Feeling burnt out?

Do you ever feel burnt out?

Gewinner

A little bit concerned that you’re on your last match . . and that you’ve met your match?  🙂

Me too.

Tired, weary, dismayed, discouraged, worried, fatigued, confused, exhausted, done-in?

Yes.

Have you ever noticed it’s easiest to trust in God’s strength and sing about our dependance on Him when we’re relying mostly on our own strength and feeling pretty independent of Him?

There’s something deep in our fallen nature that thinks, If I’m done-in, God can’t work in me.  Or in other words, God needs my strength to fulfill His purposes.

I am sure God deliberately weakens us at times so that we will wake up to our need for Him.

A newborn puppy close to his mother doesn’t have to think about his need for her.  She is simply there for him.  But should she get up an walk away for a few moments, he finds himself utterly dependent on her.  He whimpers and squeaks as he tries to find where his source of everything went.

God can use us even when we have no strength left of our own.  Actually, He can use us best when we realize that strength is outsourced from Him, and not produced in some factory of self-effort.  When our last match is burnt out, we must rely on His Light to fill us with hope and rejuvenation.  And it’s in those times that we realize that every effort we had thought was self-made . . is actually a gift from Him.

When we strike-out our last match, we need to remember nothing from God can be done by our own strength.  Maybe, in that time of burn-out, we will at last begin to surrender to God’s work . . and we will at last begin to actually accomplish something.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV)

 

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The Chapter of Love I Didn’t Understand

We were only going to be in Guatemala for 4 short days on a mission trip and, at the Miami airport, I made it clear to the new guy I’d met: I didn’t want to see any more of him.

Or I thought I’d made it clear.  As my roommate for the trip talked to him, I held my socially-polite-but-clear distance.  I thought immediately he was interested in me, and I wasn’t interested at all in him.

First, he was waiting for something, and I didn’t understand what.  He was sitting on the wall of the airport, not in a seat, even though there were lots of empty seats.  It was like he was lurking there waiting for me–even though he didn’t yet know me–to come into the airport.

Second, he looked scary to me.  He had eyes that are the color they usually give to serial killers in movies.

Third, he was doing something I didn’t understand.  He was seated there cross-stitching.  I don’t know guys who cross-stitch and, even though it was a mountain scene, I immediately drew the conclusion that he had to be a weird guy.

Fourth, I thought because of all the other reasons he was not cool.  I lived my whole teenage life in this category, and I didn’t want to associate with the not cool, not this time.  In every day life, sure, God, but not on this mission trip.  (Very logical.)  My roommate was a beautiful, immediately magnetizing young woman and I wanted to be with the in-crowd like her.

The thing I didn’t understand was that she kept talking to Ben.  She made a point to seek him out during our trip.  She would invite him to sit with us, stop to say hello when we walked past him, and just chill out with him.  He was a part of her family group and she just simply got to know him.  She would talk with him and about him casually, and I could tell she was neither afraid of him as a serial killer or for the possibility of making her uncool.

I began to realize something.  I didn’t understand Ben.  And the more time I edged out of my judgmental shell to get to know him, the more I realized how much I didn’t understand him.

He didn’t like to lurk; he just likes to sit places at different angles than most people and contemplate things.

He couldn’t help the color of his eyes and, even though they were frightening to me at first, they became stunningly beautiful the more I began to trust him.

He does do things that most guys don’t do.  He still opens car doors for me; he picks up around the house; he works on projects for me (like this website) for hours at a time without expecting a single thank-you; he’s gentle when he has every right to be angry with me; and he takes care of me when I’m sick in a way that’s more nurturing than I’ve ever known.  He does do things that most guys don’t do.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Is he cool or uncool?  I don’t know.  Probably depends on who you ask on what day at what time.  Like me, he’s different than most people.  I wasn’t willing to risk the uncool even though I myself am the queen of uncool (what an irony) to get to know him.  But once I began to see the possibility for love, the quickly-morphing status of whether we are cool or not began to slip from my mind like sand between my fingers.

I didn’t understand Ben, and, in a way, this story reminds me of someone else I didn’t understand: God.

First, God was waiting for something from me, and I didn’t understand what.  I thought maybe I had to do better to earn His love, or find just the right words to please Him, or repeat prayers over and over.  I didn’t really realize that what He wanted was for me to believe in Him.

Second, God looked scary to me.  I didn’t trust His nature.  I didn’t understand who He was, and I based my perceptions of Him more on what people had told me and twistings of Scripture than on what God really says about Himself in Scripture.  I hadn’t read much of the Bible, and as I began to read (especially John and Romans), I began to see the character of who God really is.

Third, he was doing something I didn’t understand.  He was pursuing me, and we have it ingrained in our mind that God does not pursue wretches.  The cross is easy to understand from a factual standpoint, but hard to understand at the heart level.  That God–GOD Himself–would give Himself for us is beyond our understanding.  The more we delve into and contemplate this, the deeper the mystery becomes.

Fourth, I thought God was not cool.  I was afraid of Him, I didn’t understand Him, and I thought the people who have all the fun are unbelievers.  What I came to see is that, when you hear God’s heartbeat, you are astonished you ever worried about anything other than His love.  To have God’s love is to have everything; to miss out on God’s love is to have worse than nothing.  Losing friends, parties, social status, or facebook ‘likes’ because of God is no hardship when you realize that you have gained the love of God.  God’s love is the greatest romance of all and being known by Him is the most unbelievable privilege in the universe.

. . are you unaware of his rich kindness, forbearance, and patience, that it is God’s kindness that is leading you to repent? (from Romans 2:4, ISV)

 

Published in: on April 26, 2014 at 8:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Heartbeat of Character

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Do you want to have the highest character you can possibly have?

Do you want the finest jewel of self quality?

Then love.

Yes, love.

1 Corinthians 13 spells it out: the most precious, the best, and the most valuable gift you can have is to love.

Love.

Not a frilly, lacy, doily love that’s set out for Sunday brunches, but a real, in-the-depths-of-need love for breath-to-breath living . . and for eternity.

Love, real love, love that changes the world, love that changes you, is love from God’s heart.

Love is the heartbeat of God.

So if you want to love, you must listen to God’s heartbeat.

And you can, because it’s rhythm is recorded, in EKG calligraphy, in 1 Corinthians 13.

Listen to His heartbeat.

Love.

Listen to it, and you hear its supernatural, only-from-God rhythm.  The only way you can ever have it is if God gives it.  And He does.  Freely.

Ask Him to touch your heart, to change its dead pulse to His thunderous beat of everlasting love.

And you will have the heartbeat of character.

Love.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT)

 

 

 

 

Published in: on April 26, 2014 at 7:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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