As an already self-confessed depressaholic, I want to examine further this notion of my battle with WES (Whiny Elijah Syndrome). DISCLAIMER: I in no way consider myself to be anywhere near the spiritual stature of the prophet Elijah except in the fact that he, too, could be whiny. That is the full extent of the similarities between this great prophet of God and me.
Honestly, this is the 3rd time I have tried to write the post. I struggle with writing it, because I am struggling with WES. I want to keep things in a general tone, and offer some hope for those of us who are afflicted with WES.
We have read of Elijah’s great victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18). What a resounding victory for God and what a blessing to have been a part of that victory. Right? Then, Elijah runs off by himself for his pity party. in 1 Kings chapter 19, he whines to God about being the only one left who is serving God.
Okay, so that is the basic context for my treatment of the Syndrome. When I experience tremendous “God victories,” I can count on the whining to commence shortly thereafter.
Why does WES afflict me? Let me wrestle with three possibilities.
1) Physical Exhaustion.
Times when great things have been accomplished to bring glory and honor to God can be physically exhausting for this mere human being. A great deal of energy is expended, because I do not believe in doing anything halfway. I am all in for God. I “leave it all out there on the court” (since some people are still in the NCAA March Madness phase. For the record, my bracket was busted on the first day of this year’s tourney).
I’m as mental as mental can be, I must say.
2) Mental exhaustion.
As my favorite SNL character of old, Ed Grimley would say, “I’m as mental as mental can be, I must say.” While I am of above average intelligence, it is hard work mentally for me to do the things I do for the Lord. I enjoy every minute of it, but it is taxing to say the least. I am not trying to be terribly self-deprecating, or even to just put myself down, and this is not false humility, I recognize that I am a two talent servant (as opposed to a five talent servant, or even a one talent servant), and I am okay with that. I also know that my service to the King is not just physically, but mentally exhausting.
3) Spiritual exhaustion.
I confess that during the times when I get too busy “doing” God’s work, I can tend to slack on simply “being” God’s guy. Arron Chambers’ book “Devoted” is a great reminder to me to just slow down and “be God’s.” That phrase has served as my signature ever since I “borrowed” it from the late great Rich Mullins in the early 1990’s. Spiritual exhaustion sets in when I am trying to do too much on my own, and not allowing God to “do” through me. I tend to get seriously grumpy and whiny then. Just ask Peggy.
So, how can we guard against WES, and how can we come out of that syndrome and back to a more healthy place? What i have to say sounds simple, but it is not.
Get away, rest, immerse yourself in Scripture. Or as Psalm 46:10 puts it: “Be still and know that I am God.” Being still does not come naturally to me. I struggle with stillness and with silence. I have to force myself to get away. I’m not talking about running away, I’m talking about the purposeful time away from people to draw closer to God. Being silent and listening for God is another struggle. My mind races, and I like to fill the silence with noise (even Christian music is noise in this instance). Reminding myself that God is God and I am not even close is something that I find healthy to do. No, I don’t have a “God complex,” but there may be times I act like it. Again, just ask Peggy.
Having accountability and prayer partners is a must for me. I need folks to pray for me every day, but especially when I am in periods of WES. Having some people who have permission to “kick my butt” when needed is also key. Trust me, there are plenty of times when kicking needs to commence.
I confessed earlier that it has taken several tries to write this post. Part of that is because I am in a season of WES right now. Thanks for allowing me to remind myself of the issue, and some ways to conquer it. If you have any suggestions on overcoming WES, I would love to continue the conversation in the comments section below. As always, thanks for you prayers, and as always…
Posted on March 29, 2016, in Accounhtability, Christian Living, Depressaholic, Devoted, Whiny Elijah Sundrome and tagged Accountability, Christian Living, Whiny Elijah Syndrome. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.