“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30 NIV).
I recently spoke with a young woman who is in full-time ministry to teens who experience extreme trauma. She said, “My bucket is empty. When I lower it into the well, there is no water to be found. I feel so depleted.” This woman’s words reflect the heart of a growing number of people who are experiencing burnout. There’s barely a flicker. The bucket is empty. The well is dry. These folks typically battle anxiety, fatigue, depression, and relational tension. Among these growing numbers are those serving Christ in His Kingdom.
We live in a culture that finds personal value in being busy and productive. We are ill-prepared to deal with stress and loss. We have little understanding of the value and benefits of rest and lament. Considering these realities, along with reports of anxiety being at epidemic levels, burnout is a predictable outcome. Yet, Jesus tells us that His “yoke is easy” and His “burden is light.” I wonder at times why so many who serve Him don’t experience His yoke to be “easy,” or His burden “light.”
”Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24 NIV).
Perhaps the reality of burnout is an opportunity for us to take a Spirit-led inside look; an invitation to consider what we are living for and where our hearts may be divided. Why do we do what we do? What motives drive our choices? Are they self-serving or God-honoring? Truly, only the Spirit can help us discern.
What do you choose?
I love the story of Mary and Martha found in Luke 10. As one who served the idol of performance and drank from that broken cistern for decades, I more resonate with Martha. Yet, my heart longs to embrace more deeply the posture of Mary. Jesus says of Mary’s decision to sit at His feet that “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42b NIV). Mary chose to abide.
Jesus speaks of the abiding relationship in John 15. Again, His words are invitational: “I am the Vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV).
At least “nothing” of eternal value.
As I learn what it means to abide and rest in Christ alone, I am learning a little more about what it means to live more freely and lightly. The journey has not been easy. I have had to die many little deaths and forsake many broken cisterns along the way. The arduous journey continues. On-going, daily repentance under His grace has been a close companion.
Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and apart from Him, there is no life. He is the Living Water that quenches our thirsty souls. An annual women’s retreat, “Come Away My Beloved,” was born out of a passion to lead other women to Jesus, the Living Water where their souls can be nourished, often in the midst of life’s storms.
Consider Jesus’ invitation to “come away with Him” and find rest and nourishment for your soul. Come away from the busyness and distractions of life to sit at His feet and breathe in His Words of life!
All women are invited to attend Grace, Romeo’s retreat, “BREATHE,” November 9–11, 2018 at the Lake Huron Retreat Center in Burtchville, Mich. For more information or to register online (or download a registration form), visit morningstarministries.net. Full and partial scholarships are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. To inquire, please contact Cheryl directly at Cheryl@morningstarministries.net.