Can anyone relate to the burn-out, exhausted feeling following the end of a busy work project, a holiday or sports season? You know, the feeling of being on the brink of a cold, having the desiring to hunker down at home, and promising yourself next time will be totally different, yet not really sure what to do to make it different? That is a feeling I typically experience in January.
Last Christmas was life changer to me. My family decided to spend the week of Thanksgiving on a mission trip in Chinadega, Nicaragua, digging ditches and bringing water to the village of Mina de Agua. The time away was life breathing, yet in ways you wouldn’t expect: it was full of deep conversation, hard physical labor, lots of heat and humidity and no cerveza. (click to read). Fortunately, unlike a typical vacation that wears off the minute you re-enter your home, last year we didn’t feel the crunch of Christmas decorating, shopping and entertaining. Mind you, we did all of those things, but the presence of the Lord came home with us. The Holy Spirit enveloped us in a way that stress couldn’t penetrate. In fact, a stark difference was on Christmas morning, the four of us were running through the first snow, playing laser tag in our woods, rosy cheeks and happy smiles …not from opening presents, but from the hope we provided another family by “gifting” them a bathroom for Christmas. Pure Joy.
- How can we keep this feeling of Joy?
- How can we prevent the burnt out as the next season of stress begins?
Scripture. A great first step is scripture.
“Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me”. Psalm 51:11-12
I truly was restored. I was filled with the Holy Spirit and I desperately want Him to sustain me. Hmmm, what if instead of time management tools of tweaking our schedule, eeking out another substandard and not tasty meal, trimming out the extras trying to bring sanity to self and family, instead, what if we could get into the discipline of going to the Good Word at the start of the day?
“Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They (human fathers) disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness”. Hebrews 12:9-10 NIV
With color-coded calendar entries, I began God Time 😇 (yes, that’s what my calendar entry looks like) with coffee a few days a week. I started with some favorites: Proverbs 18:24, Isaiah 33:6, Romans 12:2, Daniel 2:20, John 21:19, Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Corinthians 9:8, Matthew 28:18. Would 30-45 minutes provide a calm morning routine and a day filled with promise? Yes, and as I reflected on my God Time days, they were more intentional, satisfying and enJOYable.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:7-8
As I am more comfortable in the Word, I am often led down rabbit holes of exactly what God wants me to read in that exact moment. How cool is that!
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise”. … “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:13-16
God says to pray, praise, confess, and pray some more. God loves his children and knows exactly what we need. He also knows we cannot go after life alone. My friend Beth asked if we could memorize scripture and repent each week. WOW! That felt intimidating, but the weekly release of bondage, the weekly receipt of Holy Spirit blessing (ReceiveHolySpirit) is beginning to fill the hole to restore, refresh, renew and making me whole! Through scripture and repenting, I’ve been prompted many time in forgiveness – some in asking to restore relationships, like apologizing for my bratty behavior on the tennis court, as well as asking for my judgement to be removed and my heart to be healed. Other times to give forgiveness, knowing that the friend/family-member/acquaintance/stranger may never have the courage to ask for forgiveness from me. (Luke 23:34, Mark 11:25)
Regardless of how many mission trips we take, soup kitchens we serve in, philanthropies we volunteer for, none of this “wholeness” would be possible though without submission to our Lord – the decision our life is not as good as what God has in store for us. “For it is God who works in you to will and act in order to fulfill his good purpose” Philippians 2:13 (also see Jeremiah 33:3, Jeremiah 29:11). We need to rely on Him to correct us, refine us, using His words that are alive and active, still today (Hebrew 4:12-13). My path to God has twisted and turns and sometimes the lesson takes a few times before it sticks, but I desire it. My exuberance for Jesus shines as I pursue “the way to life—to God! —is vigorous and requires total attention” (Matthew 7:13-14 msg)
- How can we have God’s Peace? (Philippians 4:7)
Give time to God.
Submit and He will sustain you.
He WILL restore you to the beautiful child he adores and to the life He has laid out for you.