This is a plague that affects the body of Christ just as much as it affects the secular world. Somehow, many of us struggle with work/life balance and often find ourselves on the verge of burnout. As you probably know, in this state, you are of no use to yourself, others or God. Hence, your first priority should be to take time out and nurture yourself back to health. Below are some ideas on how to do this.
Eat And Drink – This may seem like common sense but I assure you it isn't. Many years ago, I got caught up in the ‘fasting’ trap. One fast led to another and before I knew it, I was permanently on a fast. Of course, if you fast without wisdom, it has repercussions on you physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. In simple terms, your body will become depleted on its own resources. Before you know it, you body finds it difficult to function properly. Hence, wisdom has to rein. So you need to eat and eat well – whether you fast or not. Notice what the first thing God instructed Elijah to do, when he was tired and depressed in 1 Kings 19? God told him to get up and eat. God catered to his physical wellbeing first as He realised this was key to his wellness and future tasks. God also has some water for him to replenish anything he may have lost after his battle and long distance running. This tells me that God places importance not only on the spiritual but the physical too. And so should we.
Rest And Sleep – Just because you are sleeping (lying down, eyes closed) does not mean you are resting. You could be doing what I call ‘nocturnal’ or ‘horizontal’ strategising. This is where your mind is in a state of planning, thinking or even worrying about ‘stuff’. The truth of the matter is that we all need rest and a good dose of sleep to function effectively. You do yourself a disservice when you don’t get enough of these. So you may want to create some rules to help you get enough of sleep and rest. For example, you may turn off your cell phone at a particular time of the day, embark a restful activity, set yourself a new bedtime and sleep (not read or watch TV) in bed. Find out what works for you.
Spend Time With God – After God had catered to Elijah’s physical needs (i.e. eating and resting), He called Elijah aside and spent time with him. During this special time, Elijah got the chance to pour his heart out to God. God also gave him new instructions. In your time with God, you can pour out your heart and receive instructions too. You also get an opportunity to de-clutter your mind of the junk you may have been building up (e.g. Elijah wanting to die in 1 Kings 19:1-4). In addition to this, the chances are if your are burnout because of your busy lifestyle, it is more than likely you have some catching up to do in regards to praying, reading the Bible, praise and worship, etc. So maximise your time in your secret place and get back to a place of strength.
In closing, the story of Elijah is a shinning example for all of us. If you continue to plough ahead at full speed, you are heading for a fall. It helps to remember you are not a superhero but a mere mortal (like the rest of us) that needs to balance work, rest and play. Trust me, the world will not stop rotating or fall apart if your take some time out. So invest in yourself today – after all, even God rested!
Watch out of part two of this article!
Further study: Isaiah 40: 29-31 and Mat 11:28-31