Are You Tired?

by Julie Francis

Have you ever wanted to quit? Give up? Throw in the towel? Throw up your hands? Walk out the door?

Are you tired? Tired of turning the other cheek? Putting others before yourself? Praying for your enemies? Blessing those who curse you?

Are you weary? From stress? Obligation? Conflict? Boredom? Same old/same old?

Are you sick of falling back into your old patterns? Stalled progress? Lack of results? Not seeing the fruit from your hard work?

Are you exhausted from lack of sleep? From depression? From difficult living conditions? From days on end without a Sabbath and no break in sight?

Do you wonder if you will make it out alive? Wonder how high the price will be? The amount you’ll have to pay? Who or what you will have to sacrifice?

Have you had it with giving things up? Saying goodbye (again)? Moving? Transitioning? Not having a home, connection, deep roots?

Are your tired of waiting for the blessing God promised? Is this the “full life” you expected?

Is it all… worth it?

Staring through the bars of a prison cell doesn’t seem like a very full life. Chained in filthy conditions. Little food. Forget the comforts of home. Yet, Paul wrote these words in confidence:

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Your purpose in life isn’t to be comfortable. The world has lied to you. Your purpose in life isn’t to store up treasures on earth. The world has lied to you. Your purpose in life isn’t to do what makes you happy. The world has lied to you.

Your purpose in life is to please the Spirit. You will gain everlasting life! So, don’t give up.

By God’s grace, by the power of the Holy Spirit, by the joy and peace that come from being united in Jesus in his suffering and death– you can learn to be content no matter your circumstances. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. You can rejoice in your sufferings. You can know with certainty that what has happened to you will turn out for your deliverance. And that God works all things for good for those who love him.

Are you tired? Worn out? Bored? Apathetic? Sick of doing good? Exhausted from suffering? Are you about to fall under the weight of the cross God has asked you to carry?

Don’t give up. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit. Amen.


Julie Francis has lived as an alien and stranger in Southeast Asia for seven years and counting among a large, unreached people group (less than 1% Christian) with her only teammate and husband of 13 years. Together they raise their five Third Culture Kids. She likes drinking tea, ministering to children, and talking about loneliness, the power of the Word, and the faithfulness of God in hard times.

On Compassion and Fighting Fatigue

A young woman laid on the bed writhing and crying out in unbearable pain.

She had been coming to classes at our Maternity Center for many months. She had been given sufficient time to know us, but had never really come to trust us.

Her baby had been born. She had spent some time recovering and being encouraged as she began this new important role, being a mother. She was doing well, or as well as a 17-year-old mother with little emotional support at home can do. We drove her to her home – made of tin and tarps and plywood – once she felt ready to go.

On the day she returned to us, a little more than a week later, her thighs were covered in burns. A common practice after giving birth in Haiti had not turned out so well for her.  Boiling hot water had scalded her legs and rear end.  “My aunt forced me to do it”, she shared.

As the deep burn was being debrided she cried and begged and wondered aloud why her mother had left her to be cared for by an aunt.  It was a heartbreaking moment.  The heartbreak was compounded knowing that this young girl had lost much in her life, knowing that there was little anyone could do to protect her from her powerful aunt, knowing that sometimes all the classes and teaching and encouragement do not prove to be effective or bring about change.

Those of us working among the poor are often obligated to tell our success stories.  Those stories are the ones that encourage donors to give.  The truth is, most of us find that the success stories are much harder to come by.

We see things we have tried to help prevent happen in spite of the trying and teaching. We see failure. We see it often.  We see pain. We see sorrow.We experience those things with the people we work with, care about, and love. We don’t celebrate “success” as often as we would like.

A quick search of the words “compassion fatigue” turned up dozens of articles on the topic.  It turns out that being with a person that is going through something traumatic also causes trauma to those that are attempting to help.  It can get tricky. Too many burned thighs and crying girls and a person can become cold to the pain of another. Too much “failure” and a person becomes cynical or hopeless or both.

This is something I think of often.  How can we keep ourselves from burning out?  How can we keep from becoming either too hurt by or too indifferent to the pain of those we walk with in our day-to-day work?

As I have considered this I have often thought that if the day comes where the suffering of another does not affect me, that might be my sign that it is time to take a break or leave completely.

Many years ago Sara Groves wrote a song entitled “The Long Defeat”.  In that song she expresses beautifully some of the things we think and feel and do in order to deal with fatigue (whether it be true “compassion fatigue” or just plain old boring and regular fatigue).

I have joined the long defeat
That falling set in motion
And all my strength and energy
Are raindrops in the ocean

So conditioned for the win
To share in victor’s stories
But in the place of ambition’s din
I have heard of other glories

And i pray for an idea
And a way i cannot see
It’s too heavy to carry
And impossible to leave

I can’t just fight when i think i’ll win
That’s the end of all belief
And nothing has provoked it more
Than a possible defeat


We walk a while we sit and rest
We lay it on the altar
I won’t pretend to know what’s next
But what i have i’ve offered

And i pray for a vision
And a way i cannot see
It’s too heavy to carry
And impossible to leave

And i pray for inspiration
And a way i cannot see
It’s too heavy to carry
And impossible to leave
It’s too heavy to carry
And i will never leave

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What about you?

Do you struggle when something you have taught or shared or done fails?

How do you protect yourself from the pain or anger that comes from those disappointments? 

Tara Livesay works and lives in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
blog: | twitter (sharing with her better half): @troylivesay