December 2010 Fit4Ever

Emotional Exhaustion

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, because He cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7

I can’t remember the last time I had a definite end time to my daily responsibilities. You know, like when the whistle blows and you grab your lunch box, clock out, go home, eat dinner and just hang out? More often than not, things that I need to get done stretch far beyond a normal 24-hour day.

I’m amazed at how little time I, by choice, carve out to unplug. Millions of us struggle with this problem, and unfortunately our pace of life with virtually no margin always leads to health problems and relational conflicts.

Recently, the Lord convicted me through 1 Peter 5, and I realized that my all-out pace was rooted in pride. By “doing” nonstop, I was basically saying that I had to fill every minute with activity because I was, at my core, self-dependent instead of God-surrendered.

In life, when we try to “control” instead of “cast,” we display a lack of trust in God and demonstrate that we don’t believe He can handle our tasks or situations. As we try to take control from Him, we become weighed down with anxiety and worry, growing shorttempered and frustrated as our calendars fill up and overwhelm us.

I think we’d all admit to taking a certain degree of pride in our busyness. We love getting kudos because of our “work ethic” and long hours. In Scripture, though, while God promotes discipline and diligence, we find that our refusal to rest crosses a line of protection He created for us. He knew we’d need rest and even set the example by resting on the seventh day of creation.


God’s Word has plenty to say on the topic of emotional exhaustion. Dive in and learn more by checking out the following verses:

Psalm 4:8
Psalm 19:7-8
Psalm 126:1-3
Psalm 127:2
Proverbs 14:30
John 14:27
John 16:33
2 Corinthians 7:1
Hebrews 13:20

Ask yourself if you are employing the following strategies for emotional wellness:

1. Seek & Surrender
2. Sweat
3. Sleep
4. Simplify
5. Solitude & Silence
6. Smile
7. Sweep
8. Slow Down
9. Shut Off
10. Sabbath

In today’s world, if we want to create margin, we have to be intentional and make tough choices. Many times, though, we become so addicted to productivity that we feel guilty if we take a break. But that’s when we need to look to the example of Christ.

To me, Jesus never really seemed to care what others thought when He took a break or got away. He regularly sought solitude and silence even when there were thousands of people all around who needed Him. If anyone could have justified long, mission-focused hours, it would have been Him. But Jesus chose to do only what God had asked Him to do for that day—nothing more and nothing less. He was the perfect model of emotional engagement and recovery.

This month, examine your schedule and ask yourself if you are making decisions with your time that are leading to an empty emotional tank. If so, consider the following strategies that can help you reduce exhaustion and restore emotional wellness.

1. SEEK & SURRENDER – Start by seeking God every morning and giving Him control. Then, choose to do only the things He asks you to do that day.

2. SWEAT – Cardiovascular exercise is proven to reduce stress by delivering more oxygen to the brain and removing stress hormones. It also helps us blow off steam!

3. SLEEP – Millions of us are sleep-deprived, and when we’re tired our emotions become frayed. Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep per night.

4. SIMPLIFY – List your top 12 priorities and then cut them in half. After that, narrow your focus to three key things. Instead of creating an endless to-do list, create a “stop doing” list. Some commitments have to go if we’re going to be effective!

5. SOLITUDE & SILENCE – These disciplines, which involve being alone without noise or distraction, allow us to quiet our minds, emotions and spirits. Get alone for an early morning walk or time of prayer.

6. SMILE – Smiling and laughing are just plain good for the soul. When was the last time you laughed really hard?

7. SWEEP – Clean your environment and get rid of clutter. Piles of “stuff” zap your energy and drain you emotionally and mentally.

8. SLOW DOWN – Plan in breaks during the day and set definite “out-of-the-office” boundaries.

9. SHUT OFF – Limit yourself to two 30-minute blocks of e-mail time per day instead of being tethered to its constant drip, and decide on a definite time to unplug from all technology or work. That gives your mind a break and prepares you for a good night’s sleep.

10. SABBATH – God gives us the gift of a day of rest. Resist the lure of culture to pack the day with activities, and, instead, use it to engage God and be refreshed. The Sabbath is both a day and a demeanor, and, to truly benefit from it, we must slow down. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: For nearly 20 years, Jimmy Page has been involved in various leadership roles in the medical fitness industry. As the former national director of FCA’s Health and Fitness Ministry, Page now serves as one of FCA’s 11 vice presidents of field ministry and is the co-author of the book WisdomWalks. He and his wife, Ivelisse, reside in Reistertown, Md., with their four children.

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Medical Disclaimer: All information in this article is of a general nature and is furnished for your knowledge and understanding only. For serious health symptoms, always consult a physician or health professional.