Are You A Burned Out Christian?

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Many times we think of burned out Christians as Christian leaders, but there are a lot of burned out Christians serving in in volunteer ministry, too.

Are you one of those burned out Christians, afraid to let people down?

Maybe you’re a chronic “yes”-sayer, afraid your “no” will disappoint God; or maybe you know for certain that where you’re serving is where you ought to be, but your service isn’t rewarding and you feel trapped.

man and woman sitting on couch tired

We’ve all been in one or more of those scenarios.

We’ve had too many commitments and not enough time; and yet we kept hearing the message, “We all have the same 24 hours. If others can, so can you.”

So, we kept on, feeling guilt and condemnation for our inability to keep up, and the exhaustion that kept building day after day.

The message isn’t true, by the way.

Yes, it’s true that we all have the same 24 hours, but we don’t all have the same load. Furthermore, we don’t all have the same load limit.

Some were meant to carry more, others were meant to carry less.

So, if you’ve believed that message, I hope you get freedom today, because that message isn’t from God. In fact, we’ll discover that Jesus, himself, said just the opposite!

Are You A Burned Out Christian?

I do believe that church service can bring a specific kind of burn out, because of our sense of duty to the work of the Lord and service to His people.

When we might ordinarily step away from any other commitment, we continue on in our church commitments long past our ability to give quality service, because we somehow feel that stepping away will let God down.

Can I tell you something? It doesn’t.

Are you resting in God?

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

This verse sets the tone for all of our service to God.

Our service to God should be restful service; not driven service, not demanding service, and not service that drives us to exhaustion.

If your service to God drives you to exhaustion, there is something wrong with your service.

Elizabeth Elliot said this in her book Secure In the Everlasting Arms

One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.

Elizabeth Elliot – Secure in the Everlasting Arms

Exhausting yourself in God’s service doesn’t prove to God how devoted you are, it proves that you are serving in your own strength.

It proves that we’re serving from a place of fear and insecurity.

Fear that if we don’t do all of the things, our ministry will fall apart; insecurity that if we don’t do all of the things, God will be displeased.

Both of these feelings are rooted in a lie from the enemy to keep us bound to our fear, pride, and distorted image of God.

Avoiding burn out as a Christian requires resting in God.

Are you laboring in vain?

“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” Psalm 127:1

If you’re engaged in restful service to God, you will not labor in vain.

It is when we assume that success or failure of our ministry depends on us that we begin laboring in vain.

The Hebrew meaning of the word here is really interesting, it not only means worthless or emptiness, but it also means false and lying.

When we serve in the church out of our own strength – out of a mistaken notion that if we don’t do all the things, it will fall apart and God will be displeased, we’re building a false house to God.

In reality, we’re building a house of worship to ourselves.

It’s not really God’s house if it’s built on our own reputation: be that our reputation in the church or community, or our reputation to God.

Houses built on our own reputation are temples built to our own worship.

But if we will lay aside our own reputation and our own sense of duty, and remember that God must build this house, we will stop feeling so driven.

Suddenly, it’s not as important if we do “all of the things”, because whether they get done or not will not impact the results.

Because it is God who gives the increase; not the things.

This isn’t lazy service; this doesn’t mean we give God less than 100%, but it’s the motivation with which we give our service.

Because we’re giving our service to God, not to our reputation.

And now we can engage in restful service, knowing that our labor doesn’t produce the results.

Our labor is worshipful, not result-oriented.

The Lord will build the house as we serve with worshipful and restful service.

Are you serving with a passion for the lost?

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6

There is nothing like driven service and laboring in vain to steal our passion for lost souls.

Driven service is service with a wrong vision and goal.

The goal shouldn’t be the service itself.

The goal shouldn’t be an exciting children’s program, award-winning worship songs or CD, or even large, influential church.

The goal should always be lost souls.

In Psalm 126, the writer was describing the joy of God’s people returning from captivity after 70 years of exile in Babylon.

Some had spent their entire lives in captivity; they didn’t even know what freedom was.

There are millions in the world today who have spent their entire lives in captivity to sin; they don’t know what freedom is.

They need us to sow in tears; in passionate tears for their release; crying out, “Bring back our captivity, O Lord!” (Psalm 126:4)

As we sow in restful, worshipful ministry, continually going forth weeping, back and forth across the fields of lost souls, bearing the seed of God’s word for sowing, we will doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing our sheaves with us.

We will not come to God’s house, weighed down with expectations and exhaustion; we will come rejoicing!

Rejoicing in faith, knowing that we sow, God gives the increase.

We serve worshipfully and restfully, and God builds the house.

And one day, we will come with great rejoicing bringing in sheaves of the harvest of souls won for Jesus Christ!

Dear sister, if this is you; if you’ve been burned out serving God in lay ministry, part-time, or full-time ministry, I’ve been there.

I’ve walked through the burn out, the disillusionment, and the exhaustion of ministry.

I’m here to tell you, this isn’t of God.

The burdensome expectations that you sacrifice precious time with your family to serve God isn’t a biblical expectation.

The inner pressure to say yes because you’re afraid to say no, isn’t from God.

So many times, this pressure comes from our own insecurity and uncertainty of who we are in Christ.

When we know who we are in Christ, we know what Christ expects of us.

And we can rest in knowing that service to Christ isn’t burdensome or driven; it’s restful, worshipful service.

And when we know who Christ is, we can release our grip on our service.

We’re free to just serve Him worshipfully, knowing that the results don’t depend on us; they depend on Him!

This post is part of the Blogging Through the Bible series with Good Morning Girls

3 Characteristics of a Person of Integrity

How to Keep a Steady Heart in Times of Crisis

3 Promises for Those Who Study the Works of God

43 Life-Changing Verses About the Bible from Psalm 119

5 Ways to Respond When You’re Under Attack

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