When we are physically wiped out, the solution is pretty obvious. Get some sleep! But what do you do when your spirit is sapped…when you’re emotionally exhausted? That’s a lot harder to figure out. Fatigue is defined in Merriam-Webster as “weariness or exhaustion from labor, exertion or stress.” We’ve all felt it to varying degrees.
This morning when I sat at my table with my cup of coffee in hand, wondering why it wasn’t helping me, I realized that the fatigue I was feeling wasn’t physical as much as it was mental & emotional. What to do?
So I opened up my journal to pray (I should explain…I write my prayers in my journal cuz my mind wanders waaaaay too easily to pray in my head. When I try that I don’t get much further than “dear Lord” before I’m thinking about what I’m making for dinner and then working on a mental grocery list and then thinking about how I’d better clean out the fridge and then my “quiet time” is over and surprisingly I don’t feel refreshed and renewed!) Back to my journal, I was asking God to give me energy and give me joy (I ask for that a lot) when I remembered something I felt he was teaching me over and over last year through a combination of several favorite verses:
- Fix our eyes on Him (much harder to be self focused when we do this) Hebrews 12:2
- Trust Him with our whole heart (which means we don’t have to be in control) Proverbs 3:5
- Give Him thanks for all that He is and does in our lives (improves our attitude) 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- And I believe that when we do those things he energizes our spirits and fills us with joy. (Psalm 28:7)
The joy keeps us going. And it seems to me that is the prescription for emotional/spiritual fatigue. The Bible says “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) So when we are feeling weak and tired inside, we need His joy to be our strength. Now, I’ve learned this lesson over and over but for months I was trying to think of a way to remember these few points that I’ve learned. I wanted something easy to remember, some kind of mnemonic device, but I couldn’t figure it out. Then this morning I found a way to remember. I have to give you the back story though.
Several years ago, I was growing tired of repeating myself when I gave my kids the task of straightening up a room. I would walk them through what I expected but every time I told them to clean the room, they would say they didn’t know how. So I would repeat…”It’s simple. Pick up garbage and dishes and laundry and toys.” They would do it but then forget again for the next time. So I decided to turn it into a word. Gadalat. Garbage And Dishes And Laundry And Toys. I taught them to gadalat the living room. Gadalat their bedroom, etc. And they did it. They never again forgot what they needed to do to get a room picked up. We still use it as a verb in our house to this day. (Feel free to use it in your home if it helps! )
So this morning, I realized that I could use the word fatigue to remind myself of the lessons God has been teaching me:
- Fix ur eyes on Him
- Trust Him with all ur heart
- In everything
- Give thanks and
- U will receive
- Exceedingly great joy and strength
And now, when I feel that fatigue creeping up on me or flat-out knocking me down, I can use it to remember how to find God’s joy. I hope you can use it too!
Question: What causes you the most emotional/spiritual fatigue? People or circumstances?