Episode 1. The Daily Grind
The daily grind can really get you down. It can be so relentless, we end up losing heart. You know what I mean. But what if God has a plan – a plan of encouragement? To build us up? There’s a well known chain of coffee shops around the world whose slogan is “Escape The […]
The daily grind can really get you down. It can be so relentless, we end up losing heart. You know what I mean. But what if God has a plan – a plan of encouragement? To build us up?
There’s a well known chain of coffee shops around the world whose slogan is “Escape The Daily Grind”. Okay, it’s a cute pun but they have a point. About the daily grind I mean. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we do for a living or whether we’re married or single, children or no children, rich or poor, black or white. We all seem to have that daily grind.
I was talking to a judge recently who has a 3-hour commute each day and a really heavy case load, someone who works in ministry and a Information Technology consultant. They all told me the same thing. Different words mind you but the same thing. They told me about their daily grind. About how it was grinding the life out of them. And it’s so easy when we’re in the middle of that, for us to lose heart.
I talk to so many people who’ve seem to have lost heart in life. Life is just getting them down. It’s normal, it’s human for us to have emotional ups and downs but more and more, people are living in a constant state of down. A constant state of pedalling so hard through life that they’re only just making ends meet. Just getting by.
Over the next few days, on the program, we’re going to look at some of the circumstances and reasons where we lose heart and what we can do about it. Today we’re going to talk about that daily grind. And tomorrow we’ll look at what happens when we lose our hope and vision for the future.
We’ll look at taking risks which is a special sort of stress. And sometimes we go through a season that nothing we do seems to work out. And other times it seems like other people are trying to drag us down.
There are lots of reasons that people lose heart in life. They’re just five and we’re going to poke around in each one of those this week on the program. And we’ll take a look at them from a different perspective.
Today, let’s start by looking at our daily grind. So many people feel like they’re living in a rut. You know why that is? Because they’re living in a rut. We all do that at some point. We wake up and we think, “my life is the same as it was yesterday and the day before and the day before. It’s just this grinding thing that goes on. You know, I’m not enjoying my life.”
I heard someone say once that a rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out. Now maybe you’re a mother and you’ve got kids and work and you’re juggling this and lunches and dinners, trying to spread yourself so thin. I’m not being sexist here but that’s the lot of so many women.
And there are people with long commutes. People with stressful jobs. Maybe you’ve just been doing the same thing for so long, it just seems forever. It doesn’t matter how glamorous or exciting someone’s life might be, there’s a mundane side to it.
I was catching up recently with a well known photographer, Ken Duncan. And he produces brilliant stuff that’s sold in galleries all around the world. And he was sharing with me that the planning and the scheduling that goes on for his photographic work. I mean, it normally happens 12 months out.
Now you don’t think of that. You walk into his gallery and you see these brilliant creative works but there’s a mundane dimension to it. There’s a running a business. There’s planning ahead. There’s that side to the most creative of work.
It’s the same in this ministry. We produce daily and weekly programs. 450 of them each year. I’ll be planning teaching series and doing research and preparing 12-18 months out. There are production deadlines. Programs have to go to stations around the world. It is true in everyone’s life, no matter what we do.
I know people who are so buried in that mundaness that it’s suffocating the life out of them. They’re working so hard and so long at doing what they think they have to be doing, it’s slowly draining the life out of them. And those people need to escape the daily grind.
Now escape isn’t always possible. We kind of imagine, ‘what I really need is two weeks on a tropical island sitting on a beach’. Well maybe you do. Maybe a holiday is what you need. But probably what we really need is a change in lifestyle.
Solomon is one of the wisest men who’s ever lived. In Psalm 127 he writes this:
Unless the Lord builds the house, it’s builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stands guard in vain. In vain you rise up early and stay up late toiling for food to eat for He grants sleep to those whom He loves.
You know, that had a huge impact on me because I am your classic workaholic. And I can get so busy doing my own stuff in my own strength, it becomes a grind. And you know, even people who believe in God, you can end up behaving as though God doesn’t have a place in our day to day lives. As though He wouldn’t be involved. As though we have to do it all ourselves. But listen to this:
Unless the Lord builds the house, it’s builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. Because in vain you rise early and stay up late toiling for food to eat because He grants sleep to those whom He loves.
And for me it’s been a humbling experience. As I’ve moved from the corporate world into the world of Christian ministry. To realise I can do a whole bunch of things in my own strength but I cannot begin to even scratch the surface of what God can do.
At the end of the day He doesn’t share His glory with anyone. And unless the house is planned and being built by the Lord and I’m just one of His labourers, I’m building in vain. Unless the Lord keeps watch over my life and this ministry, then me trying to protect it, I’m doing it in vain.
And if I think that I can impress God or people or make things happen by rising up early and staying up late and burning the candle at both ends and toiling. I’m kidding myself. Because if God loves us, He grants us sleep and rest. He knows that we’re human and that we need to relax.
Some people are so tired and so exhausted. When you’re in that state, is it any wonder that you lose heart? You get overwhelmed. Emotionally and physically. It happens sometimes to all of us. We need to get some balance back into our lives.
You know what this psalm tells us that Solomon wrote? God is in this place with me and He is my helper. You know, sometimes women’s libers get upset with the Old Testament referring to women as being their husbands helpers. But you know the most common use of that word in the Old Testament is of God being our helper. What a humble God!
God is in this place with me. And if I’m walking in His direction and down His paths, He is my helper. If I’m racing off doing my own thing, well that’s my problem. But when I am in His will, He is my helper.
And sometimes we’ve got to change some things. We’ve got to prioritise and say no to some things.
Jacqui and I are constantly looking at our lives. We work long and hard and I’ve got to tell you, I am no good to you if I’m burnt out. So I take it to God and I wait on Him and He gives strength to the weary. He increases the power of the weak.
Even young folk grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles and they will run and not grow weary and they will walk and not be faint.
How about it? People who get this right. People who discover that God wants to do stuff in them and through them. They are the people who, at the end of the day, stand out from the crowd. You know why? ‘Cause they end up looking like Jesus.