What is Spiritual Fatigue? And How to Overcome it

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Are you feeling discouraged, disconnected, or disillusioned with your faith? If so, you may be experiencing spiritual fatigue.

Spiritual fatigue is feeling tired or exhausted in your Christian journey.

Spiritual fatigue is also referred to as spiritual weariness or a lack of strength to push forward; in other words, when we feel spiritually drained, defeated, and at times sick of trying.

Everyone experiences spiritual weariness. It is part of the process of growing in deep relationship with Jesus.

I have experienced spiritual fatigue and weariness many times and have learned from these low points that God always walks beside me. When spiritually drained, if I press into Jesus, I come through stronger, closer to God, and more mature in my faith.

Spiritual fatigue is inevitable because of the seasons and trials of life. But we don’t have to stay there.

For Christ-followers there is hope for what troubles our mind, body, or soul. Jesus doesn’t promise to take despair away, but He does promise to carry us until we see glimpses of His love and hope once again.

Spiritual fatigue reminds me of the times I have tried to become an athlete. Yes, I have attempted to become a runner, swimmer, volleyball player and tennis player. But I have never had success. I am a really good walker, but I am not an athlete.

When I try to participate in sports, it seems I have weights on each leg that won’t let me move quickly. It also seems as if the ground becomes harder and I feel awkward. Can you relate? Probably not if you are an athlete!

When I try to force my body to accomplish things it can’t, I feel defeated and drained. The same sense of exasperation hits me when I focus on what I can’t do in my faith instead of what Jesus wants me to do.

When I don’t trust God to guide me, it can lead to spiritual weariness.

Although I haven’t had success as an athlete, I have learned how to overcome spiritual fatigue by turning to God and recognizing when my spirit is drained and needs a recharge.

“I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!” Habakkuk 3:18-19 MSG

cross-spiritual fatigue

What is Spiritual Weariness?

There are many examples of what is spiritual weariness in the Bible. When we study the words of God it helps us realize that even the great heroes of the Bible struggled and experienced spiritual fatigue and weariness.

Mary Magdalene Understood What is Spiritual Weariness

Can you imagine Mary’s despair after witnessing the crucifixion and death of her close friend Jesus? But Jesus’ presence comforts her weary heart just as He is available to comfort us.

When we experience loss and other sorrowful events, we can feel spiritually drained.

“Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him.  “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” “Mary!” Jesus said.

John 20:11-16 NLT

Moses Understood What is Spiritual Weariness

As Moses and the Jewish people fled from Egypt, they grew physically and spiritually weary. The felt they had made a mistake and had unmet expectations which left them spiritually drained questioning God.

When we make a mistake it can leave us spiritually and emotionally drained. But God redeems our mistakes.

 “Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? They keep whining to me, saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy!  If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”

Numbers 11:13-15 NLT

Job Understood What is Spiritual Weariness

Job lost everything, and spiritual weariness followed. In his time of disappointment and sorrow, he calls out to God honestly and authentically.

During periods of confusion and feeling distant from God, He hears our cries and surrounds us with His grace and peace.

“Is not all human life a struggle? Our lives are like that of a hired hand, like a worker who longs for the shade, like a servant waiting to be paid. I, too, have been assigned months of futility, long and weary nights of misery. Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning? ‘But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn. My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle. They end without hope God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness.”

Job 7:1-7 NLT

Paul Understood What is Spiritual Weariness

After being commissioned by God and changing the direction of his life, Paul experienced trials and defeats within the new church. He worked tirelessly preaching the good news only to face danger, conflict, and lack of enthusiasm.

But through his spiritual weariness, he stayed on purpose and was used mightily to spread Christ’s message of redemption.

When we lose sight of our purpose or experience disappointment in relationships, God can bring spiritual healing.

I have traveled many weary miles and have been often in great danger from flooded rivers and from robbers and from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the hands of the Gentiles. I have faced grave dangers from mobs in the cities and from death in the deserts and in the stormy seas and from men who claim to be brothers in Christ but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food; often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.” 2 Corinthians 11:26-27 TLB

We can learn from each of these Biblical characters that it is OK to call out to God from a place of physical and spiritual weariness.

When we understand what is spiritual weariness we avoid trying to fix our spirits alone or ignoring the problem. We learn isolation is dangerous and can cause us to replace God’s peace with a mixed bag of negative emotions about ourselves and others.

If you are feeling spiritually drained remember it can draw you closer to Him: God sees you. God understands. God will walk beside you.

lady crying-spiritual fatigue

Why do I Feel Spiritually Drained?

When we wonder why do I feel spiritually drained, it can cause us to question our faith and become discouraged. But it helps us persevere when we realize feelings come and go and do not dictate our identity in Christ, our purpose, or who we are unless we let them.

When we feel spiritually drained it seems we are carrying a heavy suitcase filled with disappointment, mistakes, unforgiveness, confusion, or fear.

There are many things in life that can lead to spiritual fatigue. When we identify what causes us to feel spiritually drained, we can address the issue before we start to feel hopeless and distant from God.

Here are five causes that seem to visit often:

  • Conflict
  • Loss
  • Illness
  • Lack of control
  • Unmet Expectations

It helps to recognize triggers to spiritual fatigue and try to manage and eliminate them as much as possible. It requires us to examine our relationships, habits, and spiritual disciplines.

Although we experience many unpleasant situations in life, they don’t have to hold us captive and diminish our trust in God, his faithfulness or His ability to guide us toward spiritual healing and fulfilling His plan for our lives.

“When there is no longer any opportunity for doubt, there is no opportunity for faith either.”

Philip Yancey

lady with arms out-spiritual fatigue

How to Overcome Spiritual Fatigue

To learn how to overcome spiritual fatigue we need to begin by admitting we are struggling, and that spiritual fatigue is a real problem that won’t evaporate on its own.

  1. Pray

Does your prayer life need some refining? Are you struggling to communicate with God? Are you praying specifically for what is troubling you? Prayer is simply talking to God and enjoying a growing relationship with Him. We can call out to Him and express that we are feeling spiritually drained. We can ask for guidance and the comfort of His peace and love.

  1. Read the Bible and Other Christian Inspiration

There are many approaches and systems to read the Bible. There are no wrong ways to open up God’s word and hear from Him. But when we are learning how to overcome spiritual fatigue, it helps to be very intentional in finding scripture that speaks to us exactly where we are.

  1. Talk to a Spiritual Mentor or Trusted Friends

Sometimes it is easy to ramble to anyone who will listen about our feelings. It just feels good to get things out! But if we are experiencing spiritual fatigue it is best to work through our feelings with someone we trust who can mentor us and lead us back to Jesus. I have a friend who doesn’t realize how much she has mentored me. When I feel stuck, I have called her because she has walked before me in many situations. When we share with trusted friends we get encouraged by hearing their stories of how God met them when they had to overcome spiritual fatigue.

  1. Attend a Retreat

Many years ago, I attended an eight-hour silent retreat. I was hesitant because that is a long time for me to be unable to speak! I signed up because I sensed the beginning of spiritual weariness settling on my spirit. That daylong retreat was a lifesaver that helped me reconnect with God and get back on purpose.

  1. Celebrate Small Victories

When we feel spiritually drained, we may have to establish new patterns and activities. We may experience one moment or day of relief but get discouraged when our weariness returns. We can learn to praise God at the moment and have a restart each day until we reach a victory in our souls. Spiritual healing comes when we celebrate God’s grace and mercy…one step at a time.

“The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting Him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving Him when He seems distant.”

Rick Warren

lady on bench-spiritual fatigue

Bible Verses to Overcome Spiritual Fatigue

Bible verses speak to us and affect our spirit especially when we recite and memorize them. Here are six bible verses to overcome spiritual fatigue that nourish my soul and lead to the path of spiritual healing.

  1. “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
    Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 NLT
  2. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NLT
  3. “I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.” Jeremiah 31:25 MSG
  4. “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.”    2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT
  5. So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time, we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10 MSG
  6. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

Books for Spiritual Healing

Although it is normal to experience spiritual fatigue, it is not good to stay in a place of drought. God wants to lead you to spiritual healing.

Here are three books that may provide some insights on your path to spiritual healing.

Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey

“Life with God doesn’t always work out like you think it should. High expectations slam against the reality of personal weaknesses and unwelcome surprises. And the God who, you’ve been told, wants a personal relationship with you may seem remote, emotionally unavailable. Is God playing games? What can you count on this God for? How can you know God? This relationship with a God you can’t see, hear, or touch–how does it really work?”

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

“Living out the purpose you were created for moves you beyond survival or success to a life of significance–the life you were meant to live.

You will discover the five benefits of knowing your purpose:

  1. It will explain the meaning of your life.
  2. It will simplify your life.
  3. It will focus your life.
  4. It will increase your motivation.
  5. It will prepare you for eternity.”

Winning the War in Your Mind by Craig Groeschel

“Are your thoughts out of control–just like your life? Do you long to break free from the spiral of destructive thinking? Let God’s truth become your battle plan to win the war in your mind!

We’ve all tried to think our way out of bad habits and unhealthy thought patterns, only to find ourselves stuck with an out-of-control mind and off-track daily life. Pastor and New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel understands deeply this daily battle against self-doubt and negative thinking, and in this powerful new book he reveals the strategies he’s discovered to change your mind and your life for the long-term.”

Overcoming Spiritual Fatigue Leads to Spiritual Healing

Are you experiencing spiritual fatigue? If so, call out to God and tell Him; be honest with how you are feeling. Wait on Him and He will meet you right where you are and lead you out of despair and into the joy of His spirit.

Overcoming spiritual fatigue is possible and can lead to spiritual healing and a invigorated relationship with Jesus!

Before you go…Have you learned to overcome spiritual fatigue? Would love to hear in the comments what you have done to persevere and find spiritual healing!

 

Mary Rooney Armand

Mary Rooney Armand is a writer and speaker focusing on inspiring faith-based stories. She helps others grow in their intimacy with Christ and thrive in their personal relationships. Mary lives in New Orleans with her husband Cory and four children. Besides writing and speaking, she teaches Bible Studies and leads small groups. Mary has a Master of Business Administration and is a Life Coach. In 2019 she created ButterflyLiving and wrote a Bible Study titled, “Identity” which is available on Amazon. To learn more visit maryarmand.com or email [email protected]

22 thoughts on “What is Spiritual Fatigue? And How to Overcome it”

    1. Mary Rooney Armand

      Thanks for reading and so glad you found spiritual healing through a retreat! I love retreats too.

  1. Love the advice, Mary! I think I am struggling with this. I just feel like there are so many people around me suffering that I get discouraged. But, I think because I am praying about, God is sending me help…. my devotion this morning was related to this and now your article too. I can already feel my attitude shifting to the positives!

  2. This was SO timely! I had lately been feeling a tad un-motivated, not getting back into worship leading ever since we moved from TX to FL two years ago. I don’t think I had pegged this as spiritual fatigue, but maybe it’s worth pursuing why I’ve been feeling like this. Thanks for writing and sharing.

    1. Mary Rooney Armand

      Coppelia, may God guide you to find spiritual peace! Thanks for reading and I pray it is helpful!

  3. Silence is a good idea every day. Jesus called the disciples to rest in lonely or quiet places, the secret place of the Most High. Learning His rest, the Sabbath rest of Hebrews for is key.

  4. Thank you for such a deeply sensitive response to a real problem for many of us. I appreciate the resources you provided by way of books, verses, tips, and advice to overcome or prevent spiritual fatigue.

  5. oh i love this so much! thank you for sharing this. I can so relate especially lately. I attended a retreat (online) this weekend that helped refresh me. All your suggestions are great for refreshing our hearts in Him.

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  9. Hey Mary,

    Thank you for this. I’m not done reading yet, but this has been insightful and comforting so far. May God continue to use you to be a blessing. In Jesus name. Amen.

    Love from 🇳🇬

    1. Mary Rooney Armand

      Hadassah,
      I am always thankful when God uses my words to touch others. Thank you for reading and I pray you are continually blessed!

  10. Hi there

    This was so insightful, I definitely have my days of spiritual fatigue. Today was one of them so i was looking for encouragement and scripture. I found that here. My trigger is unmet expectations & just feeling stuck. In all things I believe that God is good. Thanks for the advice & God bless.

    1. Mary Rooney Armand

      Nancy,
      thanks for stopping by and I pray God will continue to bless you and surround you with His encouragement. Unmet expectations can get to most of us but lead to a more intimate relationship with Jesus…He never lets us down! Many blessings!

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