[Elijah] went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die.
–1 Kings 19:4
In Nehemiah 4, we are discovering how to deal with discouragement. If you are discouraged about your lack of progress in a dream God has placed in your heart, I want you to notice here the three sources of discouragement in life. Look at verse 10: “Thus in Judah it was said, ‘The strength of the burden bearers is failing, yet there is much rubbish; and we ourselves are unable to rebuild the wall.’” The Israelites were discouraged, first of all, because they were weary. They had spent twenty-six days working on the wall, and Nehemiah said they were “failing.” In Hebrew, that word means “stumbling.” They were staggering. They were worn out. General George Patton once wrote, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Fatigue does that–it brings fear, but it also brings a distorted perspective on reality. Remember the story in 1 Kings 19 about Elijah. After the great battle on Mount Carmel when Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal and Asherah, Queen Jezebel said, “Elijah, I am going to get you good.” So Elijah ran and ran, all the way to Jezreel–seventeen miles he ran without stopping. He collapsed underneath a tree and he said, “God, just take my life. I am ready to go to heaven.” Why did he feel so depressed? It was because he was fatigued. Wouldn’t you be if you had run seventeen miles? He was exhausted, and because of that, he had a distorted view of reality. Elijah was having a bad day.
If you are involved in a major project, if you are trying to fulfill a dream that God has placed in your heart, you need to know how to deal with fatigue and the bad days that come with it. I have a friend who says a bad day is one of those days when you are so tired, you are so drained emotionally, or you are so physically ill, that all you feel like doing is staying in bed. We all have those days from time to time. If we are going to fulfill our dreams, we need to know how to deal with bad days. Let me give you three practical suggestions about how to deal with bad days.
First of all, expect them. You can expect that about once or twice a month you are going to have a bad day. If you have twenty-five bad days a month, then maybe there is something else going on there. But everybody is going to have bad days sometimes, so expect them. Second, use them. When you have a bad day, you don’t have to not do anything. Maybe that is the day you do more mundane tasks like paying the bills or returning emails, things that do not require a lot of heavy lifting either physically or mentally. Third, schedule your bad days. You might say, “How do I do that?” There are some days that are predictably going to be bad days. Perhaps it is the day after a holiday, or you have just returned from vacation. You may not feel like doing something major on that day. Use that day to plan ahead for the future. Go ahead and schedule, use and expect bad days. That is one way to deal with weariness and the bad days that come with it.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Battling The Blahs” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
George S. Patton, “War As I Knew It,” rev. ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995), 402.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org