When You're Too Stressed To Pray: God's TLC

Originally published Tuesday, 20 May 2014.

{first peonies this summer found in the everyday ordinary of a grocery run}

Sometimes you run out of words.

You don’t know what to say and God feels far away.

Even though you know you ought to, praying feels like another check box that leaves you feeling guilty.

Life is complicated.

In an age of information a Google search away, with friends on Facebook full of photos and updates, we can feel small.

We look at our everyday lives, overwhelmed with dilemmas, conflicting desires and needs, and we feel discouraged.

Ironically, when we’re most stressed, we often deprive ourselves of what we need most: God’s goodness.

Somehow, we’ve learned we deserve to rest only after we solve our problems.

It’s the opposite.

We need God’s TLC (his tender, loving care).  We need to give ourselves permission to receive and enjoy it.


God's TLC

TLC is what God gave to Elijah to resuscitate his soul after Elijah’s spirit had been broken.

Elijah had done everything he knew to do—even defeating the prophets of Baal—and yet, his problems did not go away.

Stress broke Elijah’s spirit.

"It is enough; now, Lord, take my life,
for I am not better than my fathers"
1Kings 19:4.

In that place of despair, Elijah woke up to find fresh bread baking on hot stones and water—left just for him.

Warm bread.  Water poured into a jar. Beautiful care, expressed through hand-made touches.

Not only that. God sent an angel -- to touch him.

The Journey Is Too Great

Elijah was so exhausted, God sent the angel a second time, to touch him. Again.

When we take time out to receive TLC, we give God the chance to touch our heart.

To eat warm bread. To drink. To sip without hurrying. To sit beneath a tree and allow ourself to feel tired.

When we give our body the break it longs for, we hear God’s whispers to us.

The angel said to Elijah that day --

“Arise and eat. 
For the journey is too great for you.
1Kings 19:7


God was softly saying, I understand.

Elijah needed to hear these words in order for his soul to start mending.

Stop and Find Rest

These are the words Jesus longs to whisper to us as well today.  His complete understanding.

The journey is too great for you.

God invites us to stop and find rest that can truly sustain us for the journey.

From there, Elijah went on to crawl into a cave.  There, far from life as he knew it, Elijah heard God whispering to Him through the kiss of a gentle breeze.

God knew Elijah needed physical rejuvenation first -- in order to hear the soft voice of God.

God's TLC opens up the path to our souls, so we can feel His nearness again.

It’s time to give ourselves permission to receive the TLC we need.

You’re loved.

You’re worth it.

Just rest.

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart…
but the Lord was not in the wind.
…After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
1 Kings 19:11-12


A Prayer

Dear Jesus, 

The journey is too great. 
I’m stressed. 
I need your touch. 
Help me to receive your TLC.
Help me be brave enough to rest.


Have you felt physically overwhelmed by the demands of a stressful season of change?

What feels most restful for you right now?

Give yourself permission to say yes by withdrawing and saying no to others.

Receive the rest God longs to give you. 

Click to comment. This is a quiet space for you and me.


Order a copy of Bonnie Gray's memoir-driven guidebook Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest . This book is for anyone longing to create space in life to draw closer to God, to rest and discover who they can be when rest becomes their heart's home. 

See her story in this short video (click here).  Learn how a childhood dream unexpectedly launched her into debilitating journey through painful memories and anxiety to discover a better story of rest. Take the journey to rest. Make room for God. For You. Visit TheBonnieGray.com to learn more. Order Finding Spiritual Whitespace & Receive Exclusive Bonus Gifts.  

"Whitespace is soul grace. Bonnie Gray ushers weary women into the real possibility." -Ann Voskamp, author of theNew York TimesbestsellerOne Thousand Gifts

"We live in a culture that brags and boasts about being busy. Into that reality steps Bonnie with a new idea.
Whitespace is an important concept and Bonnie has captured it perfectly. If you're exhausted with being exhausted, read this book. If you feel too busy to read this book, then that's probably the best sign of all that you need it." 
-Jon Acuff,New York Timesbestselling author ofStart!

"If you want to hear Jesus speak more tenderly to your soul than ever before, this is the book for you. I love Bonnie's honest and unassuming voice. I will be recommending this message to many friends." -Lysa TerKeurstNew York Timesbestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

Bonnie Gray is the soulful writer behind FaithBarista.com serving up shots of faith for the daily grind.  She is a contributor at DaySpring (in)courage and her work has been spotighted by Christianity Today and nationally syndicated through McClatchy-Tribune News Services. After graduating from UCLA, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.

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{Photo credit: faithbarista.com}

this post first appeared as a daily reflection by Bonnie Gray at The High Calling