In today’s world, every other Christian woman you meet is almost always in survival mode. She is trying to effectively hold it all together and still be the ultimate “It Girl”- looking, smelling and feeling good. The demands of a job or business, being a wife, raising children, being a daughter, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, and friend, can take their toll. Add ministry commitments to these and she’s just about ready to collapse.
What do you do when you’re feeling burnt out, lacking in gentleness, joy and enthusiasm, and you have no idea how you can get through another day? Try stepping into your quiet place of fellowship with the Paraclete, and ask yourself these questions, pen and paper in hand:
1. Where am I feeling most drained? Is it my body, my emotions, my mind or my spirit that’s in the red? Then come up with steps to feed that area. If you already know what nourishes and refreshes you physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually, then make time for it ASAP. We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices, one of which is to wear us down so that we are unable to function properly and we are super-vulnerable to temptation.
2. What are my weaknesses? Some of us are stronger physically than we are mentally, so when stress comes we feel it first in our minds. For others, the reverse is the case; the body is the first to alert you to stress and pressure. When you get that signal, draw on God’s supply of grace to do what you need to do. Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses because whether you like it or not, you’re a soldier. The enemy knows your weak points and that’s where he’s going to attack you first and most often; he doesn’t fight fair.
3. What are my strengths? God gifted you so that you can do His work, so your God-given ministry will draw on your God-given strengths. We can only imagine the spiritual, physical and emotional energy Elijah expended in building the altar and then executing 450 evil prophets. Right after this, we see him go into depression, exhausted spiritually, mentally and spiritually. If the enemy can’t get you through your weaknesses, he’ll come after you in the area of your strengths – pushing you to wear yourself out doing the right thing. Be wise, and take advantage of the refreshing and renewal God always makes available.
4. What are my priorities? Your time and energy are not limitless, they are finite. What things will make you feel successful in the light of eternity? You cannot invest equal amounts of energy into your marriage and any friendship, neither can you take the same time to nurture your hobbies the way you do your children. Know the order of priority so that you can know what needs to take a back seat when necessary.
5. Am I taking care of myself? After your relationship with God, you should tend to your relationship with yourself. After your conversations with God, your conversations with yourself are the next important thing. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t give what you don’t have. If you don’t eat well and rest well, you won’t be effective running around and serving others. If you’re not prayed up and full of the Word, you cannot preach to others and intercede for them. You can only minister out what has been ministered in.
6. Have I over-committed myself? You are not anyone’s Holy Spirit. You cannot be there for everyone all the time, or even there for any single person all the time. Stop trying to play God. Know your limits and know when it’s time to commit a person – even your children – into the hands of the One who loves them more than you ever could. Let God be God in their lives.
7. What motivates me? Why do you do the things you do? Why are you in two departments in church? Are you living your life for God’s glory or man’s praise? God’s love for you does not depend on how hard you work. You cannot earn it, He loves you unconditionally. Live your life with this knowledge. What’s the real reason why your children’s school is so far away? Are there truly no alternatives to that job that keeps you on the road for 6 hours every day? What about the toll on your health, your marriage, and your calling? Are you pushing yourself so hard for purpose, or just to accumulate wealth? Unless you get rid of weights, you’ll never be able to soar.
As you prayerfully audit your life, listen to the Holy Spirit and be ready to obey. Then your life will be fruitful and you will walk in the peace that comes from being in the centre of God’s will.