I’ve been talking with some folks lately who have been burned out, worn out, and tired. Can you identify? I sure can. Honestly, I’ve been in the same boat for awhile and, although I’m starting to feel the old roar coming back into my spirit, I’m still struggling with exhaustion.
But Papa God has been getting me through. He’s been telling me a few specific things to do that are helping me, and I wanted to share them with you today in case you’re struggling with burnout and fatigue as well.
Here are some things that can help you heal from burnout and fatigue:
1. Dump things off your schedule. Unfortunately, helping people and volunteer work may need to be the first things to go.
I am learning the hard way that I’m not called to save, keep, or build the world or the church.
This is a very hard thing for me, especially in regards to helping people and serving at my church. But the long and the short of it is that Jesus said that HE would build the Church. I’m called to be obedient, love God, and serve Him. And I do all those things with vigor.
But when my health gets affected because I start to confuse serving God with serving the Church, that’s a problem. Then I’ve crossed the line and shouldered a burden that was never mine to shoulder. I’ve crossed the line from serving God at my local church to trying to build the Church myself, and I can’t do that.
Don’t get me wrong. We need to serve in our local churches.
Anyone who has read this blog for any period of time knows that I LOVE the local church. That’s one of the reasons I am working to quit my job and serve you + my local church family full-time.
But one person can only do so much. And just like God never asked people to give financially what they do not have, I also don’t believe that He asks people to give time they do not have.
So what am I doing about my situation? I’m giving myself permission to be reasonable. I am still at church all the time and I love it. But last Sunday, I wasn’t feeling well, so I got someone to substitute for me for a couple of the extra things I do. I still taught my LifeGroup, but taking a couple of things off my schedule that day helped me to recover physically.
We still need to be at church every week for sure. That’s the Word of God.
The Bible tells us specifically not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). And every week, your LifeGroup teachers and your pastors labor hard to have meat to feed you, and you need to go eat the meat God has given them. Most of the time that I have seen someone skip LifeGroup or church for any reason other than outright illness, the very word and ministry they needed has been taught, preached, or ministered at church that day. That means that the idea to skip church is generally a trick from the enemy; getting you to skip church is his way of robbing you.
So outwit the enemy. Go to church! But when you’re burned out, worn out, and tired, I think we have to re-evaluate all the other stuff we do that is extra (other than church service and Sunday School/LifeGroup), and see what we need to jettison.
My pastor and spiritual dad always says, “‘No’ is a valid answer!” I struggle with saying no, but the fact is that sometimes we simply need to say no:
- No, I can’t help with that kids’ function.
- No, I can’t keep the nursery.
- No, I can’t talk right now.
- No, I can’t answer the phone.
- No, I can’t go out to dinner even though I’d love to. Another time?
- No, my kid can’t make it to every sports event or practice.
- No, my kid can’t take those lessons or sports every semester.
No, no, no.
It’s not rude to say no. It’s called survival. And you can’t get refreshed and get your vibrance and life back unless you create space in your schedule to rest.
2. Sleep is essential.
If you’re burned out and exhausted, I encourage you to throw a stick of dynamite in your log-jam and go to sleep really early (I mean, really early, like 6 or 7 PM) for a few nights in a row. Your body will thank you, and your mood is likely to improve pretty quickly after a few good nights’ sleep.
If you can’t sleep, there’s nothing wrong with talking to your doctor to see if there’s something they can do to help you get the sleep you need. But you’ve got to get enough sleep each night so your body can rest and rejuvenate itself.
For me, oddly enough, that means sleep before midnight.
I don’t know if there’s any medical science to back this up, but I have noticed that when I balance my sleep hours between before-midnight and after-midnight, it makes a difference. For some reason, my sleep hours before midnight make me feel rested. And my sleep hours after midnight make me feel recharged. So if I sleep plenty before midnight and then wake up, I feel rested but not recharged. And if I sleep a lot after midnight but not before midnight, I wake up feeling recharged but not rested.
I know. Strange. Everybody’s body clock may not be the same. But that’s how mine works; ideally, I need to sleep from 8 PM – 4 AM to get a good balance. (If you’re not sure how your body clock works, try changing up your sleep hours and going to bed really early for a few nights and see how it makes you feel.)
I’m trying to get some extra sleep right now because I’ve been so exhausted. I still have a long way to go. I’ve only gotten a few early nights in over the last week. However, every early night has made a difference and I have woken up feeling better and better each time.
So, sleep. Sleep, beloved! Your body and soul will both thank you.
3. Time in God’s Word will make all the difference in the world.
Saturday morning, I felt so weary and worn out. I have been so exhausted physically and mentally. I got up to spend time with the Lord and I just craved the refreshing of God’s presence. So I dug into His Word, because the words that Jesus speaks are spirit and life (John 6:63).
I usually read with a pen in hand and take notes while I read, but I didn’t this time. I think I only wrote down one verse. I didn’t care about taking notes. I just inhaled the Word like it was a meat buffet, because it is. My spirit and soul needed God’s Word like my body needs air. And when I came to the surface, I felt soooooooo much better. I felt like my spirit was standing up again (instead of slumped over in exhaustion).
Keep in mind that your soul and spirit can get tired too. But I have found that the food that feeds my spirit and soul is God’s Word and His Presence in worship and prayer. Every single time I have gone to the Lord in weariness and poured out my heart to Him in prayer, and received His meat of the Word as my food, I have come away refreshed and rejuvenated in my spirit and soul (mind, will, and emotions).
It just works. That’s why Jesus said, in Matthew 11:28-30:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
So if you feel worn out in your spirit, mind, will, and emotions, please–open God’s Word. Soak up verse after verse. Soak it up as much as you can, and keep on making extra effort to do so. The words that Jesus speaks are spirit and they are life, and they will renew YOUR spirit and fill you with new life–life that you can actually feel.
Are you burned out, worn out, and tired right now?
If so, I’m sorry. I understand. I’ve been exhausted lately, and I totally get it. But take some steps to heal and get the rest you need for your body, soul, and spirit. If you will, Papa will help you, rejuvenate you, and restore you.
Does this word speak to your heart today? If so, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!