Life is one big rollercoaster with many highs and lows. You must learn to endure each season. At times, it seems as if you’re climbing up the rough side of the mountain or coasting down a steep hill. No matter the situation, we are tasked with remaining faithful and humble regardless of what we face.
I sat down with a couple who survived adultery. Everything seemed to be back to normal. Weeks passed since our last conversation. Before going to bed one evening, my phone vibrated. I checked the message, and it was from the husband. It read: “I’m done! I’m through! I can’t do this anymore!” My calls to him were left unanswered; my messages, left without response. Months later, I found out that he divorced his wife and abandoned his family.
I was able to walk them through their storm of adultery, but I failed to understand what happens after the rain has ceased and clouds have left. Consider being stuck in the middle of a raging storm. Your only focus is getting back to the safety of the shore. You exhaust all your physical and emotional energy trying to stay alive. You steady the rudder, fix the sails, and toss the water that’s formed at the bottom of the boat. You’re physically exhausted, but you cannot stop. Because stopping could mean death. Instead, you have to keep getting back up and continue being strong for everyone else. In addition, you have to do everything you can so you won’t go crazy. After what seems like forever, the winds are shut up in their chamber, the waves are calmed, and the rain ceases from falling from the dark clouds. Daylight has come, and safety is in sight. After all you have endured, everything and everyone you lost in the process, and all the energy you exerted in the process, you finally made it to the shore. You should be safe, right? Unfortunately, you’re tired and emotionally fatigued.
When you’re emotionally fatigued, you’re low on energy, lack motivation, have troubles concentrating, and you just feel strange in your surroundings. Many refer to this as burnout. Simply put, you’re exhausted! You’ve put up a hard fight, but you failed to rest after the victory was won. You endured through the raging storm only to make it to shore and jump right back into another battle. You have not given yourself an opportunity to be tired. Most times, life does not give us an opportunity to rest. We jump from one battle to another.
The couple managed to make it out of a high stress situation, but they did not take the proper time to rest. They went from one battle of infidelity to parenting their kids to fighting to keep their jobs to paying the bills to paying off debt and so on. Without proper rest, the husband burned out and the wife stop fighting. They were at the point where their emotions could not be trusted! And, we shouldn't make decisions when our emotions are exhausted.
Many things happen when you are emotionally fatigued. They include:
- No rational thinking. Simply put, you cannot trust yourself when you’re tired. My mother always taught me never to make any decisions when I’m hungry, sleepy, or angry. This is because you do not think rationally. If you pass the point of no return and hit a stressful peak in your emotions, you’re sure to crash eventually.
- Depress into a state of hopelessness. This does not mean you are really hopeless. Usually, it means that you think you are hopeless. I preached a sermon entitled—Don’t Drown—and I was encouraging those under the sound of my voice to stand up in the shallow water. Isn’t it something that we think we'll drown in the water that we can easily stand up in? This is because all you can remember is the hell you endured through the night. Because you’re tired, you do not realize that you’re no longer in danger. You’re safe, but burnout has convinced you that all is lost. The husband in my example was in a safe place, but because he failed to take necessary rest, he made an emotional decision out of a depressed state of hopelessness.
- Become paranoid. You will start thinking those who are in your corner are actually out to get you. You will mistaken your enemies for your friends and your friends for your enemies. Your level of discernment is off, and you invite in the devils while pushing out the angels. You’re paranoid, and it’s because you’re tired.
- Grow physically tired. Your body begins to wear down. You lose your appetite, develop certain chest pains, and become more vulnerable to colds, infections, and other immune-related illnesses. This is because your body and mind are interconnected. If your mind is diseased, then your body will follow suit. Believe it or not, but your physical symptoms could be healed if you took the time to rest and recuperate. Maybe there is some truth to my parents also telling me to go take a nap when I wasn’t felling well. It actually worked for me when I was younger.
- Develop a serious anger issue. I know this personally. During a very traumatic time in my life, I developed a serious anger issue. I was mad, but I couldn’t identify the point of my frustration. My issue grew from occasional irritability and frustrations to serious arguments and angry outbursts. I went from name-calling to punching the wall. That was not me. I’m not a violent person, but anyone who is emotionally drained and cannot think rationally will fight when s/he feels backed into a corner instead of responding in love and faith.
- Become pessimistic. I've also experienced this one as well. There was a point in my life where I viewed everything as if my glass was half-empty. In fact, I got to the point where I my glass was completely empty. I looked down on myself and developed trust issues with others. I was growing emotionally detached from the world around me. I was becoming a hermit internally without any hope of ever being free.
There are many other things that can happen when you’re emotionally fatigued. The goal, as it is in everything, is to come out of whatever you are in. The initial place of freedom is through Jesus Christ, but you must admit that there is a problem. If any of the words you’ve read have ministered to you, then it’s highly likely that you are emotionally exhausted.
I fully support Christian advisement, and I highly recommend you seeking the help you desperately need. If you’re like me, then you rolled your eyes at that statement. But, trust me that it is important for you to talk to someone—even if it’s a trusted friend. Talk until there’s a solution.
I also recommend planning some necessary rest and relaxation. Take time to care for yourself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. If not, you will burnout. Ultimately, you must know when your emotions cannot be trusted.