February 22, 2016

God’s prescription for burn out

The last few days all I’ve wanted to do is sleep. During the past few weeks, people warned me to take care of me as I take care of others, but I thought I was. However, I was wrong. I am very tired and even discouraged.

Even though I think that I know what to do, I asked God to give me a Word that would confirm what He prescribes. No surprise that today’s devotional is about a major cause of burn out. It is losing the ability to withstand hardship or stress because it seems pointless. God is not doing anything; nothing is happening. However, He says otherwise . . .

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)

He says “Be still, and know” who He is, and then wait for it. Chambers says tenacity goes beyond endurance because it is combined with an absolute assurance that what I am looking for is going to happen because God said so. Hanging in there is the supreme effort of refusing to believe that my hero is going to be conquered. Jesus will win. The things He stands for — love, justice, forgiveness, and goodness — will win out in the end, even if right now it seems all of that has been pushed aside in a world full of hate, injustice, and evil. In all that I experience (or do not experience) I can never forget that God is still on His throne and in the end, Jesus wins.

But Chambers also says that my hopes are being disappointed just now because God is purifying them. He is allowing me to experience the strain of waiting for Him. This will develop spiritual tenacity. Honestly, I’d rather not learn this lesson, yet must admit that being impatient, discouraged, burned out, and feeling hopeless is worse than His purifying process.

So I looked up some verses about patience. In the Bible, it is steadfast endurance, or “the power to withstand hardship or stress; especially the inward fortitude necessary” and is always about waiting for something that I cannot yet see. God has a Word for me on this also . . . 

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:25)

As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:10–11)

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Colossians 1:11–12)

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. (Revelation 3:10–11)

How can a person withstand in the waiting? What will keep me from losing hope? How can I keep going without burning out? Oddly enough, enduring strength comes from waiting . . .

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29–31)

Endurance comes from keeping my eyes on Jesus and looking forward to what is coming later rather than looking only at what is happening right now. My problems and discouragements are not so bad . . .

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:3–4)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16–18)

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

The most important aspect of waiting on God is spending time with Him. This is not necessarily about taking my list of “I wants” to Him, but more about listening to His reaffirming voice as He speaks to me and affirming in praise what I know is true about Him. Be still, and know that He is God!

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