When You Are Feeling Weary

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”   3 John 1:2 (NIV)
We understand weariness. That profound fatigue that sets in when we’ve worked overtime to meet a deadline or when the baby hasn’t slept more than two hours straight in three weeks. Maybe you are weary within an unhealthy relationship. Several years ago, I went through a difficult time in a relationship, and the best description I could give at the time was, “They make me weary.” There is also spiritual weariness. We’ve prayed and haven’t gotten an answer, or maybe we did, and it wasn’t what we wanted. Disappointment settles in. God seems distant. We feel as if we are walking under an iron cloud that no prayer will penetrate. We are weary.
God creates our bodies so intricately. We live in a physical body with a heart and soul filled with thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Each choice we make affects every part of us. How do we care for our souls as we care for our bodies?

The aftermath of the prophet Elijah’s encounter with King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, offers us a vivid description of someone whose body and soul needed care. He expended tremendous energy, physically and emotionally, as God’s instrument against King Ahab’s family and their gods, the Baals. In 1 Kings chapter 18, we read about a bold and courageous Elijah. He leaves that encounter victorious and with great hope, and by chapter 19, he begins his walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
 
What happened to Elijah can happen to us. And, unfortunately, a let-down feeling or even despair and depression often follow intense life situations, traumatic experiences, crushing disappointments, and, yes, huge victories. Mountains always have valleys.

When we are running from Jezebel (or the word “momma” for the five hundred forty-seventh time) and find ourselves sitting under a broom tree, tired, hungry, and ready to give up, we need what Elijah needed, his heavenly Father’s care.  

Elijah’s condition was not unknown to God.

So let’s explore several adoptable caregiving tools from our Abba Father for those times we find ourselves physically and emotionally spent.

God provided to meet Elijah's needs:

  • Rest. Elijah curled up under the broom tree and took a long nap. Sometimes we gotta rest, y’all. We are not superhuman. Jesus took a nap. Be like Jesus. (Mark 4:38)

  • Nourishment. Do you ever forget to eat? Well, I don’t very often. But I have, and Elijah probably did, too. He was in an intense life and death situation. Elijah had been running on adrenaline and Holy Spirit power, but his body needed food.

  • Counsel. With tenderness, our Abba Father listened to Elijah’s pain-filled lament. Then, in a still small voice, He asked questions. God corrected Elijah’s distorted thinking that can happen when we are isolated. Elijah was not the only one that worshiped God. There were 7000 more who had not bowed to Baal. And God was taking care of the situation.
    Seek out advice from godly counsel. Talk to your trusted friend or speak with a professional Christian counselor. We need someone to listen, but we also need clarity when looking at life through the blur of weariness.

  • Next steps. God knew that after Elijah stopped for rest, he would need to start his work again. So he gave Elijah a plan of action to move forward.
    Using God’s tools helps us create our personalized process for soul care. Start somewhere. Pick one soul-care practice and begin.

Here are five steps in my soul-care routine
that could help you with yours:

Get adequate sleep. For me, that means I begin about an hour before bed preparing for sleep. Taking time to unwind is essential for me to sleep well. Good sleep does not happen in a vacuum. It happens when we prepare for it.

Eat healthily. Discover the healthiest eating plan for your body, and do your best to follow it. I must eat a little lower carb, but I also follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time, I eat whole, low starch/low sugar foods, and twenty percent of the time, I eat less healthy foods. Discuss with your personal physician what’s best for you.

Reduce stress. Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34) Amen, Jesus, amen. He also reminds us that we can be less anxious and have a peace that we can’t explain to guard our hearts and minds when we pray, offer thanks, and ask Him for what we need. (Philippians 4:6–7)

Taking a moment each day to read our Bible, pray, and write down a couple of things we are grateful for helps us remember that God is in control.

Stay connected. Weary and depressed, Elijah left his servant and went deep into the wilderness. All aspects of weariness tend to make aloneness attractive. I don’t know how that fella might have helped Elijah, but neither of them would have been alone.

God created us to need connections with others. When we are struggling, we want to shut the door to the world. Connecting with others will be hard, so hard. You will need to be intentional. You won’t feel like it. Ignore those particular feelings. Take a deep breath, girlfriend, and push past weariness. Call a friend, meet someone for lunch, and show up at your church to worship with other believers.

Help others. After God ministered to Elijah’s body and soul, He sent him on to continue the work He had called him to do. Helping others is a valuable antidote to self-absorption and the disconnection we feel when we are struggling.
Caring for ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually is an act of worship. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and God commands us to care for His temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20) Don’t let His commandment condemn you; let it convict you and allow your heart to be open to the Holy Spirit leading you toward better total health. Even in a state of weariness, remember, friend, you have God-given tools for renewal in body and soul.

Blessings Soul Friend,

Carmen

Diving Deeper

Look up each of the Scriptures mentioned in today's post. As you read each one, prayerfully ask God, "What do you want me to learn from Your Word today?"
  • 1 Kings chapters 18-19
  • Mark 4:38
  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Resources

Download this free printable card and share with a friend to encourage their weary heart.
  1. Download file
  2. Print Card on cardstock paper
  3. Trim around edge of design
  4. Fold in half
  5. Add a personal note to the inside of card
Carmen Horne is an author, Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach, and speaker who uses her gifts to encourage women to draw on God’s power and a dynamic relationship with Jesus to change their perspective on the unexpected. She is the author of Out of Words: 31 Prayers of Hope for Your Hurting Heart. Visit her online at CarmenHorne.com.
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