Are You Spiritually Fatigued?
I was really busy. That was a good feeling. In fact it was almost a necessity, seeing that my husband was on the road most of the time. We were in Britain in full-time Christian work where one of the sayings of our mission was, “Soldiers of Jesus Christ are on duty twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.” Maybe this sounds a bit extreme, but my husband, Stuart, and I were in a Christian culture whose favorite hymn was, “Let us burn out for Thee, Lord Jesus.”
It wasn’t until I came to America and saw seminars on burnout that I recognized what was happening to me over and over again. I had burned out spiritually. This was no one’s fault but my own. The mission leaders certainly had spoken strongly about keeping fresh in ministry and had given us all the encouragement in the world to do so.
Every week during the short-term Bible schools that were run in the center, a guest speaker would teach the Bible, and the staff was always welcome to take advantage of this. I hardly ever did. My excuses ranged from not being able to find a baby-sitter for our three children to busying myself with my own ministry to the women and youth in the area.
I had three translations of the Bible on my shelves and a library of Christian books. Few had been read. As a result, I felt like a flat camel! The nourishment that should have been stored in my hump was gone! I would be on duty during the church service so I would seldom even get in to the chapel to participate in the corporate worship.
I was busy with spiritual stuff, but it was all output and no intake. The inevitable result was a desert experience.
The drier I got, the more irritating my children became. “My kids are driving me crazy,” I complained to a friend. “Jill,” she said gently, “your children don’t create your attitude, they reveal it!” I knew she was right. When you are thirsty, you can see mirages. Satan aided in this. “Everything is fine,” he assured me. “You have a meeting every night of the week, and people are coming to the house day and night to get help. Don’t stop doing what you are doing,” he intoned in my ear. “In fact you could squeeze a couple of more things in on your only day off.” I listened and complied, not recognizing his voice. After all, surely there was spiritual merit in burning out for Jesus.
“Actually there is greater merit in burning on for Jesus,” whispered the Spirit of God in my ear, but I thought the still, small whisper was the wind. Busyness doesn’t have to be wrong. It is busyness God has not authorized that is wrong. Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him that sent Me while it is day; the night comes when no one can work.” At the end of His life He was able to say, “I have finished the work You gave Me to ...
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