It happens to the best of us. We’re usually brimming with energy, but one day we realize it’s just not there. Instead of feeling like we could go on forever, we’re overwhelmed with exhaustion. The thought of making it through another day, tending to all our responsibilities, looms over our heads like a sword hanging from a frayed rope. Fatigue is forcing us to slow down and realize that we can’t do it all.

Fatigue can strike you or anyone in your family, regardless of their age. It’s just as likely to hit the kids and teens as the adults. In the modern world, we’re all burdened with responsibilities, whether it be at school, work, church or home. When we’re always on the go, our energy eventually gets drained and fatigue sets in.

Is it always a bad thing when fatigue affects your family? While no one likes feeling run down and exhausted, we should remember that fatigue serves an important purpose. God created every feeling for a reason.

We don’t like unpleasant or negative feelings, but He made them to send us a message. In the case of fatigue, it’s like a big yellow caution flag waving at a NASCAR track. It means, “Slow down! Be careful or you’ll run into trouble.”

If you don’t listen to this God-given warning and take a break, you open yourself up to weakness, physical illness, mental exhaustion and issues like depression. This can even happen to children; the National Alliance on Mental Illness warns that two percent of school-aged kids and eight percent of adolescents struggle with depression. Young people who feel fatigued and never get any relief can start to feel helpless and hopeless.

The same holds true for adults. When you’re tired and not able to function at your peak, you need to listen to your body and take a break. Otherwise, the symptoms will only get worse until you’re forced to rest due to illness.

God made this early warning system for a reason. We often forget that our bodies are not our own, to abuse as we see fit. They’re a gift from God and a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit, as we’re reminded in 1 Corinthians:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. —1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV

It’s disrespectful to get a precious gift and treat it as though it has no value, and life is the most precious gift of all. Our bodies are irreplaceable. We might be able to add artificial parts, and even transplant certain organs, but if we’re not careful, we come to a point where our spirit’s physical home gets damaged beyond repair.

Fortunately, if we pay attention to fatigue, we can slow down before there’s any permanent damage. If anyone in your family is getting run down, step back and pinpoint the reasons. Is that person trying to do too much at the expense of his or her own well-being? Is it time to sort out priorities and to add in some dedicated rest and relaxation?

You can also fight fatigue as a family by scheduling group downtime. Set aside chunks of time for things like a family movie night or a long Sunday dinner or day trips to restful places like the beach. Dedicate an hour every evening, or at least several times a week, to “quiet time” in your household.

The Lord will assist in our fatigue-fighting efforts if we invite Him to do so. When you’re at wit’s end and don’t know where to turn, go to Him in prayer. Ask Him to point you in the right direction to bring some serenity back to your life and your family. He made an important promise in the Book of Matthew:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. —Matthew 11:28-30 KJV

We know we can trust Him to keep that promise and lighten the load when the fatigue is too much to bear.

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