With all that is happening in the world right now (this pandemic, police brutality in the US, protests occurring worldwide, etc.), it can be easy to forget that we have approached the half-way point of the year. As summer beckons us outdoors and the days extend in their brightness, we may be excited for freedom or experiencing trepidation regarding the “new normal” of wearing masks during all outdoor and social activities. Amidst the whirlwind of emotions we are likely processing internally or are confronted with through our conversations with others, there is still one thing that has been consistent throughout this time. God has been speaking. The question is, have you heard what He’s been trying to tell you?
Distractions come in all forms and affect each person differently. When these distractions infiltrate our quiet time, they endanger our spiritual health. In Ephesians 6, Paul warns believers to be prepared for spiritual warfare by putting on the whole armor of God. Now more than ever, there is a need to understand that the atrocities occurring worldwide are not simply racially charged acts of hatred but are inspired by evil. Verse 13 of the Amplified Bible, states that putting on the full armor of God will allow you “to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious].” Without the right focus and proper preparation, we may forfeit the victory we seek and run the risk of burnout. The exhaustion that affects our bodies when we are run ragged by life’s pursuits can also occur spiritually, and, when it does, it can cripple our ability to fight effectively. This can manifest in many ways (i.e. an inability to pray, decreased empathy, a lack of sound judgment, reactivity, etc.).
Fools rush in…
Strategy, not reactivity, is what is needed to ensure sustainable change. This requires preparation and planning, which involve educating yourself and exercising wisdom. Proverbs 19:2 AMP states: “Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge. And he who hurries with his feet [acting impulsively and proceeding without caution or analyzing the consequences] sins (misses the mark).” Keeping that in mind, it is beneficial to understand the importance of being informed and prepared for each task along the journey (allowing wisdom to guide your motives), rather than acting with impulsivity (based on the fluctuation of your emotions).
A Biblical exchange for the prevention of burnout.
“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:31
Taking time to pace ourselves in our efforts is an important step in preventing burnout. This verse gives us a burnout-proof strategy for endurance. When we choose to wait on the Lord, we receive a few promises in return:
- God renews our strength (this can be our own stamina or His power working through us)
- God allows our ascent to new heights (this can be a new perspective, a new location, or a new accomplishment)
- God keeps us from weariness (This promise links to another from God, which also spurs us to keep going even when we don’t see change yet; Galatians 6:9)
- God keeps us from growing weak or lacking clarity (The word “faint” describes both physical weakness as well as diminished vision. )
Note: The use of the word “shall” in verse 31 also helps to highlight the definitive nature of God’s promise. It basically means that something will definitely happen.
The kind of waiting referenced here does not indicate complacency, laziness, or disregard for the need to address important matters. Instead, it denotes a patience that endures while moving in alignment with God’s will and timing so that we are able to achieve the desired outcome. As we walk with God and learn to pace ourselves according to His grace, we are enabled to finish strong. Dictionary.com defines grace as “the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.” Regeneration refers to revival or recreation. God is able to change the world through us, but we need to align ourselves with His will so that we can be victorious. At this time, God may be urging you to be still or to move ahead. Either way, you won’t know unless you take the time to listen.
Reflection Question: Have you been progressing at the pace of grace or trying to move in your own timing?
Song Selection: Everlasting God by TC Worship ft. DOE