Chronic fatigue: Is the cure spiritual or physical?

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Simple tips that will help you discern between spiritual and physical tiredness.

Let’s face it…our bodies get tired sometimes. Especially if we’ve been pushing ourselves to accomplish some big goal. But have you ever experienced on-going fatigue that you just couldn’t seem to shake? Have you been wondering if what you were experiencing had more to do with your spiritual self than your physical body? If so, you’re not alone. 

I have definitely been in that place. Feeling chronic fatigue. Yet for the most part, the doctors couldn’t find any concrete answers why. I kept having this gnawing perception that the spiritual part of me was affecting the physical. I was baffled. Why did it seem that the closer I walked with God, the less fatigue I felt? Why did the fatigue seem to get better after spending time in worship? The roller coaster I was on left me feeling confused. Maybe you find yourself feeling exhausted and wondering if there’s a spiritual component to it. If so, here’s a few questions to ask yourself:

Does the fatigue get better after spending time in worship? If the fatigue is spiritual, it will go away as you worship, even if you exert much energy. One thing that confused me about this one for a long time was that spiritual fatigue sometimes “lifted” quickly when I spent time worshiping God. Other times it took an hour or so. Sometimes it would come back several times within a day. Each time I went into worship, it would leave. Other days I didn’t experience any fatigue at all. Sometime the fatigue would leave for extended periods of time.

On the other hand, if what you are experiencing is purely physical, exerting more energy in worship will not make the exhaustion go away. One of the hardest times to discern spiritual fatigue from physical tiredness was when both are happening at the same time. When this happens,  resting physically as we soak in the words of worship songs can be very effective .  The key to overcoming spiritual weariness is to get the right kind of rest. Watching movies or going to bed might appear to fix the fatigue, but tends to be short lived.

Another question to ask yourself when discerning physical fatigue from spiritual fatigue is:  does physical rest make the fatigue go away? Not just temporarily, but big picture. Does rest bring your body back to a place of on-going vitality? Or does the fatigue continue to come back no matter how much rest you get?

The third question to ask yourself when discerning physical fatigue from spiritual fatigue is: do you experience fatigue at times when it doesn’t make sense that you would be so exhausted? If so, is there a pattern to the onset of the fatigue? Like every time you go to a mall, you feel fatigued. (Not because you’ve shopped til you dropped) Another pattern might be every time you’re around a certain person or situation? Does it hit every time your spouse walks in the door at the end of the day? Or every time you spend time with a certain friend? Or every time you go to a certain town? Or perhaps a certain day of the week? If so, what happens consistently on that day?

Another question to ask yourself when discerning physical fatigue from spiritual fatigue is: are the doctors baffled as to the reason for the fatigue you are experiencing? If so, consider the possibility that it may be spiritual.

Another indicator that the fatigue may be spiritual is if it began at the same time as an  emotional or spiritual crisis. If so, consider looking for spiritual and solutions. Spiritual problems need spiritual answers. It is also true, however, that we are made up of body, soul and spirit. The ills of one sometimes overflow into the other parts of our being. For example, when I was very ill with chronic fatigue, my iron levels were low. Once I began to address fatigue as a spiritual issue, my iron levels corrected themselves and I was able to discontinue taking iron supplements.

The temptation to flee can also be a symptom of spiritual fatigue. This can also lead to isolation when we aren’t aware the reason.

Finding it difficult to stay awake during sermons, reading the Bible or listening to Christian music can sometimes be an indicator that the fatigue is spiritual. I am very much a morning person, so I thought it really unusual when I had a hard time keeping my eyes open during a recent sermon. I chalked it up to not having had coffee that morning. Then I found out that others on the prayer team experienced the same thing that morning. Physical sleepiness can, at times, be caused by spiritual fatigue.

So what do we do if we have come to believe that we are experiencing spiritual fatigue? The important thing is to identify its’ source. On-going spiritual fatigue is caused by the spirit of slumber. Some versions of the Bible call it the spirit of stupor. (Romans 11:8) The spirit of slumber is a demonic spirit. If you have the spiritual gift of discernment, you may feel fatigued when you recognize the presence of this evil spirit. You may or may not have yielded in any way to this spirit when you feel fatigued. Discernment is like a word of knowledge. With this gift we are capable of feeling (through our emotions or our physical bodies) the character traits of those in proximity to ourselves carry. One of the markers of the spirit of slumber is fatigue. So when it is operating in our midst, we feel fatigue.

One of the most effective ways to combat the spirit of slumber is through worship. It may feel awkward at first to turn on worship music in your home. Enter into worship.  That’s ok. If you will just try it, it will begin to feel more natural. If you find it difficult to stay awake while worshiping, stand. Or walk around your home while you worship. Walking while we worship can help us to focus. It seems to somehow subdue the flesh side of us that gets distracted.  If you are physically AND spiritually fatigued, just sit and soak in the word or worship music.

Another effective way to combat the spirit of slumber is to pray about the repetitive situations where you discern slumber. If going to the mall is a place you regularly have problems, pray for covering before you go. There have been times when I discerned slumber even before I walked in the doors of a store. When this happens, I will sit and agree with the words of worship music in my car until it lifts.

If you regularly discern slumber around a particular individual, pray for them. If he/she is yielding to slumber in their own life, this may be why you discern it around them. Ask God to give them the courage to face whatever may be making them feel overwhelmed. Also consider the possibility that being around that person may feel overwhelming to you for some reason. Ask the Lord to help you identify any reason(s) that you may be finding the situation difficult.

I have also found that I regularly discern slumber operating in certain towns. Again, ask for covering and protection. Be intentional about not bringing your agreement to slumber. Ask the Lord for His strength. Thank Him for being your strength. Declare Him to be the strong God that He is and thank Him that you are made in His image.

If the fatigue began at the same time as an emotional or spiritual crisis, ask the Lord to bring healing to that event. Forgive anyone involved. Ask yourself, “what did I put my hope in for comfort or protection during the crises?” If it was anything other than God, consider the possibility that repentance is called for.

Another effective way to overcome the spirit of slumber is to resist the temptation to flee. The spirit of slumber is a demonic spirit, and we have been given authority to trample on snakes and scorpions. Hold your ground. Resist the enemy and pray into what you are discerning. If you are in a social situation, take a minute to pray silently or slip into a restroom to pray.

Another way to resist the spirit of slumber is by quoting scripture out loud. The word of God is our sword, and it is a powerful weapon against the enemy’s schemes. One of my favorites when resisting the spirit of slumber is Isaiah 40:29-31: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” You’ll be amazed how powerful the spoken word is when resisting the enemy.

May you know how strong you are in Christ, Arlene

Scriptures:

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Isaiah 31:25

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. 6 I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. 11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 14 I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.’” Ezekiel 37:1-14

“What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; 8 just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.” 9 And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, and a stumbling block and a retribution to them. 10 “Let their eyes be darkened to see not, and bend their backs forever.” Romans 11:7-10

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power {means miraculous power, might, strength}and love and self-control.”  2 Timothy 1:7

“So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.  1 Thessalonians 5:6-8

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”Deut. 31:6

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13

“Let the weakling say, “I am strong!” Joel 3:10b

“On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD going before them.” Zechariah 12:8

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. … The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace. …” Psalm 29:11

For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked, but I will increase the power of the godly.” Psalm 75:10

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7

“You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.” Psalm 68:35a

“The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.” Psalm 28:8

“You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong.” Psalm 89:17

“So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!” Ps 31:24

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” 1 Co. 16:13

“This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Josh. 1:9

“See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” Isa 12:2

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Eph. 6:10

“The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.” Ps 28:7a

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9

“If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.” Prov. 24:10

“Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself.” Phil. 1:28

“You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.” Ps 8:2

“The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19a

“Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.” Isaiah 51:17

“If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:11b

“For the Lord has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, He has shut your eyes, the prophets; and He has covered your heads, the seers. 11 The entire vision will be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, “Please read this,” he will say, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” Isaiah 29:10-11

“He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall *wear out  {means weary, oppress, harass.} the saints of the Most High,” Daniel 7:25a

“All you beasts of the field, all you beasts in the forest, come to eat. His watchmen are blind, all of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark, dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; 11And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, each one to his unjust gain, to the last one. 12“Come,” they say, “let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; and tomorrow will be like today, only more so.” Isaiah 56:9-12

 

 

 

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