Lately, I have fallen into bed at night feeling completely spent. You’ve heard that phrase, right? “I feel spent.” The definition of spent is literally to be used up, consumed, emptied, depleted. We talk about spending time or spending money. But what does it mean to spend our days? I was meditating aloud a little about that here. Today I am contemplating not what it is to spend my days, but to be spent at the end of the day.
As I think about this, I immediately think about N.D. Wilson’s book Death By Living (which, incidentally, is one of my favorite books of all time ~ grab yourself a copy or listen to the audiobook in Nate’s own voice). We were created to be used. In fact, we were created to be completely used up! God wants us to be spent. In 2 Timothy 2:21, I am reminded that it is good to be separated from dishonor so that I can be set apart for holy work, useful to God, and ready for good work.
When I reach the end of my workday feeling as though I have no more energy or wit or words, it is (or ought to be) a sign that I have been busy with the work God set before me. Have I been useful to the Lord? Have I been ready for the good work He gives me? These are questions I have been trying to ask myself at the end of the days, and I seek to answer honestly and prayerfully.
“GLORY IS SACRIFICE, GLORY IS EXHAUSTION, GLORY IS HAVING NOTHING LEFT TO GIVE. ALMOST. IT IS DEATH BY LIVING.”
Do I ever feel completely spent by 11am though? Well. Yes. Yes, in fact, I often do. And that is when I take a walk, drink a glass of water, and ask God to refill me for the remainder of my day which requires a lot more spending. It is grace and glory to be exhausted. So where do we get refilled and refueled? At the feet of Jesus. In His Word. Through communing with Him in prayer. I’m most definitely not saying that an extra cup of coffee, a good cry, or a power nap are not sometimes helpful or necessary. Believe me: I run to those refill stations when I need them. But I do not want to get refueled in those ways to the exclusion of getting spiritually refilled. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Deut. 8:3) I do need physical sustenance (water, food, exercise, rest), but if I rely too completely on the physical, I can easily begin to rely on my own strength and stamina. I also need spiritual sustenance (Scripture, song, prayer, communion, quiet/rest, hiding the Word in my heart, reading what others uncover in His Word as well), which is one of the best ways for me to remember my reliance upon His strength and provision. We can learn from Psalm 81:10 that when we open wide our mouths, He will fill them, and (in 81:16) that with fine wheat and honey. He will satisfy us when we ask! Honestly: how often do I feel unsatisfied, but don’t even realize that I haven’t bothered to ask my Father for His provision?!
So when I fall into bed at night, it is a small picture of how I want to fall into the arms of Christ at the end of my allotted days on earth. Just like going to sleep at night followed by waking in the morning (or winter’s barrenness followed by the fertility of spring) is a little picture of death and resurrection, so too is my emptiness and exhaustion a foreshadowing of what I want to find when it comes my time to die.
“BE AS EMPTY AS YOU CAN BE WHEN THAT CLOCK WINDS DOWN. SPEND YOUR LIFE. AND IF TIME IS A RIVER, MAY YOU LEAVE A WAKE.”
It is a good goal to spend your life. It is a good goal to reach your death having been used up and spent.
So I ought not groan or bemoan my nights of falling into bed without energy to do another single thing before the sunrise. It should rather make me thankful, bring me to praise, cause me to rejoice. I have been given work to do, and I have done everything I can to give it my all. And it is the Lord who has provided the strength to accomplish the tasks He put in my path.
Be spent. Rejoice in being emptied for the sake of the King. When you do this work with joy, gratitude, and humility, He will refill and refuel you for what He sets before you. For the spending.