January 23, 2007
“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
Yesterday, 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 Jesus 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. 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. How do we know when to say “yes” and when to say “no?” 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
Inviting God to fuel and fan the flames of enthusiasm for life each day is the key way to avoid burnout. But our friend, Elijah 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.
- Rest often. (God rested on the 7th day.)
- Refresh with proper diet.
- Re-evaluate priorities and responsibilities on a regular basis (monthly).
- Relegate and delegate.
- Review commitments regularly (monthly).
- Resist saying “yes” to demands and requests that do not line up with what God has called you to do.
- Resist being ruled by your schedule and allow for divine appointments from God that may not be on your schedule.
- Remove superfluous activities that interfere with or choke out with God’s agenda.
- Refocus on what God has called you to do rather than what others would like for you to do.
Remain in close and constant communion with God.
 Girdino, DA, Everly, GS, and Dusek, DE, Controlling Stress and Tension, Allyn & Bacon, Needham Heights, MA, 1996
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 they have been done more effectively by someone else?
- 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
Girlfriends in God, Inc.
Originally published Tuesday, 23 January 2007.