burnoutIt seems like there are more and more workshops aimed at reducing stress and avoiding burnout.  These topics have become increasingly challenging to parents, church leaders and Christian educators over the past several decades.  One of the evidences of stress and burnout in Christian’s lives is the number of people involved in ministry who are walking away from their service to the Lord.

I must admit that there have been days when I have felt totally overwhelmed and thoughts of retiring all together crossed my mind.  However, I have learned two important keys to keeping stress out of my life and helping me to avoid burnout.  I believe that these two keys can help you in the same way they have helped me keep going when tired and rundown.

Sundays are very special days for me.  Recently I have taken time to watch the early service at Word of God Ministries while preparing for worship at my own church.  The pastor at WOGM is James McMenis.  I had the privilege of training the teachers of their Christian school and speaking at the church’s monthly men’s luncheon.  I was impressed by McMenis’ commitment to the truth of God’s Word.

The past couple of weeks he has been preaching through a series titled, For the REST of Your Life.  This week He looked at the importance of the Sabbath rest that God gave to Abraham and his descendants.  It was while I was listening to the message that the two keys to reducing stress were referred to by McMenis.  He shared with his church that the Sabbath Day of rest was given to God’s children and it was a day to cease and celebrate.

burnout - relieve stressGod knows how busy our lives can become.  He knew that after six days of work man would need a day to rest.  If we fail to do this, we will be susceptible to burnout and, even more seriously,  to succumbing to Satan’s attacks.  I have realized that at my age my muscles are not as strong as they used to be.  Because of this I don’t have the flexibility and balance that I once had.  It became necessary for me to begin a stretching regimen to keep my body toned and improve my strength and flexibility

burnout - rest:ceaseAs I started this program of exercise, over and over again, the program warned of trying to do too much at one time.  The instructions were emphatic on the need to rest between each set of exercises and then to take a longer rest time after each workout.  The purpose for this rest was to give the muscles opportunity to recover and be restored for the next round of workouts.  McMenis pointed out that the word rest is the first part of the word restore.

We are to cease from all of our labor and rest for one day.  As we do this, God will restore us so that we will be better prepared for the next six days of busyness and labor.  I have found that it is becoming more of an exception than the norm for Christians to cease from all their labor for a day of rest.

The second key to reducing stress was found in the word, celebrate.  McMenis effectively showed that one of the main reasons God commands us to cease from our work and rest is for us to celebrate, but celebrate what or who?  When the children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt, God told Moses to take the people away from their work and celebrate who God is and what God has done.  While we are to cease from our labor, we are never to cease from our celebration of who God is and and what He has done in our lives.

God's kingdom crossIt was interesting to learn how Pharaoh and the Egyptian taskmasters refused to let Israel rest or celebrate.  They were their enemy and, like Satan our enemy, knew that the best way to keep the people in bondage was to not allow them to cease or celebrate.

Then McMenis said something that made it all come together and make perfect sense.  Like McMenis, I can remember the special times our family came together at my grandmother’s house.  On these special occasions there was great fellowship and, better yet, great food.  While at these special days, we were restored and strengthened for the difficult days ahead.

One of the results of this ceasing and celebrating was the development of an attitude of gratefulness.  It was when I was thinking about this concept that McMenis said something so powerful.  He said, when Christians increase their gratitude toward God, He becomes bigger in their lives.  At the same time, when we are always griping and complaining, God becomes smaller and smaller to us.

Serving the Lord in ministry and trying to fulfill our family responsibilities are difficult and exhausting.  If we want to reduce stress in our lives and avoid burnout, we must obey God’s instructions to make the Lord’s Day a day of ceasing and celebrating.  I pray that you will continue keeping the Lord’s Day special and, if it isn’t a day of ceasing and celebrating, be determined to do so right away.

The key to knowing if you have to make a change in your life related to this principle, simply answer this question.  How Big Is God In Your Life?

After hearing this message this morning, I was more focused on celebrating God when I went to my church.  One of the songs we sang really helped me understand how to cease and celebrate.  I trust these words will help you be grateful and make God bigger in your life.  The first verse is all about reducing stress and, when this happens, we won’t burnout.  I have highlighted some of the key things that I must do to make God bigger in my life.  Have a great week!burnout - gratitude

All the worries of this world
I will lay them at your feet
Surrender every anxious thought
For perfect peace
Your perfect peace

Oh the loved ones I hold dear
All my hopes and dreams and all my fears
I will choose to trust your name
In everything
With everything

I will look up for there is none above you
I will bow down to tell you that I need you
Jesus, Lord of all
Jesus, Lord of all

I will take you at your word
Jesus you have taken hold of me
All my life is in your hands
You’re my strength
You’re my strength

I will look up for there is none above you
I will bow down to tell you that I need you
Jesus, Lord of all
Jesus, Lord of all
I will look back and see that you are faithful
I look ahead believing you are able
Jesus, Lord of all
Jesus, Lord of All

Prince of Peace
Perfect Healer
All my life, all my cares on you
King of Kings
Mighty Savior
All my life, all my cares on you

Prince of Peace
Perfect Healer
All my life, all my cares on you
King of Kings
Mighty Savior
All my life, all my cares on you

I will look up for there is none above you
I will bow down to tell you that I need you
Jesus, Lord of all
Jesus, Lord of all
I will look back and see that you are faithful
I look ahead believing you are able
Jesus, Lord of all
Jesus, Lord of All

You are Jesus, Lord of All
Our God is Jesus, Lord of All
You are Jesus, Lord of All

Be sure to share any comments you might have.

Burnout - learning

Glen Schultz

Author Glen Schultz

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