Baldwin: aren’t you tired yet?

“The Help” is an emotionally charged novel that explores racial injustice in Mississippi in the 1960s. It was released as a movie in 2011. One of the most poignant scenes is the climax of the conflict between Aibileen, a black maid, and Hilly, a young white woman who is known for treating her black employees, as well as all of the other black maids in town, with cruel, calculated hostility. 

Toward the end of the movie, as Aibileen is leaving her position with the family who was influenced by Hilly to fire her, she sees Hilly standing there watching with a look of smug satisfaction on her face. Aibileen walks up to Hilly and says “You a godless woman. Ain’t you tired, Miz Hilly? Ain’t you tired?”. 

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There are different kinds of tired. There’s the tiredness that comes wrapped in the satisfaction of accomplishment when you see the result of hard labour. There’s the tiredness that’s tempered with the love and sacrifice of a mother who is on her third sleepless night with a sick little one. There’s the physical fatigue that accompanies ongoing illness and stress. There’s the heavy, suffocating tiredness of grief and loss that comes in relentless waves, threatening to drag you under the surface one final time, giving you no time to catch your breath and regroup before the next wave washes over you.

One of the most chronic and damaging kinds of tiredness doesn’t come from any outside source, but rather from our internal warring against God. We find reason after reason to resist His invitation to find rest in Him. Like a toddler who insists on doing everything by himself, we insist on lifting burdens that are far bigger than our ability to carry. We deny the existence of the God who daily, moment by moment, relentlessly seeks and reveals Himself to us in ways we brush aside with impatience and irritability. 

The battle exhausts us. We are acutely aware of the emptiness in our souls, but instead of turning to the one thing that can fill the void, we stubbornly continue our attempts to self-soothe with money, food, sex, alcohol, drugs, attention, power, wealth, and anything else we think will act as a Band-Aid on the part of us that is hemorrhaging satisfaction.

But our efforts are futile. 

The one thing… the only thing… that will fill the void in our souls is a relationship with the God who created us, loves us, disciplines us like a parent, and knows that our lasting holiness is of much greater worth than our temporary happiness.

Aren’t you tired?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

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