I spent the last week in Louisville, Kentucky, working with children at the Free Will Baptist National Convention, my denomination's annual gathering. It was a great conference filled with worship services, choir practices, Bible competitions, and tons of quality time with great friends. But the overwhelming feeling I get as I reflect on my experience is simply exhaustion. After a week of hard work and the brutal schedule that conferences impose, I’m tired.
And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In fact, I find it entirely appropriate. If I weren’t tired after a week like last week, it would probably be an indication that something had gone terribly wrong. Because even though I don’t like feeling tired and do my best to avoid it, there are times when tired is the best thing I possibly could be.
We often think of exhaustion as an indication that a person isn’t taking take of themselves, and I’ll admit that I’ve put myself in that position before. But that isn’t always the case. I don’t think it’s true for my current situation. Did I get as much rest over the past week as I should have? Probably not. But that’s not the real reason I’m so tired. If it were, I wouldn’t be writing a blog post about it; I’d be napping. Instead, my feeling of exhaustion came from a much more positive place.
The truth is that I’m feeling tired because I put all of my available energy into the tasks at hand over the past week. Whether it was running audio and video for a service, helping teach a song for the children’s choir, or simply spending time with other people at the conference, I didn’t hold anything back. I was totally engaged and willing to give it my all in order to make the week as successful and enjoyable as possible. And of course, that left me feeling drained by the end of the week.
This experience of being dedicated completely to something is not one I’m used to. Most of the time, my mind is being pulled in a dozen different directions, and I’m rarely able to focus on any one task at a time. As I type this blog post, I’m exporting a video, uploading a file to a server, and trying to stay on top of my Twitter feed. And this is just a typical day for me. So when I get to a place where I’m able to focus all of my time, energy, and attention on what’s right in front of me, I find it refreshing.
And after the fact, there’s a sense of catharsis and accomplishment that simply can’t be beat. Like the feeling of soreness in my muscles after a particularly strenuous workout, I savor the inevitable exhaustion that comes from giving my all to something. It’s a sign to myself and to others that I really did do my best, and it gives me an opportunity to slow down, reflect on what I’ve experienced, and truly appreciate how wonderful it was. I’ve been blessed to do just that over the past few days, which is what inspired me to write this blog post.
These sorts of experiences can’t be manufactured or planned. Believe me, I’ve tried. But when they come, they are truly magical. I’m so grateful that I was able to go to the conference this year and give my all to make it the best it could be. I only hope that the next time I’m feeling this tired, it’s because I gave my all to something, because this is the best kind of tired that there is.