges. They are just plain worn out.

Coffee cupThere are lots of reasons: illness, looming disappointments at home or at work, aging, too much to do, raising children. Mothers of small children are always tired. The fatigue of a mother is so profound that the memory of it remains in our bones for the rest of our lives.

But, believe it or not, fatigue may be a virtue. Being worn out might mean we are too tired to complain. Fatigue could also set limits on obsessions, grudges, preoccupation with self and crazy schemes to change the world. It may make us grouchy, but it could just as well lead to empathy, patience and compassion.

Author Carol Zaleski observed: “Fatigue is a gift to our fallen human nature without which we might have the stamina for endless mutual harassment and mischief.”

Instead of complaining, we could flop down in a chair and call a friend. We could dream different dreams, laugh till the tears run down our cheeks, wake up surprised at the first frost, fall in love with God all over again.

If we’re tired and slow down, maybe we could feel the Spirit blowing through us, creating a new space that makes the old one feel cramped as we become aware that we are beginning to allow ourselves to be surpassed in our desires.

Fatigue might do that.

It might also help us remember Jesus, the One who said his yoke is easy and that he will share ours. Picture the oxen’s double yoke with your tired shoulders holding up one side and the strong shoulders of Christ Jesus holding up the other. If that doesn’t make your fatigue feel a little like a virtue, it might at least make it matter less.

And the memory might remain in your bones for the rest of your life.


Athur Crouse

Athur Crouse

Posted at 6:36 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/31/2008

When we are most fatigued, worn out, frazzled, and seemingly done in; we search for the "next step."  Our human nature, provided by our Lord; provides us with the will and ability to recoup our energized self and attempt to find our proper next step.It may be another cup of coffee, it may be a loved one's encouragement, it may be simply a call to or from a friend, but we search. At these times in our lives is when the Holy Spirit reaches out and touches us with inspiration. When we are beaten down, a lump of malleable clay, without clear,direction or purpose; God provides and works his will within us. Whether is be simply a reprieve, a new calling, a lesson we need, or a childs hug that provides new breath; he provides. His will; so vast and unfathomable; works in us to deliver his love from ourselves to others. We end up touching lives and even providing inspiration! We become the disciple. When you are "fatigued" look a bit deeper and take the hand offered, as indeed it is the beginning for you and perhaps me as well. Accept the graceful strength offered and share the peace of Christ's love in Christian fellowship. Always be thankful in prayer for the blessings in our lives and also the blessings in other people's live you withness to.

Thank you for the article Pasotr Wee.
Sincerely, and God's Peace to you and yours,

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Embracing diversity