This season of a pandemic has led many people to compassion fatigue. Friends who work in caring positions such as nursing, teaching, elderly care, and many others are all struggling with juggling life. Compassion fatigue is a condition characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion leading to a diminished ability to empathize or feel compassion for others, often described as the negative cost of caring.
Recently, I took on freelance writing for GotQuestions.org. Many of the questions we receive relate to the Bible and life issues, but it has also opened my eyes to the suffering in the world. Below is something I wrote for a sweet girl in Asia dealing with compassion fatigue in the midst of her hurting family. Hope it brings you encouragement as we walk through a difficult season of caring.
Go to the Psalms
When we are emotionally drained and weak, the Psalms are a way to breathe life into hurting souls. “The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:17-19 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and he lifts our eyes so we can see Him as our refuge. One of my favorites is Psalm 62:8. It says, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” We are to pour out our hearts and cares to God.
He hears our prayers as it says in 1 John 5 we are to ask with confidence as he hears us. 1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” Jesus also intercedes on our behalf to the Father as it says in Romans. Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.” In walking through different scripture passages, we find a God who hears us when we pour out our cares to Him.
Hold Onto Joy
We also need to hold onto joy during trials. James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Trials are external and joy does not whitewash the trial. We are to get our focus off our present circumstance and fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Hope is the expression of joy! Hope opens our eyes so we can recognize the benefits of the trial. As you continue to walk through this time of compassion fatigue and seek God’s truth, God will rejoice over you as you walk in the truth of knowing joy. 3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
Go to Him in Prayer
When you feel like crying during these times (and crying is okay), I would call on God’s name in prayer. Prayer is our refuge and resource to hold onto! God is our refuge in our time of storm. Through being our resource, he gives us the ability to walk through any trial. Surrender your joy to Him and find Him as your rock and resource. He will walk you through anything you are facing.
For different ways to deal with compassion fatigue, this is a great article from the Wellness Society. It’s always okay to ask for help and to say no. Those things will help you deal with these hard times.