Emotional Baggage – Burn Out

When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, “Look, your servant has obeyed you.  I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do.  Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way.”

  • 1 Samuel 28:21-22

You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
    the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.
Praise be to God!

  • Psalm 68:35

Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength.  “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said.  “Peace!  Be strong now; be strong.”
When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”

  • Daniel 10:18-19

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.

  • 1 Timothy 1:12

“…there I was three years later, and he was asking me, ‘How are you doing?’
“I said, ‘Fine.’
“My wife said, ‘No, you’re not.  Tell him the truth.’
“So I told him about my exhaustion, and he said, ‘You’re going to the hospital tonight.’ …
“I went from the hospital in Atlanta to a medical center in Virginia for two weeks to have a thorough series of tests.  Every morning I had tests, and in the afternoons, I’d walk and pray.  The doctors didn’t find anything physically wrong – no heart problems, no ulcers.  I was just worn out.
“Principle #1: Mental and emotional burnout cannot be remedied unless you also deal with the physical burnout
“Principle #2: Physical burnout directly affects the mind and emotions
“Principle #3: When feeling burned out, go back to the basics of your life in Christ – God’s Word, Prayer, Fellowship with other believers
“Principle #4: Make a decision to do only what the Lord requires
“    1. Back off everything that you are doing and reappraise your life…
“    2. Make a list of everything that you are doing and the time required for each activity…
“    3. Evaluate how much personal energy is required for each activity…
“    4. Look for trends and patterns among the activities you have listed…
“    5. With your evaluation of activities, time, and energy before you, ask the Lord to reveal to you what is truly important to Him – and to show you where you need to spend more time, where you need to spend less time, and what activities you should drop…
“Principle #5: Let God take control, and give Him the responsibility
“Principle #6: You ultimately must address the emotional baggage you may be carrying”

  • Charles Stanley, The Source of my Strength

I have often been at my wit’s end.  I have often been exhausted beyond belief.  I recently went a few days without getting more than two hours of sleep on any of those nights.  Blessed deep sleep came the next day.

It is said that God gives us no more than we can handle, but I have seen the tests of God allow me to stretch out my understanding of what I can handle.  It is not pleasant, but I grow a little bit.

What prevents me from growing more is a few of the things that Rev. Stanley suggests that we should do.  I let me gaze stray away from Jesus.  I do not rely on His power and think I can do this little thing on my own.  I forget to pray, maybe not totally, but I may not lift up the issue that I am trying to do on my own.  After all, it is so simple…

And Rev. Stanley’s second principle is one of the main reasons that we should follow the other ones.  When we get tired, we usually do not react to situations in a proper Christian manner.  Someone said that when you lash out in anger, you may miss your target, but you always hit, and hurt, yourself.  It may only be a cross word.  It may only be a groan when asked to do a simple task, but when our physical batteries are low, our mental batteries soon follow.

The issue, I think, is that our body has several protective systems when something is low.  When it is hot, the body tries to get as much blood as possible to the extremities where the heat in the blood can be transferred to the surface and allow the heat to leave the body.  But when it is bitterly cold, the body reserves the blood for the essential internal organs.  Frostbite to the extremities is quickened due to lack of blood flow, because the body does not have enough heat to go around.

Could it be that when we get tired, to save on mental faculties, the brain shifts to only thinking about the essential things, like keeping the heart pumping?  Too bad, during those times, that the brain does not shut down the tongue.  Our tongue often betrays our beliefs in such times.

And the thing that is needed to stop the vicious cycle is Rev. Stanley’s fifth principle.  God needs to be in control.  You may need to pray about that, but God should be in control before we attempt to step away from our busyness so that we can begin to recharge our batteries.

But I am just driving to a doctor’s appointment…  or the grocery store…  or playing a silly video game.  Then we find our batteries drained again, before they had a chance to fully charge.

Pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17).  That is the prime muscle to strengthen.  When we can do that, we can keep our eyes on Jesus.  We can keep our batteries charged.

Then we have enough strength and energy to do those other things that Rev. Stanley suggested, those evaluations that can only be properly done when our batteries are fully charged.

Driving to Tennessee all in one day – check – necessary to visit the grandchildren and not have my wife miss a single day of dialysis.

Helping my wife fill out the visitor paperwork at a new dialysis center and then rushing to my son’s house to have a phone call with the leader of the prayer team, followed by a few hours of typing before sending out the new prayer list – check – necessary.

But did I need to help with the grocery shopping the next day? – nope – I could trust my son and daughter-in-law.

At home, I might have to do it all, but visiting others?  No, not so self-reliant.  And that is the point.  We need self-confidence, but only within the boundaries of the strength God gives us.  And that strength comes from prayer and reading God’s word.  And then, on occasion, visiting with Christian friends.  Three great battery chargers.

And the greatest preventer of burn-out is doing God’s will in your life.  The saying goes that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.  But if you love what you do and God’s plan is for you to do it, you can almost achieve an everlasting battery.  Think a bunny with a big drum, but rather than advertisement hype, it is nearly real.  We have human bodies that have limits, but even then, God gives us signals as to when we need rest.

Just do not think you have to do it all.  For when that happens, you are taking your eyes off Jesus again.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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