Getting Real About Burn Out

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. {1 Corinthians 15:58}

I need a break. I’ve just started a new semester and I’ve come into it already tired, worn, exhausted, and defeated. You would think coming out of what is supposed to be a season of rest, I would be rested and rejuvenated for this new semester. But I’m not. And this is a frustrating place to be. I want to be here with fresh eyes, restored heart, and renewed spirit. I want to be passionate. I want to be open to the God’s voice and calling in my life.

But instead I feel beaten down, over worked, tired, and burned out.

Burn out is real. Burn out is toxic. Burn out is lonely, and frustrating, and painful. And this past week has been consuming me in it. When we let that happen, we are letting the enemy in, letting him steal our ministry, steal our passion for the Lord’s work, and steal our joy. And we can’t consciously be allowing that to happen. Part of following Jesus is relying on His strength when this life would otherwise tear us to pieces.

When we don’t allow ourselves to rest in the only one who can give rest and the only one who can stop burn out in its tracks, we will burn out and will happen fast. Anything on our own power will end in destruction and burn out and a life of “lack”. Meaning constantly lacking something, whether that be rest, peace, joy, faith or control. A life of lack and a life of burn out is also likely a life of fear, anxiety, anger, rejection and so on. But Jesus will continually supply rest and peace and all of the things that we find ourselves lacking if we allow Him. You cannot do this walk with Jesus on your own strength. We weren’t designed for life without Jesus. We weren’t designed to be self-sufficient.

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. {Romans 12:11-17}

It’s easy for us to get out of control in the chaos of life and only see the tiredness and exhaustion. It’s easy to not allow ourselves rest. It’s easy to drown in the burn out. But that’s toxic. We’ve got to learn to be dependent on the One who prevents burn out and restores not on this life that will constantly leave us overworked, broken, and lacking something.

What we’ve got to realize is that Jesus is looking for us to be dependent on Him. He doesn’t want us to walk on our own. He wants us to walk in relationship with and in dependance of Him. His walking on earth with us as a human, His death on the cross is proof of that, His constant grace and redemption is proof of that.

If you’re lacking passion, feeling burnt out, or just tired, remember, it’s not your life that is burning you out, rather it’s your lack of dependence on the Father. We can choose to see the negatives and the seemingly tiring parts about doing God’s work, or we can choose to see the beauty in it and how it glorifies Him. We have to be dependent on Jesus so that we can see the beauty in doing God’s work, so we can see the worthwhileness, so we can experience His providence and we then won’t burnt out, won’t grow weary of doing His work. We’ll be passionate about doing His work in His place, we won’t see life as an annoyance, as exhausting, but rather for a chance to serve and glorify our Father through doing His work. Burn out doesn’t have to be consuming, it doesn’t have to be so long-lasting. We cannot allow ourselves to live in that sort of toxic Christianity.

“As many have learned and later taught, you don’t realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” –Timothy Keller

No matter how burnt out you feel in this moment, in this season, in this life, Jesus will provide, He will sustain, and He will prevail. Be open to it. Be open to His goodness, be dependent on His grace and love.

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