“And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming!”Galatians 6:9 TPT
Have you ever grown weary in well-doing? Did you know that weariness is one of the most common enemies that attempts to get us in life’s journey? In my own personal journey, I’ve been tempted to throw in the towel more than a time or two. These demonic forces can be very persistent at times. We have to realize that the powers of darkness do not let up once they temporarily knock us down.
I know I stated that a little differently because I’m acknowledging there are times in these stages that you do get knocked down. There are times you get hit on the head and you get knocked down, but what you’ve got to understand is that the enemy wants you to stay down. He’s after you for the count. Once you do go down that downward spiral, he wants to keep you going deeper still. I’m telling you, the powers of darkness do not let up simply because they knocked us down.
But I also said “temporarily” because I know the Bible says in Proverbs 24:16 that the righteous will stumble and rise. They’ll get back up one more time, every time. That’s the resiliency of God. It’s the quickening power of the Holy Spirit. But we have to realize that we cannot wait for the powers of darkness to let up. In seasons like this, we have to rise up and shake off the dust of fatigue and weariness. We must learn to declare, “Thus far you shall come, but no further” (Job 38:11 NASB).
Down the Burnout Drain
From that sense of negative emotions, we can easily give in to negative self-talk, mumbling to ourselves, griping, and complaining. We start to replay past negative experiences, and even start to sing the pity party songs of the past, like the famous hit from the 50s, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to … You would cry too if it happened to you.” Or how about the song “Cry Me a River”? I know those are old examples, but these kinds of songs are a dime a dozen because that’s where a lot of people live.
Well, guess what? Pity-parties don’t go over well at any age, and whining isn’t pretty at any age either. Like a two-year-old who’s not getting his way, you can start to throw a tantrum, but as a grown adult, it turns into whining. Instead of being resilient and aglow with the Spirit, you become a frown-faced, wrinkled-up, shriveled-up person who lives in the past.
One specific way the powers of darkness like to knock us down is burnout. Yes, burnout can be a real and complex mixture of mental, emotional, physical, psychological, sexual, hormonal, chemical, and spiritual issues all wrapped up into one. It can affect your mood, your disposition, your energy levels, your sleep patterns, and ultimately your outlook on life. It becomes a ball of yarn, interwoven so that when you begin to pull on one thread, it feels as though the whole ball falls apart.
No matter what may have you feeling weary or knocked down, God has a remedy for every situation. We must learn to walk in healthy self-care, combining the disciplines of physical exercise, proper nutrition, relational community, edifying conversations, meditative prayer, and vibrant worship, among a few other things. When I faced cancer in my body three times, I had to learn self-care on a completely new level. Stress will so often make us want to eat junk food for comfort when it is really just a way to poison ourselves. It can affect our sleep as well. All of these things affect our faith, hope, and love.
I cannot begin to tell you here all the things I learned about love or detoxing or proper nutrition while going through various alternative therapies and treatments for cancer. What I can tell you is, going on three times with cancer, today’s world will try to nip the disease in the bud, but it doesn’t destroy the root system that helped create the cultures that allowed the cancer to exist in the first place. A new friend of mine told me something really simple and rather profound: disease is anything that takes ease out of your life. Disease is a stress-filled life, but the real truth is that Jesus’s yoke is easy and light!
Handling burnout properly is a big subject that I’m just touching briefly, but my main purpose here is to say that it isn’t only rooted in the spiritual. It could be physical, it could be nutritional, it could be sleep patterns, or it could be that you’re around the wrong community. It can be the need to cut off some relationships and build some new ones. All of that can be a part of burnout, and I encourage you to dig deeper into those other causes if that applies to you. Where I want to focus today is how to overcome the negativity from those seasons.
You Gotta Look Up!
Whenever we face negativity, we need to remember a lesson from Psalm 121:1, “I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help.” Take your chin off your chest! Remember: if you have to lift your eyes up, it means your chin is sitting on your chest and your eyes are looking on yourself.
This means, first, it is a decision to look up, but if you wait until your emotions feel like moving on, you never will. You will be a parked car in the cul-de-sac of yesterday. Second, what do you see when you look up? You see God, your source, and you connect to your place of strength. Third, what then do we do as we recognize him as our place of strength? We praise the Lord. We “pass through his open gates with the password of praise” and “come right into his presence with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 100:4). As we look up, we start to shift the atmosphere around us with praise. Praise is a sacrifice, and it will cost you something, but its rewards are worth it.
When our soul has cried out, Where are you now?, and when we’re expressing our need for God to be not in our past but in our present, our Father calls us to look up and see that he is with us now.
A Real Enemy Is Set against You
We must realize that a real enemy is set against us. According to Ephesians 6:11–13, we are called to:
“Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser! Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious.”Ephesians 6:11–13 TPT
Another great passage to give us proper biblical understanding that a real enemy is set against us is 2 Corinthians 10:3–6:
“For although we live in the natural realm, we don’t wage a military campaign employing human weapons, using manipulation to achieve our aims. Instead, our spiritual weapons are energized with divine power to effectively dismantle the defenses behind which people hide. We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One. Since we are armed with such dynamic weaponry, we stand ready to punish any trace of rebellion, as soon as you choose complete obedience.”2 Corinthians 10:3–6 TPT
Notice, it does say we do not wage war, just that we do not wage war the way the world does. In fact, we wage war in many ways, and one of the ways we do is to take every thought captive. We must capture all those negative thoughts, all those weary thoughts, all those thoughts that want to stay down and quit, and we must force them into obedience to Christ.
A look at Daniel 7:25 helps us understand one of the ways this very real enemy works against us. The first half of the verse says, “He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One” (NASB). I thoroughly cover this area in my book The Discerner, as I teach there about different demonic spirits, their personage, and how they operate, but I will tell you here, this is a spirit of antichrist. He acts in this manner: he comes against believers in an attempt to wear them down.
Look at that again; see what it says. One primary purpose of the devil or the spirit of the antichrist is to come against the saints—believers like you and me—and he will attempt to wear you down. We must know the enemy’s schemes and learn to rise above them and take a stand. Or how about a promise from Isaiah 40:28–31:
“Don’t you know? Haven’t you been listening? Yahweh is the one and only everlasting God, the Creator of all you can see and imagine! He never gets weary or worn out. His intelligence is unlimited; he is never puzzled over what to do! He empowers the feeble and infuses the powerless with increasing strength. Even young people faint and get exhausted; athletic ones may stumble and fall. But those who wait for Yahweh’s gracewill experience divinestrength. They will rise up on soaring wings and fly like eagles, run their race without growing weary, and walk through life without giving up.”Isaiah 40:28–31 TPT
Did you see? The Lord, the Creator, does not become weary or tired. This is dusting off fatigue and weariness on an entirely new level. He simply doesn’t become worn out, but we must shake it off. I’m telling you that you must do it. You must shake off the weariness. Other people can pray for you and help dust you off, but you have to shake it off for it to stay off. Yes, times will come when you have gone as far as you can on the strength you have, but when you minister to the Lord, you will gain new strength.
God promises a turnaround for everything the enemy tries to throw at us. There is a cure for burnout. There is a remedy in the Holy Spirit for every condition of fatigue, weariness, and mental and emotional depletion. We must learn to continue to abide in him and in the power of his Word.
Dusting off the weariness is just one of the topics covered in my new book Tell Your Heart to Sing Again. How do you cope, let alone rebuild your life after a series of trials, stressful difficulties, and traumatic experiences? Is there life after tragedy? How do you move forward into a meaningful life filled with purpose and destiny?
In Tell Your Heart to Sing Again I take you on my personal journey of facing three bouts with cancer, the death of my beloved spouse, becoming a single parent, overwhelming debt, intense sorrow, being left with many profound questions—all while being exposed to public scrutiny as I carried on a global ministry. I share my story and unpack wisdom gained when the bottom fell out of my world.
Deeply personal and intensely practical, Tell Your Heart to Sing Again will give you useful tools whether for yourself or someone you love. You can rediscover life after tragedy!