I was reading a magazine article recently that talked about how people are using the words, “I’m so tired” as a way to enhance their status symbol. This reply when asked about one’s well being replaced the non-chalant reply of the last 20 years, “I’m good, thanks.” I have personally experience the ubiquity of this reply in my personal life and in counseling others. I remember one guy talking on the phone getting ready to enter a counseling session who said that because he is working 60 hours per week he needs to see a therapist. Some acquaintances of mine use the “I’m tired” routine, I guess, in hopes of receiving the “poor you” stare or the “Wow!!” response. Check this out in your own life and see how many “I’m tired”s you are getting in a week.
This reply is not only a Western response, but a missionary response. In fact, I think that this little quote began in the mission world. Missionaries have little on which to build their reputation like nice cars, big house, kids in private school; so, they build it on how hard they work. They then can go around to their colleagues and supporters touting how they are fulfilling the calling of God on his or her life.
The facades are the same for the missionary and the Westerner. They are not really working hard, but trying to live up to something or someone. As we head to Cameroon working with missionaries, one of my tasks is to work with missionaries who wear the “I’m tired” mask and encourage them to remove it. Our Creator cares for us whether we work 70 hours per week or 10 hours per week. It is my calling to get them to see this.