Monday, July 27, 2015

Beware the Burnout

These long, hot, South Carolina summer days are hard on my air conditioner, which is only about 10 years shy of being as old as I am (not that that's old for people, mind you.)  For air conditioners, however, that's a long life, and with every passing year, the poor thing reminds us just how tired and weary it has become.

On 90°+ days, the air will kick on before lunch time and run non-stop until the wee hours of the next morning.  Let's face it, air conditioners simply aren't made for that kind of consistent running.  And it's not like we keep the house all that cool.  The thermostat is set for 73° during the day and 68° at night.  Hardly the arctic.

Because of its inefficiency, the poor thing will run itself into a state of total exhaustion.  In other words, it freezes up completely.  Yep, after hours of constant running, it gives out and locks down.  The sound of the motor changes into a funky roar, which is my cue to turn the air off until the unit has had a chance to recover and pray that the house doesn't grow too warm in the process.  Just another one of those quirks I've talked about that come with owning an old house full of old equipment.

When the air conditioner decided to throw one of its fits the other day, to be honest, I wanted to join it.  After dancing the dance with my washing machine (see that post here if you have no idea what I'm talking about) and combatting both the ants and fleas that are determined to invade my home, I had honestly had quite enough.  Like my air unit, I felt like I had been running nonstop, and I was tired and weary.  I felt like locking up and shutting down.  After all, it seemed easier than to keep trying to fight these same battles over and over again.

What I had nearly forgotten (praise the Lord for "nearly") was that there was a third option.  Choice number one was to keep running and keep fighting until I finally dropped from exhaustion.  Choice number two was to quit before I reached that point.  Choice number three somewhat combined the first two as it involved my continuance in running and fighting but to quit trying to do it in my own strength.  Don't quit the race; just quit trying to run it on my own.

With that gentle reminder from the Lord, I turned off the air and took a few moments in the silence to be still before the Lord.  I turned my day and my work over to Him, along with all my frustrations and weariness.  I prayed that He would accomplish His work through me and that I would be a willing vessel.  And you know what?  The weariness lifted.  The frustrations eased.  And I felt like I could go on.

We live in hectic times, and it is harder than ever to be still.  There is so much to do, so many tasks to accomplish.  But, friend, remember burnout is real!  And it happens when we get so busy doing that we forget why we're doing it and Who we're doing it for.  It also occurs when we get so caught up in the process of getting things done that we take on each day's battles on our own, forgetting that Jesus said, "Without me, ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).

Yes, there is much to do, but God never called us to do it alone.  On the contrary, He promised to always be with us and to be our strength.  Stop stressing.  Stop running yourself to the point of exhaustion.  Give your burden to Jesus and allow Him to work through you.  In His strength, you'll be able to accomplish all that He wants you to do, and you won't suffer a burnout in the process.

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. - II Thessalonians 3:13

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