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We have all experienced tiredness, discouragement, lack of inspiration and overall spiritual fatigue.
Like a pitcher full of water, we pour into others, helping to fill the emptiness within them. We pour into our children, marriages, co-workers, friends, church and community. But, unfortunately, we have a tendency to do this while we find ourselves beginning to run on empty. And that is when we find ourselves needing to be poured into, to continue moving forward and serving others.
In this article, I will attempt to pour into you… so that you can be encouraged, refreshed, inspired and strengthened. That’s what you do for others, right? So now, you'll be better able to keep serving without missing a beat. Psalms 146:8 tells us, “The Lord… lifts up those who are bowed down….” And 2nd Kings 20:5 says, “This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: ‘I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you’.”
I will also answer the question, “What is a Spiritual Fatigue?” Because that is what this is… it’s your soul feeling drained and needing replenishment. I’ll then set you up with the tools to overcome spiritual fatigue and strengthen your faith so you keep moving forward.
What is Spiritual Fatigue?
When we feel tired, exhausted, and discouraged in our Christian journey… that’s spiritual fatigue. We may even experience a lack of strength, weariness, defeat. We're sick of trying and spiritually drained. Every spiritual person faces spiritual fatigue at some point.
No one likes the feeling because it can cause us to question our faith, have feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, and want to give up all together. It affects our moods, and we no longer desire to pray, serve others, and in some cases, we don’t even want to get out of bed.
We are weary from carrying around hurts, disappointments, confusion, forgiveness and fears. When we are spiritually fatigued, we magnify our problems above solutions. It’s like wearing a pair of glasses, where we focus our vision is what “appears” magnified or bigger.
The good news is that spiritual fatigue can be a temporary problem. Therefore, it is not an issue that should keep us down long term.
A simple motto I live by is this, “Don't look down!”
In times of tremendous pressure in life, we need to change our focus. In Matthew 14 in the bible, Peter, an apostle of Jesus’ got out of a boat in the middle of a dangerous storm and walked on water. He only sank when he lost focus on his source of strength and magnified the problem instead. In other words, don't look down because when we begin to look down (in a negative way), that's when we start to sink.
There was a story my Pastor once shared. He grew up in West Memphis, Arkansas, just across the Mississippi River Bridge from Memphis, Tennessee. When he was a teenager, he and his friends decided to try walking across the railroad bridge over the Mississippi River into Memphis. It is a few miles long. However, they became weary of the journey and lost focus after going halfway across.
And one of his friends did something that hinders progress in any area of life. He looked down. When he looked down, he became paralyzed by fear (because of his situation) and frustrated with himself for getting in that circumstance to begin with. His cheerful disposition and adventurous spirit left him. It created a complex problem for all of them. See, our spiritual fatigue affects us and those around us.
There are some problems we create ourselves, in which case the solution may not be “don't look down!” Instead, look to your spiritual source for help.
Remember the cartoon of the roadrunner and the coyote? They could run off a cliff and keep running, not knowing they were in danger until they looked down. They never began to fall until they looked down.
When we find ourselves in an overwhelming situation and spiritually drained, the way to get our strength and focus back starts here. By focusing on solutions and whatever we do, by all means, “Don't look down!”
Instead, we make time to pray, meditate, and read scriptures to encourage us in our troublesome situations. Also, making positive affirmations can build us up and ward off feelings of spiritual fatigue.
For instance, when I am fearful about the future, I first pray about it. This puts my fears into God's hands, so I don't have to stay under the pressure of that stress. “Pile your troubles on God's shoulders— he'll carry your load, he'll help you out. He'll never let good people topple into ruin.” – Psalms 55:22
Then, I find scriptures that encourage me not to fear, like Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Afterward, I meditate on that word and what it says. Lastly, I make affirmations based on the word and build myself up spiritually. I may say things like, “I won't fear. God is holding me and has given me strength to face all obstacles today!”
It is essential to do so; that way, we stay spiritually hydrated. Our vessels won't run dry as we pour into others. As a result, we will have a more positive and satisfying outlook on life. It also helps us to remember our uniqueness, purpose, and self-worth.
5 Triggers of Spiritual Fatigue
Below are five triggers that can contribute to spiritual fatigue.
- Suffering loss – losing a job, a friend, a loved one can be a trigger to start us on a path toward spiritual fatigue.
- Conflict – especially in the home, family structure, or any place where we pour ourselves wholeheartedly into can cause spiritual fatigue.
- Lack of control – when we are looked to by others and are unable to come up with answers, is one reason to be fatigued spiritually. Another is when our emotions are out of control, and we cannot control the way we react to people who have hurt us and other situations we simply hate.
- Sickness – when we are sick, we don’t feel like doing the things that keep us physically strong. If anything at all.
- Unmet expectations – when we have been praying about something for some time and don't experience or see change or the changes we want to see. It can open the door for spiritual fatigue if we allow it to.
We should take time to reflect on our habits, spiritual disciplines, and relationships. It is vital if we seek to manage or eliminate spiritual fatigue. Traumatizing situations, disappointments, and illnesses may be unpleasant… but they don’t have to hold us hostage and keep us from enjoying life.
We must put our trust in God. He will help us heal spiritually so that we can be refreshed and empowered to complete His spiritual plan.
7 Ways to Overcome Spiritual Fatigue
Many say prayer changes things. I believe that prayer changes “EVERYTHING!” I find unexplainable peace in many of my times of prayer. I also feel strengthened and feel as if I am filled up so that I can pour into the lives of others. It can be a push, especially when feeling spiritually tired, but the benefits outweigh the inconvenience.
It is a technique in which you focus your mind on a particular object, activity, or train of thought. It enables us to focus our attention and awareness to achieve mental clarity, emotional calm, and a stable frame of mind.
3. Scripture reading for guidance and wisdom
For Christians, the Bible is our lifeline, and we reference it for any situation we face in life. It is our go-to for strength, instruction, wisdom, and to overall “hear from God.” It is vital in combating spiritual fatigue. It gives us the encouragement we need to remember “not to be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9) It's our reminder that there will come a season of reaping; just don’t lose heart in your time of pouring or “sowing seeds.”
4. Speak Positive Affirmations
When we speak powerful affirmations, we declare what scripture (God's holy word) says over our lives as a Christian. We lay claim to it in our hearts. It helps us overcome spiritual fatigue, stress, anxiety, and any self-limiting behavior or attitude we may have. Whether you’re a Christian or not, the act of positive thinking coupled with self-empowerment is powerful. It fosters a belief that “a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything.”
Of course, underlying conditions and triggers may still exist at first. However, positive affirmations allow those who suffer from anxiety, fear, and stress to immediately experience relief. It will significantly benefit you physically, mentally, and spiritually. Furthermore, from a natural and psychological standpoint, the persistent practice of speaking positive affirmations is like other habits or hobbies.
5. Sing songs of empowerment and strength
Whether you are singing songs of worship, or words of positive affirmations and power, songs and music are powerful tools to overcome spiritual fatigue. Sing in the shower in the morning or turn the car radio up loudly on your way to your destination! Sing until the powerful words of your song get deep with your spirit.
6. Seek Spiritual counseling and mentorship
A spiritual counselor can be a safe place to express your concerns. It may be that they will share wisdom with you to help you navigate the troubled waters of spiritual fatigue and come out spiritually empowered. In addition, they may offer advice from their own experiences and help you avoid making the same mistakes they made. It is a blessing to have a resource in someone who has successfully been down the road we seek to travel.
7. Surround yourself with like-minded people who will encourage you
When dealing with spiritual fatigue, there is always the feeling that you are alone in the fight and no one understands. But that cannot be further from the truth. Seek to have people in your inner circle that you confide in when feeling discouraged or afraid. You all may find in them a partner to help you complete the other steps to overcome spiritual fatigue. You can take part in prayer, group meditation, and scripture reading (bible study), speak positive affirmations and sing songs together.
Final Thoughts on 7 Ways to Overcome Spiritual Fatigue
Other people depend on us to be strong. They need us to be all that we can be… physically, mentally and spiritually. When one is out of balance, it can affect the others.
So as you seek to overcome spiritual fatigue, go somewhere that fosters physical and mental relief too. Go for a walk in the park, fishing or for a run. And when you can, sleep in or take a nap. You'll be surprised how small moments and actions can refresh your overall being. Jeremiah 31:25 says, “I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.” Grab ahold of that scripture for yourself today as you overcome spiritual fatigue.
You can also try arming yourself with resources like apps, books, videos and other media to use in your arsenal to combat feelings of spiritual fatigue. Spiritual fatigue is another form of self-doubt. You can’t let it shake your faith, confidence or belief system. You will never grow as a person, or Christian, that way.