Life often has a way of draining us dry. Sometimes we don’t see it coming. But over time, busy schedules, pressures, responsibilities, and other demands in life can start to overwhelm us. It’s hard to keep everything flowing smoothly. Maybe a difficult crisis sends us spiraling. Maybe it’s not one big thing, but a series of little things that add up over time. And we start to grow weary.
We can often be really good at taking care of others, but we might forget to re-fuel our own lives. We don’t take time to slow down, finding ourselves in a continual state of “go.”
Yet God never intended for us to live on the fast track. He made us with needs for renewal in him. Jesus himself took time to pull away, for rest and refreshing, for quiet moments with his Father. He understands our weaknesses and promises to give us grace and strength for every battle and struggle we face.
The problem is – we don’t often come to him to even ask for help. We may try and struggle through it on our own, thinking we’ve somehow got a handle on it all. Maybe we even start to think we know better than he does. Or we strive hard to keep the “perfect” image going.
Until we hit a wall.
And all the pieces start to fall.
A reminder if you’ve been facing broken days or feeling drained and weary – like you just can’t go on: You’re not alone, not ever. God is there and waiting to help you. He’s never far away; you can come to him right now and find refreshing for your soul. Sometimes the quick fixes don’t work in the long haul. We need what only he can offer – renewed purpose and hope, fresh healing and strength, day by day.
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5 Sure Signs that You’re Emotionally Drained:
These signs, among many others, may give you the awareness you need to find renewal and strength again. Please know you’re not alone. Many of us have struggled here and then moved forward into freedom. Don’t give up; God is close and longs to help you.
1. Emotional Heaviness and Stress
You’re weary and exhausted, and the things that once brought you life and joy no longer do. You feel unorganized with a continual, nagging sense that you just can’t finish it all, no matter how hard you try. There’s an overriding sense of pressure and stress that seems to hang overhead. You’re forgetting things, even important things. It’s a weight to carry, and you feel burdened down with the load of it all.
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2. Relational Strain
You feel constantly irritated, impatient, even angry with others. You don’t want to respond in these ways, but you feel trapped in the cycle and completely overwhelmed. You’re crying more than you ever normally would and feel like you’re just struggling to hold it together for another day.
3. Unable to Rest
You’re having trouble sleeping. You wake up with worried thoughts, and though you know you need sleep, it’s hard to get a full night’s rest. When the alarm wakes you, you’re not refreshed. You find it’s hard to get moving and you’ve lost your peace and joy.
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4. Physical Weakness
You have physical symptoms that point towards being emotionally drained. You’re not eating well, or maybe you're struggling with eating too much. You’ve stopped exercising because there’s just too much to do. You feel anxious, worried, stressed, or fearful, and you can’t seem to shake it off. You seem to be getting sick too easily. Your immune system is trying to work overtime, but your whole body feels weakened. You’re struggling with headaches, stomach issues, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, even chest pains or panic attacks. These among a list of other ailments should be enough to send a person straight for help. But the truth is, many still try to just suffer through, alone, in silence, hoping it’ll get better soon. Yet all of it seems to be dragging you downward even more.
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5. Pulling Away from God
You’ve found yourself pulling away, distancing yourself from God and time with him. From other people who you love. From church. Maybe the downward spiral has left you feeling all alone and in despair. You’re struggling with feeling depressed, and dark thoughts have started coming through your mind. You know you’re battling with the enemy’s lies, but it’s become harder to even know what is really true.
If you find yourself struggling here today, maybe this is your wake-up call to get help now.
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How to Find Renewal Again:
Only in Christ can true renewal be found. If he’s not our foundation, we’re seeking only temporary relief. He reminds us continually in his word, that he understands our weaknesses and has also walked through these very battles. He knows what we need and will lead us through to the other side of the struggle. But we first have to get our eyes in the right place. Off the problems, off the feelings of being overwhelmed, off all the stress and stuff that pulls us down and leaves us drained, and up to him again.
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Go to God first.
Pray. Confess your need for him. Confess any sin you know you’ve been holding onto that’s difficult to let go of. Ask him for the help of his Holy Spirit. He may show you things you weren’t even aware of that have caused your downward spiral into exhaustion. He may lead you to make better decisions, to let go of toxic attitudes or relationships, and will guide you into healthy new places. God loves us more than we could ever fully know. He longs to help us and is always there. His words of life remind us that he is our strong tower and refuge in every storm or difficulty of life. He promises to help us, and he is faithful to see us through.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip, he who watches over you will not slumber.” Psalm 121:1-3
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
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Open up his word.
Put on the armor of God every day. Read his words of truth and life and speak them out loud. Pray them, share them with others, and meditate on them through the day. Start memorizing verses that bring you hope by writing them out and hanging them up where you’ll see his words through the day. His Word is like a healing balm to our souls. It is the truth that never changes in a constantly shifting world. It is light in the dark and gives clarity and wisdom to know how to walk wisely in hard places. He promises that his words of life will never return void without accomplishing all that they are meant to do. We can trust his words in every stage and circumstance of our lives.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” Acts 3:19
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Stop trying to carry it all.
Lay it down because you’re not meant to make everything happen on your own. Get rest. Take care of yourself. Eat healthy. Go outside and take a long walk or exercise again. Find a hobby you love to do and make time for it in your day – it’s that important. Watch the sunrise or sunset and notice things you’ve forgotten to notice all around you: the people you love, animals or pets you love. Nature, beautiful flowers, the stretch of an ocean, sounds of rushing waters, or the majesty of a mountainside. Learn to breathe deep again, and find times of rest for your soul. Allow God to fill you up with the power and peace of his presence. He alone is our hope-restorer and burden-bearer.
“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.” Matthew 11:28-30
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“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 be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
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Because truly, joy is often a choice. We may not “feel” happy; we may be struggling deeply with things that are pressing hard, but God reminds us to choose joy and that he will be faithful to give us the strength we need through whatever we face. Give him praise for the work that he is doing within you. It is often a bigger work than just about us and what we’re facing. It’s about others around us and his greater work within us that brings light and hope to a dark world. Laugh every single day. And if you don’t have something to laugh about, find something. Or if it seems too hard to do, read or watch something that will bring a smile to your face and deep laughter to your soul. Jesus came that we might have abundant life, but the truth is, the enemy will do all he can to steal that right away.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
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Talk to a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor.
Surround yourself with other believers. Don’t try to do this life thing on your own. Don’t buy into the lie that says you have to cover your weaknesses and that you can’t be real about the struggles you’re facing. We all have weakness. We all will struggle and face difficult times. We’re human; we’re not perfect. But we know the One who is and often just need to be reminded that others have walked this way before as they share their hope stories. We are stronger together and the enemy cannot stand against us with God in our midst.
Sometimes we need help and healing that comes through the care of a professional counselor and medication to help us get stronger again. There should never be any shame or guilt over seeking out medical help and attention for persistent and difficult problems. Many people deal with struggles of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and mood disorders that should never be ignored and left untreated. If you’ve been struggling with these things and feel stuck, or you know and love someone who is, please get help. Know that God’s greatest desire for you is to live free. He wants nothing more than for us to reach out to him for help.
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14
“Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Juliandra Durkin
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Juliandra Durkin
Originally published Tuesday, 07 May 2019.