Choosing to Not be Empty
A pastor I respect and consider a friend resigned this week from burnout. My husband walked through burnout after six years of leading and planting a church.
I think all of us have used these common words…
Tired. Empty. Numb. Checked out.
For the last three years, these were familiar words to me. I knew I was being obedient to the things God had called me to, but I also knew something was drying up inside of me. The wellspring that was overflowing as God set me on my path in the beginning, dwindled to a trickle, and there was barely enough for me to drink--much less pour into others.
And it wasn’t just me, it was my team as well.
We were not going to be doing this for long unless something changed.
I knew what was wrong--we all knew what was wrong … I wasn’t connecting with Jesus. Despite my efforts to teach the importance of spending time with Jesus, I legitimately found myself looking at my day and wondering how it always seemed I never had time for Him. If I found myself with a few hours alone, I always needed to write something or prepare for a Bible study. I rarely just sat to drink in the Word for no other reason than my own growth and delight.
There’s an important reminder we can’t miss, friends.
If we are not regularly engaged in personal prayer, study of the Word, and worship … we need to stop what we’re doing and figure out how to make that a reality again.
The patterns of God are to fill up and build up.
The patterns of the enemy are to empty and tear down.
Without disciplined, regular time with God that is the path we’re on. A path the enemy is standing on--waiting to steal, kill, and destroy.
Please hear me. I am not saying this was the cause of burnout for my friend, or even for Zac. Ministry is just flat hard, and all kinds of hell comes against us. But it’s a reminder for all of us. We cannot pour out what’s not poured in. We can’t teach what we don’t know. We can’t share what we don’t have. If we do not have regular time with God and healthy inputs, I promise--you will burn out. I promise you will be empty and weary and stressed.
[Tweet "We cannot pour out what’s not poured in."]
In the last few months, I’ve been shifting from someone who mostly gives out to someone who is receiving. And it’s ironic because I naturally--without trying so hard--have more to give away. Tim Keller sermons, boot camp, IF:Equip, a more regular date night with Zac, weekly lunch with my small group friends who hold me accountable, more disciplined times in prayer.
I crave my time with Him. And I can’t run on empty.
What are the inputs that fill you up?