Years ago, I titled this blog post “Two Kinds of Tired…One Kind of Rest. I was talking about spiritual fatigue and the simple and easy remedy. We all get mentally and spiritually exhausted from life. Spiritual fatigue is real. The way I see it, there are two kinds of “tired.” One type of tired is the type where you body is sleepy. Maybe you stayed up too late watching that old movie on TCM. Or maybe you are strugglign with insomnia and are always looking for soemthign to watch that will put you to sleep. That’s a familiar fatigue. It’s commonplace. You may feel this at the end of a long, drawn-out day. You know how it is, your limbs are heavy, your mind is cluttered and you long for an opportunity to just…collapse. That is one type of tired. We all know about that kind of tired. So I won’t spend much time with it.
Random: I love that God gave us many Bible verses for various forms of fatigue.
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The second type of “Tired” – Spiritual Tired
Yeah. Let’s talk about a spiritual fatigue now. It is the second type of tire we can expereince.
It is the tiredness that is deeply draining and disorienting.
It often feels like a heavy burden on your soul. It is where like your sense of purpose, faith, or connection to God becomes clouded, distorted, or diminished when you are this type of tired and burdened with spiritual fatigue.
It becomes increasingly difficult to be optimistic when you’re mired in this type of “tired.” Your mind seems to reel all the time. Relief seems far away. Inaccessible. Your spirit feels heavy and overcome with dogged spiritual fatigue.
What are the symptoms of spiritual fatigue?
I think spiritual fatigue can be characterized by a sinking and profound sense of emptiness, apathy, or disillusionment as if the spiritual wellspring has run dry. Of course, as a Christian, we know it hasn’t. It just feels that way.
In such moments, the practices and beliefs that once brought solace and meaning may lose their luster, leaving youfeeling adrift or disconnected from their spiritual path.
Have you ever heard of being in a wilderness season? I think that is nothing more than spiritual fatigue.
For me, my spiritual fatigue’s symptoms may include:
- Emotional Drain: Feeling emotionally drained, detached, or experiencing a sense of emptiness and indifference towards spiritual practices like Bible study and prayer time.
- Loss of Meaning: A diminished sense of purpose; where once-meaningful aspects of my faith had vigor, they seem to lose their significance or no longer provide fulfillment.
- Cynicism and Doubt: Developing skepticism or doubt about spiritual things like church, preachers, beliefs, and for some, the very existence of God.
- Increased Irritability: Becoming more irritable, impatient, or easily frustrated, potentially leading to strained relationships and lots of complaining.
- Decreased Compassion: I may not feel as empathetic and compassionate towards myself and others, accompanied by a decreased willingness to engage in acts of kindness or service. I often withdraw when I am spiritually depleted.
- Physical Symptoms: This is weird, but you can feel achy and tired when you’re spiritually fatigued. Physical manifestations such as sleep disturbances, headaches, or digestive issues due to the emotional and mental strain.
- Withdrawal: I already said this one, but I’ll say it again. Withdrawing from spiritual communities, practices, or rituals that were once an integral part of my life – is a clear sign I am spiritually fatigued.
- Loss of Connection: Feeling disconnected from one’s own sense of self, others, or God, resulting in a sense of isolation. It’s wild that I often withdraw from the very One that will help me when I feel spiritually fatigued.
These are just afew symptoms of spritual fatigue. I am sure there are many others.
It’s important to note that spiritual fatigue is a complex and individualized experience. If someone is experiencing these symptoms, seeking support from a trusted spiritual advisor, Christian counselor, or Chritian mental health professional can be beneficial in addressing and overcoming spiritual fatigue.
Spiritual Fatigue makes you question EVERTHING
I understand that during this type of spiritual fatigue, you may be grappling with existential questions about your faith.
Is God real?
Does God love me?
Do I have a purpose?
Am I making a difference?
Am I stupid?
Is it too late for me?
Each of these types of questions can be laden with a heavy burdens and insecruity, right? Do you see the theme in them? I do. They are all self-focused.
Hey, it’s natural to find ourselves questioning the purpose of life, our beliefs, and our place in the world from time to time.
However, I don’t think we stay there. We have to squash that sort of thinking and tap into our regenerated soul. That part of ourselves the Lord speaks to by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have to nurse that part of yourself with regular prayer and Bible study. We have to feed our spirital selves so that the “carnal” spiritually fatigued part of ourselves is quieted.
Don’t “nurture” or entertain that part of you that elludes that your best days are far behind you. The enemy of your soul may tell you that but don’t believe it or you may choose to just think it and harp on it. Stop that. This spiritual fatigue is just a temporary rough patch. It will not last forever.
What causes spiritual fatigue?
Spiritual fatigue in Christians, like in individuals of any faith, can have various underlying causes.
Spiritual fatigue can manifest when we encounter various challenges, trauma or factors that erode our sense of spiritual well-being.
I think it could be a bad marriage, abuse, trauma over losing someone we love or a million other things.
It may result from prolonged exposure to stress. Like people who work and work without balancing that work with spiritual feedings – time with the Lord Jesus.
Maybe unresolved spiritual questions or doubts could drain a person’s spiritual resolve.
I definitely know that excessive demands from religious commitments can take a toll. Some people work so much at church that you would think they are trying to earn their salvation or make up for something bad they did. I think it’s all about balance.
You know, I also believe that a sense of disillusionment within one’s community can be destructive. I am a Black woman. When I see these episodes of people misusing and abusing my community, it aches my soul and drains it, like a figure in a video game.
Engaging in rigid religious practices without experiencing a genuine connection to one’s faith or feeling obligated to adhere to strict religious rules can also contribute to spiritual exhaustion. Furthermore, personal crises, moral dilemmas, and a lack of authenticity in one’s spiritual journey can lead to a state of spiritual fatigue. It’s a complex interplay of internal and external factors that can gradually erode one’s spiritual vitality and leave them feeling spiritually drained and disconnected.
Some common factors that may cause spiritual fatigue in Christians include:
- Overcommitment: Taking on too many religious responsibilities, such as volunteering, church activities, or ministry work, can lead to burnout and spiritual exhaustion. I already mentioned this one
- Religious Legalism: A strict adherence to religious rules and regulations without a deep understanding of the underlying faith principles can lead to a sense of obligation and fatigue. I can attest to this one, too. I grew up in a very legalistic denomination. I was like I had a spiritual paranoia. I was scared to wear the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, or say the wrong thing. It drained me every church service.
- Personal Loss or Crisis: Experiencing significant personal losses, such as the death of a loved one, illness, or financial difficulties, can challenge one’s faith and lead to spiritual fatigue.
- Spiritual Dryness: Periods of feeling spiritually disconnected, where prayer, worship, or religious practices no longer provide the same sense of fulfillment or connection.
- Moral or Ethical Dilemmas: Facing moral or ethical dilemmas that challenge one’s beliefs or values can create inner turmoil and spiritual fatigue.
- Conflict within Religious Community: Struggles or conflicts within a religious community or church can lead to disillusionment and spiritual fatigue.
- Lack of Authenticity: Trying to conform to religious expectations or pretending to have a strong faith when struggling internally can be exhausting.
- Unresolved Questions: Lingering questions or doubts about aspects of one’s faith that have not been adequately addressed can contribute to spiritual fatigue.
- Pressure to Perform: Feeling pressured to demonstrate strong faith or perfection within the Christian community constantly can lead to exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy.
- Negative Life Events: Experiencing traumatic or distressing life events, even if unrelated to faith, can impact one’s spiritual well-being and lead to spiritual fatigue.
Seeing spiritual fatigue in others…
No doubt with so many causes, LOTS of people will suffer from this. The worse part is, sadly, you can’t hide this “tired” very well either. It is evident to the outside world. Evidence of it slips out. It comes through your social pores.
It shows in how you carry yourself physically, respond to agitation, and even betray you by revealing a sort of dimness in your eyes.
Have you ever seen someone who smiled with their lips while their eyes were filled with sadness?
They were likely “tired” spiritually.
They may have endured all they could possibly take, and now their spiritual needle is pointing to empty.
A hug does little to help; efforts to self-medicate are useless; they’re just too …” tired.”
This is the type of tired poet Maya Angelou referenced in her poem entitled “The Mask.” Skip to 3.07 and hear it’s power. Click below.
That sort of tiredness scarcely compares to our often physical exhaustion. Maya Angelou speaks of a tired wrought by unimaginable oppression, hate, and wicked bias.
Still, we get tired, too.
Let me back track – Other cause of spiritual exhaustion
We get tired of being mistreated.
Mistreatment makes us all “tired,” right? When people don’t appreciate our gifts after we render our best, we can grow “tired.”
They take us for granted.
When waiting on a blessing that seems never to come, we grow “tired”.
When people disappoint us time and time again, tiredness develops. Nothing else to give. Spent. Done. That’s where we find ourselves.
Hope for Spiritual Fatigue
There is a spiritual “nap” for the soul that works!
It lies in connecting with the “Rock that is higher than I” (Read Psalm 61).
Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
2 from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
3 for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
The next time you begin to feel the “tired” in your soul. Still the moment, stop the world and refresh yourself from the Well that never runs dry.
Only then will you be able to hear that ‘still small voice’ that brings you solace and respite.
In that quiet place, you gain fresh perspective and spiritual nourishment. The horrible seems less so because it pales in comparison to Jesus Christ!
As I said, I was mentally and spiritually exhausted from life
I had a tired moment just a few nights ago.
After doing all I needed for the evening, I snuck upstairs to my bedroom and closed the door.
Fortunately, my husband and the guys were downstairs. I was blissfully alone.
There’s something about time alone with Him. It’s wonderful!
Yes, the solace was rejuvenating. The quietness slowed my heartbeat, and I just thought about the goodness of the Lord and His love for me.
I am so glad I didn’t run to the phone to call a friend to lament.
Friends can do nothing for that kind of “tired.”
Instead, I sat on the floor to bow my body and spirit and just inhale and exhale before a loving and living God—my heavenly Father.
Let Alvin Slaughter minister to you and pray for you. This is one of my favorite songs for my spiritual tired times.
Prayer changes it all
I prayed …mentally and spiritually exhausted from life. I just prayed.
I invited the peace of the Holy Spirit into my “tired,” spiritually fatigued moment.
I thanked Him for comfort, rest, and joy – some of which I hadn’t fully felt. But I knew He’d deliver.
In faith, I said thanks as I prayed. I expressed gratitude for His fellowship and my access to a most Holy God.
I praised Him for His Word that repeatedly supplies comfort to my “tired,” thirsty soul.
The Bible helps with Spiritual Fatigue
Then, there is Psalms!
Oh, there is nothing like Psalms when you feel exasperated.
Sometimes, you’ll have to search until you find the “right” one to speak to your heart.
But never fear: it’s there. Holy Spirit will guide you to it. Another spirit will try to pull you from it. Ignore that “spirit”.
The one that tempts you to lay in bed, depressed and defeated, is not of God. No! Turn to the Lord in worship, gratitude, and fellowship with His Word.
I felt so much better after I did that…after I had that moment.
When I rose to my feet, I could feel the burden had lifted, and once again, a flowing stream replaced my spiritual desert.
I literally exhaled. Have you ever felt that sort of release?
My problems may not have gone away, but my focus was no longer on them.
They seemed small and insignificant in light of my mighty God.
The point of all this is to find peace in the presence of God when you feel at the end of your rope.
Spend time alone with Him to refresh your spirit and reinvigorate your soul.
Stay before Him until there is that release in your soul I referenced. Be patient. Don’t give up.
Wait on the Lord.