Have you ever felt burned out and as if you have nothing left to give? Maybe you’re in that place right now. Maybe you know you still have things you can contribute to the world around you but you feel as if there is no point in even trying. It can feel as if no one is paying attention, or you don’t have the mental and physical strength to even try.
These scriptures are a step by step journey God has taken me through to get me back on my feet. In the last few weeks I have dealt with some intense medical issues including a risky treatment for Mast Cell Disease and anaphylaxis. (a life threatening allergic reaction where I cannot breathe and need emergency treatment.) It may have taken a few wise friends to encourage me to not delete everything I’ve ever written and completely quit. (Thank you Amber, Morgan, and Pam for seeing past my emotions to what was really going on. I’m impressed with how you handled my crazy moods!) That encouragement means everything, but then it’s time for me to let God refresh me.
Here are 5 steps to go from burned out to back on your feet:
- Physical rest:
I tend to ignore this one, yet it’s vital. I think if I’m breathing, I need to keep going. Then I quickly realize I have nothing in me. This girl cannot survive on caffeine and inspirational quotes alone. This is a passage God reminds me of frequently.
“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.” 1 Kings 19:3-9 NIV
Even Elijah wanted to quit. Actually he begged God to just kill him. (Gee, dramatic much? Oh wait, I’ve been there too.) God did for Elijah what my friends did for me. God didn’t tell him to get over himself. He saw the real need. Elijah was exhausted. He needed good food and physical rest. I’m thankful for the friends who didn’t lecture me, but rather encouraged me to take care of my physical body and let me know I wasn’t alone.
- Soul Refreshing
Yep, I skip this too. When I take time away to care for my physical body I somehow feel as if I have to earn fun time. I forget fun time is resfreshing.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23:1-2. NIV
We need to stop and let God restore our souls. We don’t just need a physical break; we need a mental one as well. For me, I need to knit, crochet, play a mind numbing video game, watch some TV, read, listen to music, or anything that simply makes my heart happy. Those are the little but powerful things I call “A Jesus Moment.” (See title of the site, Jesus in Every Moment… Now is it making sense?) Jesus brings us things to refresh us and remind us of His presence.
- Look at how Jesus did it
Somehow in my head I know this, but when I’m down, I tend to forget it.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
Reading through the gospels, we often overlook all the times they say Jesus went alone to pray. He took time away from the crowds and His disciples. In fact, one of the most recognizable events of Jesus’ life came after He went alone to pray. I encourage you to read Matthew 14 in one setting. (It’s not that long.) You can see the rollercoaster Jesus went through. First, His cousin, John the Baptist, was beheaded. He tried to get some privacy, but a multitude followed Him. So He healed the sick and ministered to them. Now it was time for divine catering service because by this point people were hungry but had no food or means to purchase any. So, He performed another miracle and fed 5,000 people. Finally, when everyone was fed, He told his disciples to get in the boat and He’d catch up. He had to be alone for a while. After this time alone, He could’ve found another boat. Instead, He was refreshed and waked on water. Remember, even Jesus needed a break. He had a human body just like you do. Who knows what you can accomplish after some time away. Maybe you’ll feel like you can walk on water.
- What voices are you listening to?
Ouch, this one hits home for me. Oftentimes I focus on the wrong things. This scripture puts it well.
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.” Galatians 5:7-8 NIV
We are bombarded with voices from friends, family, social media, television, and music telling us what we should be doing. We have to pay attention to who and what we’re listening to. Take a minute and ask yourself what have you been paying attention to. Are you comparing yourself to others? I do that more often that I’d like to admit. Are you hearing too many voices when you need to focus on the voice from the One who created you? Peace and strength come when we walk in God’s path, not the one we make up for ourselves.
- Remember where your strength comes from
Again, this is one of those “easier to remember than actually do” for me.
“I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13 NET
The apostle Paul wasn’t giving us some cliché to make us feel like superheroes. He was saying he knew God had a plan for him. He also knew that sometimes he’d have everything he thought he’d need to accomplish God’s plan, and sometimes he’d feel emptyhanded. He wasn’t just saying he knew he could do anything. What he said was he knew how to be content in any circumstance, because it was only through God that he could accomplish anything.
That’s where it hits for me. It’s not about what we do and don’t do. It’s the state of our hearts. Are we doing things on our own or remembering no matter where we find ourselves we can be content because God is the source of our strength.
There’s not one magic formula to no longer feel burned out (5-hour energy, V8 Energy, coffee, and Red Bull are not permanent fixes. Trust me on that.) It takes time, and ultimately it comes from God. Please leave a comment and let me know if I missed something God uses to help you go from burned out to back on your feet.
Now it’s time for me to take my own advice. I’m thinking some pizza and watching American Ninja Warrior should help with some soul refreshing.