Exhausted...But still in pursuit of goals
The Military life is exhausting for all those involved. Countless activities fill our calendars, requiring both time and energy, potentially leaving us wearied and worried. Deployments, training, and life’s normal routines can leave each of us just plain tired. This reality affects relationships, job performance, and sometimes even our health. What can a person do when one finds himself/herself drained of energy, emotionally and physically worn out?
There is a Scripture that speaks to me in times when I reach my breaking point. The book of Judges tells us about the Midianites, who brutally invaded the land of Israel, leaving it nearly uninhabitable. A young Israelite, Gideon, gathered a small group of warriors and together they took a stand against their oppressors. Miraculously, they routed the larger army and sent the remnants fleeing across the countryside. Judges 8:4 says that “when Gideon came to the Jordan
River, he and the three hundred men who were with him crossed over, exhausted but still in pursuit.”
I believe that everyone can relate to this particular verse in some way. Life consistently challenges us, placing significant obstacles which we must overcome. However, life doesn’t stop when we successfully overcome our problems. Soon we will face additional challenges, often with waning energy. Initially, Gideon’s overwhelming obstacle was the vast army he had to defeat and drive out of his homeland, and unfortunately, his victory was short-lived. Now the Jordan River stood in his way. Such is life, and I want to encourage you with a couple of ideas from this verse.
First, set a goal and stay focused on it. Gideon and his Soldiers never lost sight of their main objective, defeating the enemy. When a distraction like the Jordan River loomed ahead of them, they could have lost focus, yet, in spite of weariness, they continued to pursue the enemy. Distractions can easily derail us, especially when coupled with exhaustion. We tend to lose perspective, allowing the next hurdle to deflate and/or defeat us. To stay focused, remind yourself of what you are striving for and keep those goals fresh in your mind. When a small hurdle comes along, remember the goal and maintain your perspective.
Secondly, use past successes to build resiliency for facing future challenges. Gideon gained incredible confidence by putting an enormous army to flight; a river should offer comparatively little resistance. A past success should always be a mental springboard that helps propel you over the next issue faced. Remember your past accomplishments; if you could overcome an obstacle then, you can overcome today’s challenge as well.
Finally, draw strength from those around you. Gideon never would have succeeded if not for the three hundred warriors with him. I guarantee that the three hundred would have suffered without a leader like Gideon. Whether it’s a ruck march, running in formation, or a spouse at home with the kids during a deployment, I am amazed at how the mere presence of others in a similar situation brings renewed strength, encouragement, and a refreshed sense of purpose. When you are physically, emotionally, and mentally spent, lean on those people surrounding you and endure the fight together.
The next time you feel like you do not have enough stamina to face another obstacle, remember this short, descriptive phrase: “exhausted but still in pursuit.” Let it be a badge of courage and motivation, enabling you to conquer the challenges in your life.