I Need My Second Wind…How About You?

tired-runner

“Second wind is a phenomenon in distance running, such as marathons or road running, whereby an athlete who is too out of breath and tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance with less exertion.” – Wikipedia

I meet lots of people who are weary today. Many of them are fellow baby boomers, who get tired more easily than in their younger days.

But weariness is an epidemic affecting people of all ages, and often it has little to do with physical stamina. The weariness is typically more emotional, spiritual, and relational than physical.

I’m referring to a weariness that goes beyond anything Starbucks or Red Bull can cure. Can you relate?

When that kind of weariness hits, it makes us want to quit…give up…throw in the towel…or simply curl up in the fetal position. As General George Patton once observed, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Marathon runners experience this. Usually around mile 20 they “hit the wall,” feeling like their energy has vanished and they can’t possibly run another step. There seems no hope of making it to the finish line at mile 26.2.

Yet long-distance runners often testify that something magical happens if they press on a little farther. Just when it seems the race has been lost, they suddenly get their “second wind.”

I need a second wind today, don’t you?

Some days I just want to quit. Other days I think I have just enough energy to sprint a little further until I keel over. But what I need is simply a second wind—energy enough to complete the race, all the way to the finish line.

Fortunately, Jesus understands that life is a marathon, and He offers a second wind to those who’ve hit the wall:

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

Whenever I read this beautiful promise, I’m struck by Jesus’ offer to provide “rest for your souls.” When my body is tired, I can simply take a nap or a vacation. Although those solutions may be helpful, they fall far short of what I truly need: rest and refreshing that penetrates all the way to my soul.

Another stunning thing about Jesus’ offer is that it’s not a 3-point or 5-point self-help plan, so common today in our sermons, articles, and books. Instead, it just has ONE central point, on which everything else depends: “Come to me…”

This promise of Jesus was foreshadowed by another great Bible passage about what we can do when we hit the wall and are weary of life:

The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary…
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint
(Isaiah 40:28-31).

Notice that “even youths”—not just the elderly or baby boomers—“will become weak and tired” and “fall in exhaustion.” But the good news is that God offers us a second wind, “new strength,” when we cast our burdens on Him and spend time in His presence.

Too many Christians are relying upon the “wind” they received at their conversion, often several decades ago. No wonder we run out of steam when we do that.

What we need, instead, is a fresh infilling with the wind of the Holy Spirit. That kind of “second wind” will change everything.

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Regaining Your Lost Song

When our family moved from Florida to North Carolina, we realized after a few days that our blue Parakeet was being awfully quiet. Tweety, as we called him, had always been a joyful chirper while we lived in Florida—but now it seemed he had lost his song. For a whole month, Tweety’s silence continued, to the point that we wondered if he would ever be the same again.

I missed the cheery atmosphere that Tweety had previously provided, something I had taken for granted and not appreciated like I should have. It appeared that the trauma of moving 10 hours away and adjusting to a new climate was more than he could bear. When days past without a song from Tweety, I became concerned that he might even die from the strain of our move.

Then, as suddenly as it had disappeared, Tweety’s song returned. Once again, his happy chirping filled our kitchen and lifted our spirits.

Tweety’s resilience is a lesson for us all. Resilience is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”

Birds aren’t the only creatures that can lose their song—people can too! In fact, I’ve experienced this myself numerous times over the years. Sometimes, like Tweety, I’ve experienced traumatic events that temporarily robbed me of my joy and my sense of purpose. At other times, my song disappeared amid sheer boredom or fatigue. I just didn’t feel like singing anymore, or even living, for that matter.

During these times when I lost my song, it seemed as if it might be gone forever. Life is pretty dreary when you’ve lost your vision, and that happens to me from time to time.

Thankfully, God has always restored my lost song in time. Sometimes He does this instantaneously, but at other times I’ve had to wait for weeks or even months.

During my “lost song” episodes, I’ve had a surprising epiphany: Often when my song returns, it comes in the form of an affirmation of some dream or vision that God had already put on my heart years before. But at other times, I’ve been blessed by unexpectedly receiving a “new song”—some fresh insight into the Lord’s future plans for my life (Psalm 40:1-3, Jeremiah 29:11).

If you’ve presently lost your song, as has happened to Tweety and me, recognize that you aren’t alone. This is a universal human experience, and if you’re a visionary, creative type like me, you’re likely to get hit the hardest.

Time is on your side in the restoration process. Make sure to surround yourself with loving friends who can help you regain your equilibrium and perspective. And a brisk walk or trip to the gym might help you get rid of the cobwebs too.

Don’t believe the lie that your joy will never return. Instead, turn your heart fully to the Lord. Spend time in His Word, where you’ll see how some of the Bible’s greatest heroes lost, and then recovered, their vision and their song.

Some of your most valuable lessons will be discovered in the midst of life’s storms. He is in the restoration business, and He knows exactly what you need to get your song back.

Can’t you hear the music begin to play in the distance? When you hear heaven’s irresistible serenade again, you can’t help but sing. You might even want to put on your dancing shoes.

 

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