So here’s how today went: I was scheduled to sing on the worship team at church, and I completely missed my alarm and got up ten minutes before I was supposed to leave the house (ouch), was at church until about one o’clock, got called into work, and did some cleaning in between. That’s just one day of this busy life and I know I’m not the only one who feels like sometimes you just can’t catch a break. It almost seems like you’re trying to race against yourself just to keep up with life. It feels like you’re being stretched from every angle until you’re about to snap. This is a recipe for stress followed by a meltdown (guilty)… unless we can learn to handle it the way God would have us.
When I face burn out I know that I have been doing things with my own strength for far too long. It’s too much noise and not enough silence. The answer is to sit in the presence of God and just listen to Him. And no, our flesh does not like this; our flesh loves control, planning, and knowing the future because we can cause our results. But despite our mile-long to-do list with thoughts spinning out of control with questions, our best answer is always resting in God. In this rest, God restores us and renews our soul.
In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus is at Mary and Martha’s house. Verse 39 says that Mary was sitting and listening to the words Jesus said, and Martha was distracted with all the preparations she was making in the house. But in verse 41 and 42 Jesus tells Martha, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.” What a moment Martha had that’s so similar to ours. She even got upset and wanted Mary to help her out!
See, a moment with God can heal you far better then hurrying yourself along throughout your day. His rest renews us. And most of all, the end of our rope reminds us how valuable God’s strength really is, which gives God the credit anyway! It’s a moment, a day, or even a month of stress that can help us realize only God’s strength is what is best for us, and it is far better than any human strength that we could ever possess. But without this strength from God, I’m going to face burnout as I give all my human strength in every area of life, with not enough re-filling in God’s presence.
Maybe the cause of stress isn’t something you can actually take out of your life (work, school, etc.), but you can increase your dependence on God and give yourself grace in a moment of weakness, because there’s just no way that life can be perfect! We can draw strength from God because He’s the source of life and He’s our portion forever. When I hand over my control, my list of to-dos, and my busy mind that doesn’t know how I’ll ever check off every box, God’s gracious love pursues me, and reminds me of what I truly need. You don’t have to spend five hours praying… a simple deep breath and even the most sincere and helpless “Jesus, please help me,” uttered will draw God near to you because He’s a God that turns His ear when we call. Take on today before tomorrow, simply because you’re not in tomorrow yet. When we live for tomorrow, we can miss today all too easily. By doing this, we know that God will provide the strength for us as we trust Him to follow through. And look out for this provision, because it is coming and it will bring special awareness of His guidance.
“’My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” –2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matthew 5:34 (NIV)