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The Word for Today

by Bob and Debby Gass

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‘…the bush burned…yet was not consumed.’ Exodus 3:2 AMP

Remember the story of the burning bush? It burned, but it didn’t burn out. Some people who once burned for God have burned out. Loyal workers in the church for years, suddenly they vanish. Herbert J. Freudenberger, a psychologist, describes burnout as ‘fatigue brought about by devotion to a cause that failed to produce the expected reward’. So how can you avoid burnout? First, seek God’s input. ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault…’ (James 1:5 NIV) God is an expert; consult Him. Secondly, realign your priorities. Too many irons in the fire mean none of them gets adequate attention. Learn to say no. Your family will appreciate it, even if others don’t. Thirdly, practise the art of thanksgiving. Freudenberger says, ‘Get into the habit of noticing-and nurturing-the unspectacular good things that happen to you.’ Next, learn the art of physical relaxation. Take ten or twenty minutes at the end of the day to sit in a comfortable chair and enjoy a good stretch. Coax your body and mind to relax. Imagine yourself basking on a warm beach. How about exercising? It’s one of the best antibiotics for burnout. But pick what works for you, not what stresses you. You could develop your own relief devices; take a walk; read a good book; try a little creative loafing. As James Thurber quipped, ‘It’s better to have loafed and lost, than never to have loafed at all.’ Finally, find someone to share with. Shutting yourself off increases the problem rather than solving it. Find someone you trust to talk with.

SoulFood: Lev 24:17-22, Deut 15:7-11, Matt 5:38-48

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2011

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