Do You Feel Numb and Hopeless?
I recently started teaching another Prosperous Soul class at my home church. Teaching at my home church is one of the strongest passions in my heart. I love to build up the body of Christ around the subject of money.
In my first session with this new group of people, I opened the subject of stewardship and began to talk about capacity, faithfulness in little, and building our ability to carry what God has assigned to us. As I spoke about these things, I watched people’s faces and saw the signs of growing hope and excitement.
But not everyone responded this way. Inevitably, a few people in the room looked at me with tears in their eyes.
If you feel like one of those people—someone who is weary, burned out, and having a hard time reconnecting with hope—this article is for you.
Numbness of Heart
When you think about money, your dreams, and what you are hoping to build, what happens?
Perhaps you’ve been beaten down by discouragement or the lack of hope to the point that you can’t imagine anything good. People sometimes come up to me and say, “Stephen, I can’t even think of a dream. I’m so shut down on the inside.”
If you’re in that category, I want you to know that there is hope—there is a way you can awaken your heart.
Back in 2004 I was happily serving in an environment of enthusiastic builders and visionaries. All around me people believed that God was building something new—that we were a part of something and that we were contributing. It felt like I’d found my dream job. Hope was everywhere.
But inside I felt numb. Even though this environment was filled with signs and wonders and I saw what I believe to be bona fide miracles and interactions with God, I could not deny that I felt empty.
“What do I do?” I asked God.
“Keep My Sabbath,” He replied.
At first, that didn’t sound like what I needed. I don’t know that the Sabbath makes sense for me, I thought. I am so busy and there’s so much going on around me. I’ve got so much to do.
But I decided that if God was going to give me advice, I needed to obey it. So as an act of faith, I began to take one day a week away from the craziness. I would read a book, take naps, go for walks with my family. Over the following weeks and months, I learned that sometimes it takes more faith to do nothing than something, and I began to relax, calm down, and listen to God.
My hope had blown out like a pilot light because of my relentless, exhaustive pace, but as I learned to rest, the fire within me relit.
The Enemy’s Strategy
The Greek word for “evil” is poneo and, interestingly, the root of poneo is “toil.” I believe one of the biggest strategies of the enemy is to exhaust us. If he can’t make us stumble, distract us, or mislead us, he will wear us out or try to shut down what we believe. He wants to provoke us into numbness, discouragement, and hopelessness, and the most effective way he can do that is through toil.
Learning to rest may seem like an odd subject for a Prosperous Soul message usually oriented around money, but chasing after your dreams and learning to rest go hand in hand. What we believe to be true will always overcome the skills we are trying to demonstrate. In the subject of money, several skills are involved: how to stay within a budget, how to build wealth, how to carry and steward what God has handed you, how to get out and remain out of debt. Each of these things falls under the strength of belief, which is a matter of the heart.
I deal with the heart in the Prosperous Soul content. If you’re interested in learning more about how the Sabbath can help you, I cover this topic in depth in my Prosperous Soul Foundations manual. Go deeper if you feel you need it.
What to Pray If Your Heart Is Asleep
If you feel shut down, hopeless, and maybe even dead inside, pray this prayer:
Father God, I know that the hope of the Gospel is life more abundant. I accept this idea of Your abundant life into my heart, and I ask that John 10:10 would be my portion. I pray that it would be like a blanket softening my heart and awakening my hope.
Lord, teach me how to defeat the enemy’s strategy of exhaustion, fatigue, and toil in my life. Please wake up my heart. Would You relight the pilot light of hope inside me? I pray this prayer in complete confidence and faith that this is Your will and Your portion for me, because I believe in Jesus.
I ask for life more abundant as a Prosperous Soul. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.