Where to turn in exhaustion

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A few years back, I was making a sandwich in our kitchen on Easter weekend; we’d been running off our feet for months at work and I was looking forward to a bit of a rest.

What I didn’t know at the time was just how exhausted I actually was.

My eating had been terrible for weeks, my sleep was awful, my mood less than stellar… and then, as I made my sandwich, my hands started shaking uncontrollably.

It seemed the stress had caught up to me and something had to change.

I’m not the only one who’s gone through something like this. In fact, I dare say we all know how it feels to be tired, frazzled, possibly even burnt out.

So, what do we do when we’re completely exhausted?

Where do you turn?

Over the last few years, I’ve done a fair bit of reading on personality types and traits in order to better understand some of the unique ways God’s wired me. One of the interesting things I discovered in my reading is the typical response to prolonged stressful situations—turns out people with my personality type (I most closely align with the INTJ Myers Briggs profile) are inclined toward sensory pleasure.

For some, this expresses itself in an escape into television. Others, it’s alcohol. For me, when I’m super-stressed, it’s food—particularly rich, sweet things.

(As you can imagine, having a mother who owns a bakery where delicious donuts are available doesn’t help.)

So for me, quite literally, during my most stressful times, there’s a battle that goes on who or what I’m worshipping in those moments—Jesus or my stomach (Phil 3:19).

When you’re wiped out, you’re typically not inclined to make wise decisions—and naturally, it’s an opportunity for you to give into the temptation to sin. This is why it’s helpful to have a sense of how God’s wired you if you’re going to be watchful for those particular temptations.

But that’s only half the answer; it’s part of the preventative measures we can take. We also need to remember what the Bible says about rest.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Jesus tells us (Matthew 11:28). For those who are weary—of religious legalism, of performancism—Jesus promises rest. Not a call to stop striving and stop working, but to “find rest for your souls” (Matt 11:29b) through a relationship with Him. As His disciples, we find the rest our souls long for—”For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:30).

“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11). When we’re exhausted—and before we’re exhausted—strive to enter the rest that Christ offers our weary souls. Turn not to whatever false promise the world offers for peace and contentment.

Turn to the sure and trustworthy Word of God. There you will find rest.

  • Flyaway

    Because of the sudden onset of fibromyalgia when I was 36 years old caused by unrelenting stress of difficult relatives, no money, and moving with my husband and 2 young children several times, and bone spurs developing on my c5 vertebrae, I’ve had to give up many things. My children and husband became more independent and I turned not only to Bible study but to in depth prayer. Now, thirty-three years later God solved the difficult relative situation, no money situation, and my pain still helps me focus on Bible study and prayer. Now I’m writing a blog too. I think I took that test years ago but all I remember was that I was an introvert and a thinker. Whatever my personality type I trust God to lead me and direct my steps each day. The toughest thing for me is to avoid stress!