Preserving Your Fire
You know those points in your life where you feel like your river has run dry? You’ve been attending Christian events all summer, been maintaining your leadership roles, never missed church, and have been lending a listening ear to your friends more times than you can count. Yet still you feel this strong conviction to “come back to God.” You probably don’t really understand this conviction because you don’t think you’ve ‘left’ God, simply because you’ve been doing all these “Christian type” things. But in reality, He may be explaining to you that you are burning out, and need a little push to continue serving Him out there in your community. Pushes like these are needed, but when you constantly feel burnt out, you may need to reevaluate your personal walk with God. Are you consistently pursuing Him for the sake of your own spiritual being, or are you just doing what they call ‘church’? Are you not sure how to balance your ministry work and personal walk with God?
Here are two simple steps to push you in the right direction:
Push yourself to start your day off with God
Of course this is the most important, yet most overlooked, step that Christians need in order to cultivate a fruitful relationship with God. It could be that the only time we seem to remember to pray is if we’re on a conference call praying for an upcoming event. Even if you are a leader of a ministry or a newborn Christian, it is okay, and very important, to pray for yourself. It’s easier said than done when you’re more focused on all the things you need to get done. Especially when the first thing you check is the thousands of unread messages from your leadership GroupMe(s). As redundant as it sounds, it is very true that starting off your day by committing it to Jesus will guarantee you a less stressful day than if you don’t. Just talk to God. Tell Him your plans for the day and ask Him what He has planned for you today, and today only (Matthew 6:34). Ask Him what you’ve been dying to know about Him, or how to go about certain things you go through in your everyday life. Ask Him to teach you new things throughout the day. Simple things like this can bring you into deeper intimacy with God.
Wind Down and Go where God leads you
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our ministry work, we don’t even realize that at some points we have stopped flowing out of relationship and intimacy, but simply out of obligation. Let’s look at the story in Luke 10:38-42, when Jesus went to the home of Martha and her sister, Mary. Martha was busy serving and preparing a meal for Jesus, while Mary chose to lay at his feet and fellowship with him. Jesus told Martha that she is “worried and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41). In some instances in ministry, we become like Martha, trying to quickly handle all our responsibilities at once, that we become easily troubled by the many things that we have to do. Yes, ministry work can sometimes be difficult, but it is more challenging when we toil to get it done. If you are in this predicament, it’s time to slow down and seek the Lord’s face. Ask yourself, “Who and what am I doing this for? What type of heart do I have towards serving?” If the answers are because you feel obligated, ask God for redirection and rest until He gives you the go ahead. It is not our job to stress and worry about what is to be done, but it is our job to trust that God knows best.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
We often take on responsibilities that we are not called to do. This leads to more toiling. When Jesus was calling one man to be his disciple, the man said, “First, let me go bury my Father.” Jesus then answers, “Let the dead bury the dead. Follow me” (Luke 9:59-60). Who really knows why he wanted to wait to bury his father before he went to become a disciple, but Jesus knew that he should be following Him instead. It is much more difficult to handle your ministry work when you’re doing it without God’s grace. You do not need to attend every event or be apart of every leadership team for the sake of it. If God is not leading you, don’t force yourself to go! Talk to God and ask Him where you are called to lead, serve, and attend. These are the times where it is okay to say, “I’ll pray about it” when asked to take on a new role in ministry. Trust me, this will save you so much drama and unneeded stress.
The main ingredient in preserving your fire is to simply put God first. Remember why you’re doing all this! You are doing this to serve the Creator, to bring heaven on Earth, to do His will, and because you love Him. It is all for Him. Once ministry begins to flow out of intimacy from your personal relationship with God, you will never have to worry about being burnt out or losing your zeal. As God cares more about our relationship with Him than how many leadership titles we have, so should we.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.