Resistance Fatigue


Question & Answer

Q: By Jeff

I’m a politically blue kind of guy living in a very red state. My religious convictions tell me that I have to try to work at getting laws that treat everyone with love. I’ve always tried, but the last few years it’s been crazy hard and I’m wearing out. Any suggestions?

A: By Rev. Mark Sandlin
Hi Jeff,

You ask a question that resonates with something I think many of us are feeling: resistance fatigue.  Spiritually, it is important that we continue to work towards a world that has more mercy, empathy, hospitality, and love. The reality is that when so many powerful folks are working in the opposite direction, it really can wear you down – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. So, good self care is important. This list is certainly not complete, but it’s not a bad place to start.

* Don’t try to take on all the issues at once. Pick one (or maybe two). If there is anything that will absolutely wear a person out it’s trying to handle too many things all at once – burning the candle from both ends. A key to not feeling resistance fatigue is to sort of specialize in an area that you feel very strongly about.

* Play to your strengths. If you are an organizer, organize. If you are a writer, write. Learning new skill sets is a beautiful thing, but what will be the most helpful in this effort is each person doing the thing (or things) they are the best at.

* Don’t just engage with everyone who wants to engage with you. Be selective.

* Take regular breaks from social media and the news. We live in an age of not only instant information, but constant information. Our brains are not wired in a way that makes the constant input of that kind of information healthy. It will eventually overwhelm us. Just like studies have show,  students learn more when studying if they take frequent breaks – we are more capable of not burning out when we take a mental health break from all of it. Do a little bit of personal care.

* When needed, take some downtime. Do nothing about the issue. Do things that feed you. The answer to solving any of this does not rest on the shoulders of one person.

* Lovingly persist.

~ Rev. Mark Sandlin

About the Author
Rev. Mark Sandlin is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) from the South. He currently serves at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. He is a co-founder of The Christian Left. His blog, has been named as one of the “Top Ten Christian Blogs.” Mark received The Associated Church Press’ Award of Excellence in 2012. His work has been published on “The Huffington Post,” “Sojourners,” “Time,” “Church World Services,” and even the “Richard Dawkins Foundation.” He’s been featured on PBS’s “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly” and NPR’s “The Story with Dick Gordon.” Follow Mark on Facebook and Twitter @marksandlin.

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