My family loves the Marvel movies centered on the “Guardians of the Galaxy.” My favorite character is Groot, a tree who moves, fights, and talks. At least he sort of talks because all he ever says is “I am Groot.” But Groot uses different intonations when he says, “I am Groot” so that we understand he means different things at different times. His friend Rocket the Raccoon is the only one who understands what he means in the first movie, and Rocket’s responses inform the audience what Groot actually said. Rocket knows Groot so well that he knows Groot is communicating more than what his actual words, “I am Groot,” indicate.
I’ve realized I have my own “I am Groot” phrase. I find myself saying “I am tired” on a regular basis, either to myself or others. But I don’t always mean that I am physically exhausted and need a nap. Sometimes, “I’m tired” is based on my unending worry about a problem and my mind is anxiety ridden. I might claim that “I’m tired” when I’m actually lonely or isolated. I sigh, “I’m tired” when I feel weighed down by the turmoil in the news and discord in the world. And when I say, “I’m tired of it,” I’ve reached my coping limit and things are probably going to get ugly quickly. At other times, “I’m tired” means I am soul tired and feel distant from God.
I said, “I am tired” so often that it became like my default slogan. But I found that I didn’t take the time to dig deeper and find out what was actually underneath my professed tiredness. I didn’t ask myself the real reason I was tired at any given moment. As such, I didn’t know how to respond to my tiredness. When I realized what I’d been doing, I learned to pause after “I’m tired” came out of my mouth or ran through my mind. Maybe I needed that nap after all, or maybe I needed to journal to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Often, talking to my friends or gathering with my community was the key to restoration. Sometimes, turning off the news and social media for a while was the road to rejuvenation.
In all of the circumstances, I needed to pray and seek God’s help with whatever made me feel heavy and off balance. The Bible says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7. God is with us in the midst of our tiredness, no matter what kind of tiredness it is. When we seek God, he can lift us up, help us determine the source of our weariness, and guide us in discerning how to curb our fatigue. All because he loves and cares for us.
God knows what I really mean when I say, “I am tired” because he knows me so well. God understands our deepest needs even better than we do. God can help us better understand ourselves, what we really mean, and what we need to do when we are tired or scared or stressed or feeling any other negative emotion because God wants us to feel seen, known, and most importantly loved.