Spiritual Fatigue

Spiritual Fatigue | Dealing with Spiritual Burnout

By Marilyn Pritchard

“Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap.” When I first read those words in John Ortberg’s book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, they were life-changing for me. I was a type A Christian, always doing what I thought I needed to do to prove my love for God. It never occurred to me that I could simply rest in Him, let alone that I didn’t need to prove anything to Him. 

Whether you are in full-time Christian ministry or simply a full-time Christian whose ministry is right where you live and work, it’s important to practice spiritual self-care. If we don’t care for our souls, we will experience spiritual fatigue, which can lead to spiritual burnout.

If you feel like you’ve been on a spiritual treadmill that’s going faster and faster but getting nowhere, maybe it’s time to hit the pause button and slow down. Spend time alone with the Lord and figure out how you can take on His yoke, which is easy and light (Matt. 11:28-30) instead of bearing your burdens all by yourself.

A few years ago, when my family was going through a crisis, I knew I needed time to pray and process with God. But with all my responsibilities at home and work, I found it difficult to unplug long enough to feed my soul. Fortunately, I heard about a nearby ministry with a prayer cottage available for anyone who needed a mini-retreat, for a few hours or a whole day. I reserved the cottage for a whole day, packed a bag lunch, my Bible and my journal and arrived early with a cup of coffee from my favorite coffee shop. I spent the whole day with Jesus, journaling my thoughts and the things He had been teaching me. I came away with a well-nourished soul and a renewed spirit, ready to face whatever new challenges might arise.

I pray that you, too, will find rest for your spirit (Ps. 51:10-12) when you are weary. Maybe for you that will mean taking a walk in His awesome creation, curling up in your favorite chair with a cup of hot tea and a playlist of worship songs, taking a whole weekend away on a silent retreat (something a friend of mine is in the habit of doing every year), or simply taking a nap. Whatever it is that “fills your cup” and draws your spirit closer to His Spirit, make sure you take care of your soul.

If you’re feeling fatigued deep down in your soul, take time to spend with the One who knows you best. Meditate on His Word: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Spend time in prayer. Journal your thoughts. Listen to worship music. We at Just Between Us (JBU) have listed a few articles here that offer more ideas for replenishing your spirit. Take a deep dive and come up refreshed!

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