The good news is that it's really helpful to actually write down the names of these people. The situations at home or at work or at church. The emotions. Because identifying what's leaving you emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted is the first step to dealing with it.
So check out Collins' Energy Drainers Worksheet. He advises you to use additional paper if necessary, and if you're like most of the people I talk to, you might need a ream of it!
Step #1 - Sit with this a bit. Take the time to identify what's sapping your strength. There will be good and productive in with the bad. Write it all down. Yes, all of it.
Step #2 - Examine your discoveries. Do you notice a common thread weaving through your responses? Any surprises in there? Things you really don't want to admit?
Step #3 - What's out of your control? What do you have no influence over? What's not your responsibility? Cross those things off the list.
Step #4 - What's left should be things you can control. Your emotions. Your responses. Your schedule. Your calendar. Your approach to life.
Step #5 - Make the decision that you're not going to continue to use your precious energy trying to fix, rescue, manipulate, control, maneuver, or finagle what is not yours to command. Begin to allow natural consequences to play out where they need to. If you have trouble with this step, you'll probably begin to realize that you just might be a bit of a control freak! And admitting that is the first step to letting it all go.
Step #6 - Step up to the plate. Take ownership of what's yours. Don't play the victim or the martyr. Make the choice to deal with your own energy drainers with new vigor. Be responsible for what's yours.
Step #7 - Give God ultimate control. After all, He's the One who has the power to call the shots - in your life and in all that's in your world! Notice when you try to re-take control of the things you've given to Him to handle. And then make the decision to quickly give those situations back again to the One Who truly holds commands the universe. After all, "Even the winds and the waves obey Him" (Matthew 8:27).
We're only given a limited amount of energy each day. Choosing to use yours wisely will give you a freedom and joy you might not have yet experienced. You'll be able to give, to share, to pour Christ's love into others from a well that is overflowing with His love and peace and joy. Not from compulsion.
For He loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8.