Are you lost in exhaustion too? This insighful article by staff counselor Donna Hart, PhD, considers the reasons we’re exhausted and provides practical solutions. It appeared first on her blog and is used with her permission.
One of the most common reasons for being exhausted is always being plugged in, available, and scheduled. We are striving too hard, competing too much, and putting more on our plates than God has ordained for us. In order for us to rest, have balance, and recover, we must recognize the sources of the exhaustion.
Reasons Why We Are So Exhausted
I Should and If Only
We are following every “I should” and “if only” that is coming into our minds.
Indeed, we think it is normal and good to be exhausted, especially if we are wearing ourselves out serving the Lord and others. We have this thought in our minds that we need to available 24/7. We do not know how to live within our limitations and feel guilty if we tired or sick.
So we think we have to slug our way through life steadfast in doing all things. We just bury the emotions that are trying to warn us and feel even more drained in the process. But make no mistake, these simmering cauldrons of emotions will spill over at the most inconvenient times.
We never allow anyone to help us. Why?
We like being in control and find it hard to receive help from others. But God has given all of us gifts to serve. When we refuse help, are we preventing others from using their gifts when we have a need? Are we refusing to allow others to give us help?
Living Up to Others’ Expectations, not God’s
We believe we must live up to others’ expectations of us rather than how God created us to live.
We become so accustomed to functioning out of the oughts and shoulds that we develop a performance mentality. And we can think we only have worth when we are performing.
It takes a lot of energy to perform and maintain a focus on pleasing others. Looking for the approval and acceptance of others can have a serious stranglehold on our hearts.
Fearing the Consequences of Saying “No”
We say “yes” to things that are not what God ordained for us, because we fear the consequences of saying “no.”
We are like Martha in the gospel of Luke (Luke 10:38-42), thinking we should do more because there is always so much to do. And we don’t know how to set wise boundaries for ourselves and say “no.”
Also we carry the weight of unresolved grief, loss, conflict, or anger at injustice in one or more of our relationships. We get weighted down when we don’t know how to grieve the losses, resolve the conflicts, or remove ourselves from unhealthy relationships. Some of us are not even aware that we are allowed to do this, and just keep struggling to keep it all under wraps.
We think we should handle it, after all, everyone else does.
Too Much Info, Too Fast
We are experiencing the effects of too much information coming at us too fast. There is so much information coming at us so quickly we do not know what to take in. We get exhausted just trying to process it all. It can make life very intense like constantly being on the alert to what might be next. It can conjure up feelings of anxiety and fear in all the uncertainty.
Wanting Life on Our Terms
We are bogged down in our own rebellious self-willed self-sufficiency. We hate things uncertain and want to control it all. And we insist on making things happen our way, imposing our will on others leaving us with less than perfect relationships.
Solution: A Purposeful Retreat
A retreat away from all the noise helps us to acknowledge willfulness as one source of our exhaustion and to recognize the ways in which it is wearing us down. Jesus knew how addicting all the doing could be.
In Mark 6 He calls His disciples to
Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while. For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. (Mark 6:31).
Jesus called them away to rest a while even in the midst of so many people needing ministry. He was teaching them a wise sustainable lifestyle to protect them from burn out. If they were burned out they would not be of any use to anyone and neither will we.
The practice of getting away by ourselves provides the needed time to address the difficult, hurting, and exhausted place of our lives. We need to stop having a stiff upper lip, steadfastly slugging our way through life, ignoring all the noise in our hearts and minds. Indeed, this is a needed place to be to allow God to meet us and comfort us as only God can.
- Take some time to step away and recognize the sources of exhaustion in your life.
- Get out your journal and process the sources of exhaustion in your life and seek God’s wisdom for attending to the exhaustion.
- Ask God to show you changes you need to make.