Not too long ago my family and I moved into a new-to-us house. As you probably know from personal experience, this is an exhausting undertaking. By the end of the first week I felt like I had run a marathon . . . every day.
Can you relate? It wasn’t easy for me to keep a positive, patient attitude throughout the move, despite the fact that I had made a conscious effort to do so.
When life gets busy — so busy that we honestly don’t know how we’re going to accomplish all the things we’re supposed to — having the right attitude can be a serious challenge. That’s when we say hurtful things to our family members. That’s when we struggle with negativity about everything from fixing dinner to attending worship services.
Put simply: stress and exhaustion are two of Satan’s favorite tools to weaken our flesh and pull us away from God. Therefore, during times of high pressure and little rest we must be “all the more diligent” to add to our self-control perseverance (2 Pet. 1:10, 6).
Here are three simple, Bible-based tips to help you have the right attitude when you’re stressed and exhausted:
1. Be honest with yourself.
Just admit that you’re struggling with your attitude because you’re overworked and overwhelmed (perhaps because of your own irresponsible choices). Don’t justify yourself. Don’t blame your frustration on others or take it out on them. See the situation for what it really is, and take responsibility for your own actions and attitude (Phil. 4:10-13).
2. Ask God for help.
Jesus said to Peter, James and John in the Garden, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38). This is also true for us during times of stress and exhaustion. Just as they were instructed to pray, so must we. Don’t try to handle overwhelming situations all on your own. Ask for strength from “Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).
3. Fake it till you make it.
If you have to force yourself to smile and polite, do it. Love is patient and love is kind (1 Cor. 13:4), regardless of whether love feels like doing it or not. Realize that the trial you’re going through will not last forever. Even if it were to last forever, never forget that “momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Taking the above action steps will enable us to maintain a godly attitude through even the most stressful, exhausting periods of our lives. Then we, in turn, will be able to help others who are struggling, as Isaiah said: “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not’” (Isa. 35:3-4a).