rebelling against low expectations

When Life Happens and You’re Tired — Look Up


“Jesus, I love You…but I’m tired,” Dad sighed, leaning against his headrest, as we sat in our Landcruiser about to head into town.

I bit back a smile at the words, so simple, yet so raw and real and honest. We were preparing to run some errands, and already the day had been full of everyday, unpredictable, West-African adventures. The power had gone out not once, not twice, but three times. We found a new tear in one of our mosquito nets – which might not sound like a big deal to you, but to us that’s like getting a megaphone and yelling, “Hey mosquitos! Come give us malaria!” There were roaches all over our kitchen…because bugs just happen to be everywhere in West Africa. To top it all off, we were running tight on money that month.

Yes. We were tired.

I leaned my head against the window, loving the little moment of quiet inside the car as a world of chaos spun around us.

Suddenly, my little brother opened the door to our gate, waving a shopping list at us. Dad got out of the car, walking towards Abijah to grab the list. Upon reaching the door, however, the dog we were watching for our missionary teammates jumped out from behind Abijah and ran into the streets. After a long “dog-chase”, retrieving the shopping list, and closing our gate once again, Dad hopped back into the car.

“Jesus, I love You…but I’m tired.”

We continued down the bumpy, red-dirt roads. Plastic bags littered the ground as motos beeped, cars honked, and chickens and goats zig-zagged through the maze of it all. A moto cut in front of us, and Dad hit the brakes, letting out a frustrated sigh.

“Jesus, I love You…but I’m tired.”

Dad’s phone rang and he handed it to me, asking me to put it on speaker. It was Luc, one of our West African friends, “Hello, Mr. Arrow? I am sick and I don’t have money. Could you please give me some money to get the medicine I need?” Dad agreed, telling Luc we would come to meet him. After stopping to give him the money, tell him we were praying for him to get better, and getting into a typical unrelated-and-seemingly-never-ending-conversation, Dad got back into the car.

We drove in silence for a few minutes, then he gave a half-hearted laugh and said once more, “Jesus, I love You…but I’m tired.”

As we continued down the road, red-dirt dust trailing behind and the rush of village noises blurred in the background, I looked up at the sky. Soft pinks and yellows wisped in a lovely array of clouds billowing over the setting sun. African sunsets are truly breathtaking.

“The sky is pretty.”

At that, Dad smiled and laughed. “Jesus, I still love You and I’m still tired…but thank You for the pretty sky.”

It’s Okay to Be Tired, God is Your Sustainer

Have you ever prayed the words my Dad did so many times that day?

Life can be extremely overwhelming and stressful. And you know what? It’s okay to be tired. No matter how “superhuman” you try to be, you are going to have hard days. And it’s okay to admit when you're having one, even to Jesus. Share on X

Life can be extremely overwhelming, stressful, and frustrating. And you know what? It’s okay to be tired. No matter how “superhuman” you want, or try, to be, you are going to have hard days. And it’s okay to admit when you’re having one, even to Jesus.

The truth is there’s a lot of beauty in a simple, sweet, honest prayer like that. It is like saying, “Jesus, I’m Yours, I trust You, I’m going to obey, I’ll follow You all the way…but I cannot do it on my own. Jesus, I’m going to need You to sustain my anxious, weary heart because I’m too burnt out, exhausted, and overwhelmed to keep going on my own.”

And here’s the beautiful thing: He will sustain you.

Psalm 55:22 encourages us, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

You know that old saying, “God will never give you more than you can handle”? I’ve learned time and time again that it’s not true. God will give you more than you can handle. And He’ll do it so, at the end of the day, you’ll look back and say, “Only You, Abba. Only You could get me through that in one piece. Only You could bring something precious from such chaos.”

Sometimes God pushes us past our limits, to remind us that only He can make the messy things beautiful. Share on X

Sometimes God pushes us past our limits, to remind us that only He can make the messy things beautiful.

When You’re Tired, Thank God for the Pretty Sky

Isn’t it funny how sometimes it takes our being completely worn out to see the beauty in the little things?

I have always loved the sky, and I can honestly say I have never looked up and not been absolutely amazed at the wondrous sight. Whether stormy with grey-hued clouds billowing like an angry sea, or a bright sun streaked by orange and red as it sets over the Savanna’s horizon…God’s sky is breathtaking.

Sometimes we have to step out of the little box we put ourselves in. See, as humans we can get so caught up in day-to-day life that we forget to hold onto the bigger picture. We forget to see ourselves as the small humans we are and this life as the short glimpse-in-time that it is. We forget to rest in the Lover of our souls, forget to cling to the Redeemer of our hearts.

Step out of your box, friend. When you’re tired…look up at the sky. It’s a beautiful blessing God graces your life with every day. It’s always there…just like your loving Father.

And when you look up, remember the words Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Whisper, “Jesus, I love You…but I’m tired.” And then? Thank Him for the pretty sky. Choose to give voice to gratitude. Because He loves you enough to give you a reason to smile with every breath you take.

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About the author

Rue Arrow

Rue Arrow is a soul-pondering, rain-dancing, dawn-seeking, child of the Father with deep feeling and intrigue for both the blessings and brokenness in this beautifully messy life. Her desire is to forever embrace every season, fully valuing this mere breath, while carefully sharing her heart-thoughts, enlightening imaginations, and hopeless romantics for all things lovely with the world. You can further journey with her in this endless pursuit of God's heart through her blog ThisMessyThingCalledLife.


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By Rue Arrow
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →