ARE YOU FEELING BURNED OUT?
by Pam Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
These verses really stood out to me today – from Matthew 13 the New Living Translation:
3 He [Jesus] told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
Have you ever felt like you weren’t growing? Does everything around you seem shallow? Have you ever felt directionless? It can happen to all of us – we get sidetracked, and we get burn out.
So often it just slips up on us, but then one day we are noticing that everyone is frustrating us, things seem so BORING, people are shallow or just plain selfish, and we have a list of complaints a mile long.
First we rebuke ourselves for having a crabby attitude and complaining, but we find ourselves going into the next stage where we just don’t care, we don’t feel like trying and the flesh life of the world begins to have an appeal. Deep inside we know it doesn’t really, but at the moment, comparatively speaking, it seems they are way ahead of where you are!
Have you ever settled for less than your best? You are on the path to burn out. A while back, back there, we settled for second best. Oh, you know the reasonings – maybe they knew more than we did, maybe God is doing a new thing, maybe I just don’t understand, but we failed to discern the fruit.
Jesus said in Luke 6:44 [NKJV]: “For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.” Met any bramble bushes lately? They might even be you!
I’ve been there. It calls for an “attitude adjustment.” While the enemy is pouring condemnation on us and everyone around us that he can, the Holy Spirit inside of us is telling us we are missing it, there is something more. And there is!!!
We are about to miss out on the Greatest Story Ever Told! and we are supposed to be in the chapters of that book! We don’t want to wake up sometime later realizing what we have been missing. Those temporary pleasures we know are not going to hold up in the final days of things. And what will we have to show for it? If we are silently condemning ourselves now, how much worse will it be?
This is the Laodicean age of distractions, distractions, distractions. God allows some of that to provoke us to new things and ideas, but not to the point that we lose our faith over it. We are going to be challenged one way or the other, but we can learn from it and grow from it, or fizzle out.
We can have an early good showing because we are in shallow soil. It may be rich soil, and the water gives it a good start. But what about surviving? We may find that we are moving a bunch of rocks around, to go deeper. And God forbid we get into those prickly fast growing weeds that just seem to have no end! All of that can be work!
But as humans we have a brain and a spirit and we can test things and taste things and discern things. How’s it going, really? Are we making progress or are we just doing short term change window dressings?
The young need milk. It’s easy to digest, but they need it often. Once they get on bread, it’s easier. They are not quite so demanding. But we can’t cater to them forever and there are others that need to be brought in. We need the meat and vegetables. The meat has protein, it’s rich and it can last a longer season of time. Oh sometimes it’s nice to go light, and there are times when we can afford to do it. But when it’s time for real work and stronger interactions, our strength can fade if we have to go running back every couple of hours for some real food. We must learn how to feed ourselves and not become pesty.
There are a lot of people who do not want to feed themselves. They want to look to someone else to tell them what to do, how to think and even what to believe. Some even want someone else to tell them what to give! They often don’t realize they have forfeited their own faith. If someone is not directing them, to them the Church has failed. How deceived they are!
It’s great to have a move of God. But if we are in shallow soil, it’s really not going to accomplish much. Flowers are pretty in spring, but the heat of summer is coming, along with the cool of autumn and the snows of winter. Life is going to have challenges and your youth should not be all there is!
Most people in their youth are going to live to 60 or 80 and with modern meds now, more even into their 90’s and some beyond that! More resources are available to us than ever before. But if we don’t take it seriously, we are going to be treating symptoms over and over and not get to the roots of the problem!
We need to take seriously Psalm 37. In there it says, “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.”
What do we do? Those in their right mind do not want to be grouped with the wicked. So, stir it up!!!
2 Timothy 1:6
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
2 Peter 1:12-13
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you.
There comes a time for all of us where we need to learn how to feed ourselves. Outside life may not be going the way we want or planned. Church may not be giving us everything we want or think we need to be “a vibrant Christian.” Well… what do you know how to do?
Do you know how to feed yourself? Have you been taught the basics? If not, find a place that can get you grounded. It’s critical. Then after that, look for a place where you can be real. Real doesn’t mean everyone has to do it your way. But it does mean you can touch and be touched. You can change the lives of others.
There are dangerous places out there for Christians. If you have to follow a program and can’t be free to express yourself, then you may be in the wrong place. You can’t just blame others all the time, but I can tell you that Christianity FAILS when you can’t be real. But you can learn to feed yourself.
There are so many ministries today who have not gotten off the ground because they were waiting for something magical or special to happen. Some people can find that anywhere, but special has to start somewhere for you. In God’s eyes, you ARE special! If He has ever talked to you, you are someone special to Him. If you haven’t talked to Him, you can meet Him by asking Jesus to come into your life and minister to you. He will.
But for those who have ever heard His Voice, you can keep on hearing it, you just have to stretch yourself and grow. You can’t weather the storms of Christianity and life everlasting without the Word of God.
You can’t know God without understanding His Nature. He can be stern while giving direction, but His goal is tender loving kindness and pleasure with you. It just can’t happen any old way we please, because He has something much better. You are connected to generations!
Are you stuck in a rut? Then find the ladder and get out. You may have to start with some sincere prayers, but God is good for answering them if you are sincere! The winds of life are going to blow. Weather has been known to suddenly change. Are you prepared or are you in shallow soil? What are your roots finding? Do you need a Spiritual transplant? God may throw some fertilizer on you to get you there! But it’s worth it.
God has great destiny for your life. He really does. He thrills at getting people over obstacles, but they have to work with Him. Our struggles are meant to take us to the Word of God to be activated and enlightened by His Spirit. Once there, we experience growth, even if we did not notice it happening at the time. But later we will look and see we have actually come a distance.
We want that distance to be with the Lord, not further away from Him. God is moving, so there is no such thing as just coasting. You may have a short season of rest, but once you get a handle on things, He is ready for the next parts of the journey. God is in love with you!!! He has a plan for your life!
Can you see Him flirting with you? Or are you somewhere you should not be, about to get in trouble? Do you thrill His Heart or is He grieving over you? His love can outlast yours – that is the Good News. But the Bible does say that His Spirit will not strive with man forever. (Genesis 6:3) Don’t lose your good destiny, it’s not worth it!
Don’t let outward circumstances reduce your inward life. Instead, use them to go deeper. Once you go deeper, you can go higher and the vistas are grand! They will give you visions for the next part of your journey. They will show you possibilities you never dreamed could be yours. But God knows it can happen! He has faith! We can grab hold of His faith and get there, even when we doubt ourselves.
I knew a lady once who told me, “I know how to feed myself. I am just looking for the place where I can express it.” That is the problem we all should ultimately have. Because even there, there are riches we have not yet experienced, and the harvest is great.