What Should I Do When I’m Worn Out?

Nephi had served as chief judge for about nine years, and he was absolutely exhausted. This wasn’t physical fatigue. It was something harder. He “had become weary because of their iniquity” (Helaman 5:4). He had witnessed the deterioration of faith among his people with a consequent erosion of peace and prosperity. He saw them electing leaders of questionable character and supporting unjust laws. His efforts to lead the people were less and less effective, and he was simply worn out.

What did he do? He made a change. He retired from public office and dedicated his life to preaching the gospel.

Seven years later, after a successful mission among the Lamanites, He returned home and found that the spiritual decay had accelerated in his absence. He made an attempt to preach to the people, including showing them an indisputable miracle, but he was ignored and left alone. Returning to his house in discouragement, he heard the voice of the Lord speaking reassuring words:

Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people….
And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will (Helaman 10:4-5).

What did God mean by the word “unwearyingness?” I think He meant that Nephi had kept going even when he was exhausted. He never gave up on the Lord or on the gospel. He continued to serve and bless the people around him. Even though many of them were not willing to accept his service, God was pleased with him and blessed him for it.

The prophet Alma instructed his son Helaman (Nephi’s grandfather) to teach the people “to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls” (Alma 37:34). I guess that, in some sense, weariness is a choice. If we can get over our discouragement and keep moving forward, we may find new energy and experience success.

And the Lord has promised to be with us as we do His work. In the most recent General Conference, Sister Sharon Eubank quoted Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

It is not intended that we run faster than we have strength. … But [in spite of] that, I know … many of you run [very,] very fast and that [the] energy and emotional supply sometimes registers close to empty.

But then she offered the following words of hope:

When expectations overwhelm us, we can step back and ask Heavenly Father what to let go of. Part of our life experience is learning what not to do. But even so, sometimes life can be exhausting. Jesus assures us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Christ is willing to join with us in the yoke and pull in order to lighten our burdens. Christ is rest (“Christ: The Light That Shines in Darkness,” General Conference, April 2019).

Today, I will remember the example of Nephi. When I feel weary, I will find a way to keep doing the things that matter most. I will find ways to simplify, to stop doing things of lesser importance. But I will keep doing the things that bring me closer to the Savior and that help Him to accomplish His work. I will remember that He is willing to be with me and strengthen me as I do His work, and that He will make me equal to the task.

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