July 2, 2014
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed (Mark 1:35, NIV).
Friend to Friend
In my last devotion, we looked at the problem of burnout or exhaustion. Burnout is defined as “a state of mental and/or physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.”
Sound familiar? We also looked at several men in the Bible who struggled with spiritual and mental exhaustion. So if the great leaders of the Bible struggled with exhaustion, how do we avoid it?
The most effective way to avoid burnout is to be in constant communion with God, the Father. In Mark chapter one, Jesus gives us the key to avoiding overload: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed” (Mark 1:35 NIV).
Early in the morning Jesus went off by Himself and spent time alone with His heavenly Father. Interestingly, Simon and his companion interrupted Jesus’ time of prayer.
“Everyone is looking for you!” they exclaimed.
The day before, Jesus had healed many men and women. No doubt, the disciples and the townspeople wanted Him to return to perform more miracles. But Jesus had a different idea. ”Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also,” He said. “That is why I have come.”
I don’t know about you, but by 8:00 in the morning, my phone begins ringing with people making requests and demands on my time. Emails flood my screen, tweet chirp for a response and texts pop up as soon as I refresh my screen.
How do we know when to say “yes” and when to say “no”? How do we know when to respond and when to prayerfully click delete? How do we know what God’s will is for us on any given day?
Jesus gives us the answer right there in Mark 1:35. We begin our day with God by praying and asking Him to give us our marching orders.
Would it have been a good and noble thing for Jesus to go back to Capernaum and minister to the people there? Yes, it would have been good, but perhaps not God’s best. Because Jesus had spent time with God in the morning, He knew what God’s plans were for Him that day and He could say “yes” and “no” with confidence.
Inviting God to fuel and fan the flames of enthusiasm for life each day is the key way to avoid burnout. Let’s go back to our friend, Elijah, who gives us an example of how God tenderly re-ignites that flame if it has dimmed to a mere flicker. No matter where you are on the continuum of blazing spiritual passion or smoldering wick, here are some ideas to avoid burnout or rekindle the fire.
Dear Lord, You know that I have a tendency to take on too much. Please help me to hear Your still small voice telling me when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” Today, I commit to remain in close and constant communion with You. You are my strength and my provider.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Go back and look at the activities that you engaged in last week and ponder the following questions:
Were they all necessary?
Could someone else have done those tasks more effectively?
Was there anything on your schedule that you wished you had said “no” to?
Consider memorizing today’s Key Verse and making it the filter for your daily activities.
More from the Girlfriends
This devotion was taken from my book, Building an Effective Women’s Ministry. If you are a woman in leadership of any kind, you’ll find this book packed with resources and ideas for leading an effective team. And did you know that I have a storehouse of free resources on my website? I have free chapter downloads from most of my books, videos, living life resources, interviews, and magazine articles. Check it out at www.sharonjaynes.com and while you’re there, don’t forget to sign up for my blog.
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