Do you ever feel drained? Overwhelmed by life, but with no energy to deal with any of it? Do you have days when even brushing your teeth before bed feels like a challenge?
You’re not alone. We all have these moments. Even God’s prophets had low points! Elijah, one of the prophets in the Old Testament, came to such a low point that he even asked God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4).
So how do we keep going when we’re running on empty? Check out these tips on how to refuel when you’re drained:
1. Stop: Acknowledge that You’re Burned Out
The first thing Elijah did was acknowledge he was burned out. In fact, he was so fed up with everything that he told God he wanted to die. “He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors’” (1 Kings 19:4).
We are human. There is only so much we can do. Feelings of tiredness and weariness are a part of our existence in this broken world. Ignoring this does not do us any good. Let’s take a tip from Elijah’s complete honesty, and acknowledge that sometimes, we just can’t do it all. Only when we recognize we have a problem, can we begin to deal with it.
2. Sleep: Get Enough Rest
After telling God how he felt, Elijah promptly “lay down under the bush and fell asleep” (1 Kings 19:5).
While we might be able to stay up late one or two nights to get things finished, at some point, we need to prioritize sleep for our minds and bodies.
When God created the universe, He set in motion a rhythm of work and rest (Genesis 1:5, 2:2). We are created to work, and we are created to rest. There is no guilt in getting the sleep that we need—the sleep that God created us to need. And let’s be honest, the work that we do when we’re well-rested is usually of a better quality than otherwise!
3. Eat: Nourish Your Body
In the middle of Elijah’s nap, “an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat’” (1 Kings 19:5).
Eating and drinking is no small matter. In fact, it is of such importance that God sent a heavenly messenger to remind Elijah and even prepared bread and water for him (1 Kings 19:6)!
God created us as physical beings, and that is a good and beautiful thing (Genesis 1:31). As physical beings, we need physical nourishment. So maybe now is a good time to treat ourselves to a nice big breakfast, a lovely afternoon tea, or a pleasant picnic. Getting the nourishment we need can go a long way in re-energizing us.
4. Seek: Draw Strength from God
After his meal, Elijah took another nap and ate another meal. And then, he “traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God” (1 Kings 19:8).
In addition to seeing to our physical needs, we must also check our spiritual needs. After all, who can give us direction when we are lost (Matthew 7:7)? Make us strong when we are weak (Isaiah 40:29)? Give us grace that is sufficient in any circumstance (2 Corinthians 12:9)?
When we are tired, worn out, and drained, let us carve out a quiet place and come before God. Let us tell Him our troubles, knowing that He listens and cares. Let us ask Him for strength, because though it might be too much for us to handle, it is never too much for God.
5. Walk: Find Companions for Your Journey
One reason Elijah felt so discouraged was because he felt like he was the only one still following God (1 Kings 19:14). But God comforted him, and revealed that there were still 7,000 in Israel who had not bowed to false gods.
Like Elijah, we are not alone. God has placed us among brothers and sisters. We can reach out and ask others to partner with us to do the things we feel too tired to. At the very least, we can tell our brothers and sisters in Christ, “I’m tired. Can you walk with me for a bit?”
As we reach out to friends and talk things through, we realize that we’re not in this alone. Others have had similar experiences, and they’re willing to walk with us. They get it.
When we feel drained, it can be hard to set aside time for proper sleep, good meals, and meeting with God and with friends. But how encouraging it is to read from the story of Elijah that even the prophets need to meet these basic, fundamental needs of life! Let us take that first step, and set aside time to recharge. May these refresh and refuel us for tomorrow.