Transformed Exhaustion

This one’s for you residents (and anyone else who’s exhausted).

Every one of you, especially during intern year, comes to a place where you wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into.  Eighty+ hour weeks, scut work, and difficult attendings all make it hard to connect with God, others and the reasons why you got into medicine in the first place.

Jesus understands your situation perfectly.

In Mark 8, he told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (verses 34-35).  This was not a feel-good message, but now that Peter had finally figured out who Jesus was (“the Christ” – see v. 29), he needed to understand what that meant: the cross for Jesus, and hardship for him.

Residents “lose their lives” – there’s no doubt about it.  Not much you can do about it.

The question Jesus poses, though, is will you do it “for my sake?”  It’s very possible – and even very understandable – to just get through it with little thought about Who you’re doing it for.

Needless to say, there are applications that go beyond medicine.  Right now, our two-year-old son has been going through an extended period where he hasn’t been sleeping well due to some breathing issues.  My wife and I are incredibly tired, and there are many days where it’s easy to get discouraged.  The challenge has been to remember Christ has called us to follow him in a life of sacrifice and love for our son.

So how are you doing with all this?  Remembering that you’re in residency ultimately for Christ, and the patients he wants to reach through you, may not change what you do on the outside all that much, but it will transform the way you approach this season of your life.


About Bryan Stoudt

On my personal website (, I help Christians follow Jesus in a noisy, broken world. I also have the privilege of helping Philadelphia's healthcare students and professionals do this as Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA). More information at On a personal note, I'm fortunate to be married to my wonderful wife, Sharon. Together, we have four fantastic children. In my spare time, I enjoy roasting coffee, running, reading and learning foreign languages.
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