How to Find Strength to Obey God When You Feel Burnt Out
Have you ever felt God calling you to do something you didn’t feel equipped for? It’s hard to obey God when we feel burnt out, weary and exhausted. I’m not just talking about the big things, but sometimes it’s harder to find the strength to obey in the smaller things.
Loving a neighbor or coworker who doesn’t treat you well
Serving your spouse when it feels one-sided
Giving your time or money when things feel tight
The thing is, most of the time God isn’t calling us to cross the ocean or sell all of our possessions in order to obey Him. The biggest and most important place we are called to obey God is right where we are.
We are called to live out His love, serving, discipling and giving ourselves for His glory every day.
This is especially hard for me because when I feel weary, my first instinct is to put up walls and establish boundaries.
I spent years with far too few boundaries, allowing others and my circumstances to pummel me over - wave after wave. So when I learned how to establish boundaries, I built a wall around my heart and my time in an effort to protect myself. And while this allowed me to heal at the time, it took me far too long to finally lower these walls and learn to obey God despite hardship and my fears.
Lowering the walls we’ve learned to instinctually build when things get tough is essential to truly obeying God.
And friends, let me just say that this is an everyday battle for me.
Because we all need some boundaries. But we also need to let down the walls in order to let God’s love into our hearts and overflow through us to others.
So let’s take a look at how you can find the strength to obey God’s call - even when you’re feeling weary.
Understand What God is Calling You To
These are just some of the many callings we have been instructed to live out in our life, right where we are:
- Love your neighbor (Mark 12:31)
- Pray for your enemies and those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44)
- Go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20)
- Commit your path to the Lord (Proverbs 16:3)
- Be a part of a church (Hebrews 10:24-25)
- Not conform to the world - be different (Romans 12:2)
- Don't just read Scripture, but do what it says (James 1:22)
- Correct, rebuke & encourage one another (2 Timothy 4:2)
- Give money to the poor (2 Corinthians 9:7)
- Pray continually & be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope you have (1 Peter 3:15)
I’m not saying that you aren’t supposed to take a leap of faith and follow God in big ways.
But ask God to show you where He wants you. And in the meantime, live out the calling that is already given to you all throughout Scripture.
Take a Long, Hard Look at Your Boundaries and Ask God to Reveal Healthy Ones
It’s easy to let our emotions determine our boundaries and reactions. I’ve done this for years and for most of us, this is a process on autopilot.
But it’s important for you to take a step back and ask God to show you where your boundaries are not of His will for you and where they may need to be adjusted.
I’ve written out prayers and prayed them over and over and watched as God asked me to humbly and yet boldly tear down certain boundaries.
I’ve seen motives of fear, anger, hurt, pride become unveiled as the purpose behind certain boundaries in my life.
Here are some ways that you can take a look at your boundaries and discover healthy ones:
- Counseling or Therapy for healing
- Journaling - ask yourself questions like “what makes me close up or put up walls” and “what is keeping me from living out these callings (whether good or bad)”
Remember, some boundaries are essential. If something is drawing you away from the Lord, causing you to fall into temptation or triggering severe anxiety or something similar, it may require enforcing a boundary.
This is a process that I highly recommend a lot of prayer and counseling for, especially if you struggle with anxiety or mental illness.
There is tremendous blessing when we step out and obey God right where we are. Take time to humbly consider what boundaries may be holding you back and surrender them to the Lord.
Renew Your Mind & Heart
It is impossible to fully obey God when our minds and hearts are clouded by the world and by Satan's lies. And we can so easily become entangled in these very things.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2
You can renew your mind and heart by surrendering what is old and meditating on God's word. This is something we need to do daily. And as you do, you will notice the Holy Spirit transforming you.
When I've committed to doing this, God has revealed some amazing things to me. He has led me to places that required great faith but produced great blessing.
And in renewing my mind daily, I've found powerful peace. Because most of the time God's will isn't easy. He asks us to do courageous things and we need HIs all-consuming peace and strength to do them.
So I would encourage you to choose a few verses of Scripture and write them somewhere you can take with you. Meditate on these verses when your mind wanders. Allow God to transform your mind and heart and you will find tremendous strength to live out His will for you.
Take Small Steps in Obedience
Obeying God does not necessarily mean that you need to do something crazy. Sometimes it does, but most of the times, God asks us to obey Him in the small things.
If you are feeling weary, exhausted and burnt out, start by obeying God in small, baby steps. Look at the list above and choose one or two things that you can do today. Is that praying for someone who has hurt you? Is it giving a little bit more on Sunday?
When you start taking small steps in obedience, blessings will overflow and this blessing will fuel you to take bigger and bigger steps.
Obeying the Lord is an everyday thing. I want to greatly encourage you to spend a few minutes asking God each morning in what areas can you obey Him in that specific day.
Keep your eyes open, you will begin to see opportunities and see God’s amazing mercy and glory at work.
Wonderful post! I loved the suggestions you made.I liked that you point out obeying God as as an everyday thing. That is so important for us to understand!One of the biggest helps to me has been learning to live one day at a time with/for Him. I am one who needs to become better with setting appropriate boundaries. I am working on it but will admit it’s not that easy for a recovering people pleaser like me.
Thank you for sharing this. God bless you!
Great post, filled with much wisdom. I remind my kids every day that obedience is not a 1-time thing but a daily habit. Need to remind myself of that as well. 😉 Sharing this! 💖
As Elisabeth Elliot said, we really need to just keep “doing the next thing.” Small steps of obedience shape our hearts.
I have been struggling with obedience in one area for a few days and I needed this encouraging kick in the pants. Thank you. And I’m saving those scriptures to use in the coming days. Visiting you from the worth beyond rubies link up. laurensparks.net
I had never thought to pray for wisdom and discernment concerning my boundaries- what a wonderful idea!
Boundaries are so important! I’ve started putting some up because I needed them!
You hit the nail on the head with “baby steps.” Unless you’re the Apostle Paul it’s going to take longer than a few days to build to consistency, in my opinion.
What a tremendous word you’ve given here. I too have established boundaries to protect myself and I’m slowly trying to lower them. It’s so hard. I’m trusting in the Lord through the process. Thank you.
Boundaries and Baby Steps. 2 huge aspects of obeying God when you are weary, or any time for that matter. I struggle with appropriate boundaries more often than I’d like to admit.