FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 16b (The Struggle by Tenth Avenue North)-Why Jesus is the only remedy for our weariness, and how we need to slow down when we feel worn

It’s coming to a point nowadays, since maybe the beginning of the year, that I can confidently say that every day I am perpetually tired (not that it’s a claim I am proud to say, but rather the opposite). Continually worn, continually spent, and feeling older in years than I am right now. Not that there is anything wrong with my job; not by a long shot- but it’s just that right now, circumstances beyond my control have prevented me from living a life that has a perfect work/life balance, and instead have thrusted me into a working environment where I am continually pushed each day, at times beyond my limits, by the workloads and the colourful types of people I meet at the café as well. I’m sure my brother Jon would testify to this sentiment of being constantly tired, as well.

How do we overcome tiredness by the way? When we feel like we’re at our rope’s end and all we want to do is to lay down and sleep (which in and of itself is fine and everything, but unhealthy in the long run!)? When certain people just push our buttons, and we become mad and anxious beyond what we could ever feel, resulting in meltdowns or just general weariness? The past few instalments of this blog, I’ve been speaking about how we as humans need to slow down more and more- that rushing around trying to cram 2 days’ worth of activities into one day isn’t very healthy, physically, emotionally, spiritually and in every other way- and this week I will go further; how can we as humans ensure that we properly live a work/life balance. Sometimes when we feel like we’ve been on the go for so, so long, perhaps the best thing that we need to do is to stop for a while, take a step back, and analyse the reasons why we do what we do. Sure, self-reflection and self-actualisation is difficult most of the time, but it is needed, more often than we would care to admit.

So, we solve a problem called tiredness and feeling worn out because of busyness, by slowing down, but how do we go about that? When it’s easier said than done. If we’re ‘yes men’ or ‘yes women’, and hence we say yes to every opportunity that comes along (whether it is for work or recreation purposes), that can break us. Doing more than we can handle, if left alone unchecked, will destroy our very being and our soul, not to mention our relationships. Well, I don’t know about you, but for me, I tend to lean on Jesus Christ. The One who helps me in times of trouble, and the One who gives me my every need. You may not be religious or have a deep sense of faith or spirituality, but let me tell you that from personal experience, God has taken tiredness away from me and give me strength to last each day (even the momentous ones!) on many an occasion.

The other week I briefly touched upon an album from Tenth Avenue North called The Struggle that speaks in depth about us leaning on Jesus when we are feeling worn (“Worn”)- and it is this album that I will delve into further for a little bit as I end my short-but-to-the-point blog. For Tenth Avenue North is one of the bands that has impacted my own life greatly, and since Mike Donehey is more eloquent that I am and probably forever will be, here below are some video journals of some of the band’s hits from The Struggle.

In essence, what Mike is saying is this- yes, life is hard. Yes, you will be busy and at times feel like at the end of your rope. Yes, you will have hardship, and yes, some friends will desert you. Yes, all of your hopes and dreams may not all come to pass in the time frame you think should occur, and yes, you will feel worn, weary, and like you want to give up, at one point or another in your Christian walk. Yes, people will persecute you, and yes you will be an outsider. If the Christian walk was easy, everyone would be a Christian, right? If it was spelled out for everyone, we’d all be living in freedom and in God’s love and there would be no division and ‘wars in that name of religion’. But such is the world we live in right now, that as a Christian, on the surface it may seem like we’ve picked the wrong road, because of all the seemingly ‘bad things’ that occur when we do devote ourselves to Christ. It’s not easy to reconcile that notion that we’re forever Sons and Daughters of God with the concept that life on earth is still hard; but here is the good news.

The essence of what Mike Donehey is saying in these blogs and also in The Struggle as a running theme, is that whatever we face now is miniscule to the glory of Jesus Christ we will encounter in Heaven one day. Everything on thus earth, good or bad, is temporary. And, to quote Tenth Avenue North’s own explanation of the title track, when we fully know that what we face on a daily basis has already been paid for- that we have been redeemed as sons and daughters of the Lord Most High, and our struggles are temporary, then I reckon that’s when life truly begins. As Mike has brilliantly conveyed; ‘…our desire for The Struggle is that listeners will walk away with both of these truths still ringing in their ears and burning in their hearts. We are free to fail because there’s an ocean of grace that we fall into. But also, we have the promise of a power so strong that it raised Christ Himself, and so we know that, mystery of mysteries, we’re also not struggling to be free…’– and it is that sentiment that I can hold onto. That the current tension in our lives of being tired and having not enough time in the day can be simply described as the tension due to sin in this world, and a tension that will one day fade away when we enter into God’s presence. A tension that is temporary; we can live in freedom and in fresh vitality when we know that the struggles we’re facing won’t last forever, and that Jesus is with us always.

Sure, that’s what the title track teaches us, and brings with it promises of Jesus helping us through our struggles, and an eternal promise that is sure to provide us with hope and encouragement; but it is also the other songs on the album (like “Worn”, “Where Life Will Never Die”, “Losing”, “Grace”, “Shadows”, “You Do All Things Well” and “Lamb Of God”) that impact and inspire as well. There’s not enough time for me to analyse all of these songs (I will leave that to Jon in his review on Indie Vision Music!) but let me say that Mike Donehey is a great storyteller and a conveyer of biblical truth. It’s what God has called him to do, and apart from The Light Meets The Dark (which I delved into in Flashback Fridays a month or so ago!), I think The Struggle displays Mike’s earnestness and transparent yearning for Jesus the most. Sure, we all may feel like trash some days, and we all can feel like we’re running on empty, struggling to survive; but what the band has shown through this album and basically their entire discography, is that it is Jesus who we can and should lean on. Through The Struggle, I hope and pray that we all (including myself) can learn to try to slow down despite the struggle and tension, and learn to rely on God more, leaning into and trusting His promises.

With these eternal truths being truths that could take quite a long time to swallow, I think it’s time to stop and let you all listen to the album, and ponder upon what the band has to say! What do you all reckon? So I will now leave the floor over to you all, and we can discuss about how we as humans come to terms with the fact that we are free to struggle, to struggle in our tiredness and busyness, and yet at the same time, we’re not struggling to be free!

Til next time, have an awesome week everyone!

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