April 18, 2023

Help for the Burned Out and Exhausted

Written by Shana Schutte

Your identity comes from Him, not what you do for Him.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today –April 18, 2023

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30 

I grew up singing a catchy little tune: “I got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” But since the simplicity of childhood days, there have been times when I haven’t felt much joy at all and there have been a few seasons when I have experienced the exact opposite. Instead of life-giving, spirit-liberating joy, I have experienced emotional burnout, spiritual exhaustion, and down-to-the-bone physical fatigue. 

During one season of tired, I envisioned running off to a ranch in the middle of Montana, dumping all my responsibilities and just doing nothing. I longed for simplicity and freedom from too much: too much work, too much emotional upheaval, too much change. I had lost my enthusiasm for my work, for doing ministry, and for life. 

Maybe you can relate. Perhaps life feels exhausting. Maybe you feel burned out and an unfamiliar tired has settled into your spirit. Maybe it came out of nowhere or it crept up on you and now you want to regain your enthusiasm for life. But you don’t know how. All you can do is think of running away and hiding away from the world—maybe even out in the middle of Montana. 

If you can relate, I want to give you some encouragement from my own journey. 

First, discover why you’re burned out. Burn out can occur when unhealthy and false beliefs work themselves out in our behavior. For me, the belief that I couldn’t take a long and much needed break coupled with the belief that God would be disappointed in me if I wasn’t doing more for Him resulted in working too hard for too long. This led to utter exhaustion. 

Burn out can also come from self-reliance. Rather than trusting God to accomplish His will through me, I played the role of savior in my life. No wonder I was tired!

If you can relate, take note of what you believe. Are there one or more beliefs that have led to your tired state? 

Next, know that it’s okay to slow down or take a break. When I was burned out, I felt guilty for wanting to take a break from doing. I felt as if I had to perform for God.  

But something amazing happened when I allowed myself to take a break from doing: the Lord reminded me that His love for me wasn’t dependent on my performance. He reminded me that He is more interested in my relationship with Him than what I can do for Him—and it felt so good. 

During my recovery time, I traveled to my hometown where I stayed with my mom. While there, I didn’t work. I didn’t plan my next book or any work projects. I didn’t think about anything that I had to do. Day after day, I just sat with Mom at her kitchen table, laughed, chatted and let it be okay that I was tired and needed a break. 

At the end of my visit, I left refreshed. I gave myself permission to take a break and found out that my world wouldn’t fall apart if I took care of me. Instead, I rediscovered the goodness of God’s love and the simple tenderness of Jesus toward me. 

Lastly, remember that the ultimate solution for burnout and fatigue is to find refreshment in Christ. This begins by knowing who you are and resting in your true identity. You are loved. You are precious to God and He cares about everything concerning you. Your value comes from Him, not from what you do. 

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29).


Lord, help my service for you always to be motivated by the truth that you love me. Restore my weary heart, spirit, and body. Amen.


Do you need to take a break from doing too much? What next step will you take to seek recovery?

Related Reading

Luke 24:36; Colossians 1:11; Psalm 61:2

Worship Resource

David and Lauren Mwonga: Come and Rest


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