“He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2 NIV).
When Elijah faced that experience, God led him to do three things that helped him recover—and they’re things that can help you recover, too, when you’re at the end of your rope.
- Rest your body. In the world’s most famous psalm, the Bible says of God, “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2 NIV). Sometimes God must make you lie down because you’re unwilling to do it on your own. You can’t be spiritually and emotionally strong while you’re physically depleted.That’s what happened to Elijah. God did not scold Elijah. God didn’t say, “Come on, man. You’re just having a pity party.” He simply let Elijah sleep. The Bible says about Elijah in 1 Kings 19:5, “Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep” (NIV).
Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do when you’re emotionally exhausted is to take a nap.
- Release your frustrations. Revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing. In 1 Kings 19:10, Elijah says this to God: “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (NIV).
Elijah didn’t hold anything back. He didn’t filter his feelings. He told God his frustrations.
Here’s the point you can’t miss about this verse. God isn’t shocked when you complain to him. He’ll listen to you until you run out of words. Let them all out. God can handle anything you throw at him.
- Remember and refocus on God. When you’re emotionally exhausted and nearing burnout, you need to remember what God says and who he is. When we do that, we shift our eyes away from our problem and toward Jesus. We get a fresh awareness of God’s power and God’s presence and God’s personality. We need to see that far more than we need to see our problems.In 1 Kings 19:11-13, God demonstrated his power firsthand to Elijah. The Lord showed him who was in control. When you’re struggling through burnout, it’s often because you’re trying to play God and control everything. When you refocus on God, you realize he is in control. You can stop exerting your own control.
If you’re feeling burned out and emotionally exhausted, God hasn’t forgotten you. Just like God did with Elijah, God stands ready and willing to help.