These last few months have been a sometimes-up-sometimes-down battle to overcome spiritual fatigue. It’s a battle I’m winning! Sensing the pressures, first emotionally and then physically, I realized too slowly the true intensity of the battles I was facing.
God desires that we minster out of the overflow of the Spirit, rather than a dry well of exhaustion. Recently, I knew I was due for a personal inventory check. It was time for me to lean into God’s promise through Isaiah.
“He gives strength to the weary and
increases the power of the weak.”
At times, we all become weary and weak. However, when fatigue lingers, becoming constant and limiting, we are wise to take heed and evaluate the cause.
“As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.”
Dust is the humbling, present reality of these bodies we occupy.
My first step to overcome spiritual fatigue began with this basic inventory check:
- healthy diet
- adequate sleep
- routine exercise
It sounds far too practical, but these daily consistencies are critical for overall health and vitality. Any lack in these areas seriously affects my ability to function and reach my potential. Unhealthy cravings, irritability or lethargy often trace back to imbalance in one of these three elements.
Jesus set such a wonderful example in caring for His disciples. When they were hungry, He provided food. He often drew them away from the demanding crowds for much needed rest.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ “
A healthy diet goes far beyond food. What am I filling my mind with? Am I pacifying, or medicating, an important need with a cheap substitute?
What about rest? Am I getting adequate sleep and guarding a “Sabbath” rest? (This has honestly been a struggle for me!) Exodus 31:17 tells us that God, who never runs low on energy, “rested and was refreshed” on the Sabbath. How much more important for us? Recreation gives God time to re-create and re-fresh us. Having fun is seriously important for stress packed lives.
Sometimes, to overcome spiritual fatigue, we must begin by taking care of physical and emotional needs.
Because much of the work I do involves people in critically disturbing situations, it often drains my energy reserve and leaves me feeling fatigued. Some of what I witness is extremely dehumanizing. Ultimately, behind the scenes of each one of these lives lurks spiritual entities, attempting to “steal, kill and destroy” people whom Jesus loves deeply.
Regardless of the situations which are making withdrawals from our inner reserve, God’s promise remains,
” ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ ”
Just reading these words offers insight and breathing space. Whenever I’m feeling “weary and burdened” and the “yoke” weighs heavy, I know I’m carrying something God willingly offers to relieve me of. Only He possesses the strength and power to carry the weight of human oppression, injustice and indignity.
“Come to me,” Jesus invites.
Don’t discard God’s solution as overly practical. “Come!”
Do you know Jesus Christ? Are you living in personal relationship with Him? Great!
“. . . He saved us through the washing of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
The renewal by the Holy Spirit is ours. Not just a onetime, special, salvation offer, but a continual opportunity to come to Him for a redo!
The solution to overcome spiritual fatigue also appears simple and practical. In coming, we:
- spend time with Him daily in prayer, Bible reading and meditating on His Word
- pursue a heart attitude of worship, quietly or expressively
- adopt praise, being thankful to God in the midst of all situations and struggles
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles: they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”
When you’re feeling more than a little fatigued and stumble, don’t panic. For those who “hope in the Lord,” it is a temporary condition.
Sit at Jesus’ feet, receiving and being filled anew with His Spirit, He will renew your strength. Just like exhaustion came gradually, often restoring takes process as well. Come! Drink deep from His reserve — drink again and again.
Overcome Spiritual Fatigue
To overcome spiritual fatigue might require one more step — identify unnecessary hindrances.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith . . .”
I’ve been asking God to examine my heart to expose any unresolved issues of unforgiveness, bitterness, critical judgements, selfishness or pride. Yours may be different, but these are often my tangle points. God clearly says the responsibility to “throw off” these weights belongs to us.
After this last step, the flow into our lives through Holy Spirit runs pure and strong. As we identify the problems and develop solutions to overcome spiritual fatigue, the overflow comes clear and constant.
How much better and more fulfilling to minister out of the overflow of Holy Spirit, rather than from the stagnant sludge of spiritual fatigue. Through these practical steps, God’s renewing and revitalizing pours through us and from us to others.
I hope my brief progress report on how to overcome spiritual fatigue encourages you. My dad would say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Whether we’re needing prevention or a cure, an ounce or a pound, God is able. Come!