When exhaustion steals your joy

I am tired. I am to the bone, utterly tired. My eyelids sting with the weight of a nap that will not come for several hours and my limbs ache. I think we all feel this way, some of us more often than others. We find exhaustion creeping in to the very spaces of our body, taking residence in our limbs, our hearts, and our minds.

Friends, we don’t always have to be physically exhausted to FEEL exhaustion.

Exhaustion can come in the form of a tired soul. After negative experiences wear us down, we can find ourselves feeling exhausted at the mere thought of trying to be joyful. To feel positive among a sea of negative circumstances is not only difficult, sometimes it can feel near impossible.

I understand how exhaustion can steal joy, because I have been there. I have felt so tired, so overwhelmed with the stresses of circumstances out of my control that I felt as if I constantly wanted to sleep. Sleep was comforting and did not demand my attention. Sleep was the one time within my otherwise hectic day that I found solace. Sleep allowed me to quiet my thoughts, those doubts that would crowd my mind and convince me that I was failing in every aspect of my life.

I was not a perfect mother, because I was running on empty. I devoted my time to a full time job, over the course of eight hours distributing slices of myself to others, leaving my family at the end of the day with a shell of a person who had no energy left to interact. My children found me irritable. I felt an incredible sense of guilt as I watched my children’s faces collapse in disappointment, when I requested a nap rather than read them a story, or play a game with them.

I was not a wonderful wife either. I did not prepare meals, or interact with loving words and kind gestures towards my husband. In my angered state, so tired with the world, I found my moments spent on edge, wanting to retreat to time with myself, rather than spend time with my husband.

In those moments, in that season of my life that at the time loomed overhead, feeling as if it were never going to cease, I was joy-less. I was like an epidemic friend, and I infected everyone who surrounded me. I noted, in their faces and in the way that those closest to me carried themselves, that I was infecting them with my negativity. My exhaustion was stealing their joy.

Friends, I know there is no simple remedy for curing exhaustion. Exhaustion of the body can often be alleviated with a long rest. Exhaustion of the mind can take far longer. But they are both similar in the fact that rest can help.

I rested my tired heart in God. I realized, one evening when the weight of the world seemed to be crushing me, that I could not do it alone. Friends, as the stream of droplets from the shower head washed over my worn down body, the rivulets of warm tears falling from my eyes combined with the flow of water, and I prayed for guidance. I prayed for an end to the negativity that had riddled my life. I cried for patience and for forgiveness. I cried as I asked of Him that he show me the next move to make. I cried until the water became cold and my physical body matched the condition of my heart.

He answered, in a way more striking that anything I could have ever dreamed of. He removed me from a toxic environment, the very environment that was wearing me thin and stealing my joy.

Friend, look around you. What is exhausting you right now? Is there something physical that is wearing you thin? Is it a person or a situation? Or is the force that is stealing your joy less tangible? Is it your very thoughts, convincing you that you are not worthy or deserving enough? Whatever factor or factors it may be, I urge you to pray to Him. Ask Him to remove anything not sent by Him. I guarantee that you will be astounded at the difference this simple prayer makes in your life.

I was so tired, for far too long. But now, I find after many difficult nights and trials that felt as if they would shatter me, I feel well rested, comforted in the fact that I no longer have to do it alone.

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