This morning I went to church, just like I do most Sunday mornings. But even though I did what I usually do, this morning started off a little different…

First, I overslept. Which almost never happens (I am an early riser…even when I want to sleep in I usually can’t). So I started the morning running late. Second, as a result of oversleeping, I didn’t get to have all my coffee in the morning…which as you coffee drinkers know, is not a good way to begin the day. Third, I hadn’t slept great, so I was feeling tired. And a tired, running late, lacking enough coffee Aaron = a frustrated Aaron.

Fourth, it had been a very long week (couple of weeks really), so I was feeling physically and emotionally spent. And fifth, life has just been less than fun of late. Which meant I was already feeling kind of stressed as well.

So yea, this morning I went to church like I usually do on Sunday mornings. But, it felt different simply because I was frustrated, tired, stressed, and honestly trying not to let hopelessness set in…because when we are tired, frustrated, stressed, etc, it’s hard not to begin to feel hopeless in the moment.

There was even a moment where I thought about turning my car around and going home instead of to church this morning. My focus was just not where it needed to be.

Hopeless! Focus?

At church I saw a friend I hadn’t seen for a while, so we talked for a few minutes. That was nice. As everything started, I found a seat and sat down. I still wasn’t feeling like I wanted to be there. I had brought some coffee with me, so I was just sitting there by myself, sipping my coffee, and listening to the announcements…still wanting to just be at home.

After the announcements we had the Call to Worship, and then we started our time of Praise. In the Call to Worship, a few different scriptures were read…one of them we as a church read aloud together. The theme of the verses we read were God’s love for us.

The Praise songs we sang had a similar theme…focusing on God’s love and grace and redemption. The first song was “Your Grace is Enough”. I knew I needed to have that reminder as I sat there focusing on my struggles and feeling frustrated and stressed. To be reminded that God’s Grace is enough (as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9, ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you”.’), was a good reminder for me at that moment.

As we continued to sing, I quickly began to realize that I needed to be there that morning. The songs we sang that morning were all perfect for me; the truths contained in the songs were exactly what I needed to hear, it was good for me to be reminded of them, and it was a much better use of my time to be focusing on God and worshipping him.

I had entered that morning battling the feeling of being hopeless. But God’s Word, through the Call to Worship and the Praise songs, began to put my focus back where it needed to be.

Hopeless. Focus.

Life is hard. Let’s just admit that. There are days…weeks…months where we are exhausted physically and emotionally, and that can take a toll on us. We begin to feel tired and weak, things frustrate us more easily, we get upset quicker than usual, and we start to feel as though life is working against us. Discouragement can easily set in, and eventually we can begin to feel hopeless.

It happens to the best of us. Not one person is immune from this.

This is why we need to make sure we take time to rest and recharge. AND, and I cannot stress this enough, we MUST also seek to keep our focus on God.

When we are feeling weak, we need to rest physically, emotionally recharge, and seek to keep our focus on God. Because if we don’t, we will run the risk of letting ourselves become too tired, too overwhelmed, too stressed. And that too easily leads to feeling discouraged and hopeless.

Hopeless? Focus!

Are you feeling hopeless? Or perhaps close to it? Is life just exhausting and you are feeling tired, stressed, frustrated? If so, I want to encourage you to take time to rest, recharge, and continue to seek to keep your focus on God in the midst of all of it.

Allow yourself time to sit and do nothing. To rest physically. Take a break. We all need rest, so don’t deprive yourself of that.

In allowing yourself to rest, you also allow yourself to recharge emotionally. To not have to think and figure things out, even for a few minutes, can do a lot. Also, if there’s something really pressing that you are struggling with, talk to a friend. Get it out. That’s another great way to recharge.

And most importantly, seek to keep focusing on God in all of it. When we focus on our struggles, our frustrations, even our exhaustion, they become bigger because they are our main focus. But when we focus on God: his love, his grace, his salvation, the truth that we are his children and nothing can separate us from his love, that this world is not our home and one day we will be with him in glory…when that is our focus, everything else begins to pale in comparison. Life’s struggles don’t go away, they are just minimized; they are put in their place when compared to an infinitely incredible God who loves us despite all of our imperfections.

So spend time reading God’s Word. Even when you don’t feel like it. Listen to music that reminds you of God and the truths of his Word. Pause what you are doing and pray, even for a brief moment. Be willing to be honest with God about what you are thinking and feeling…he will listen, and he won’t get angry at you for your honesty. Talk with a godly friend. And go to church, even if you feel like turning your car around and going home.

When we are starting to feel Hopeless, may we keep our Focus on God.

As we continue to Simply Follow Jesus in this life, and in this world that can be so tiring and frustrating, may we seek to keep our focus on God. May his Word be ever present in our life. May we remember who he is and what he has done for us, as well as who he says we are. May we truly believe that his grace is enough.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

2 Corinthians 12:8-9

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

…for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:5-6