Running on empty


We don’t get too far on empty, unless we want to push the car.

1 Corinthians 13:

If we love, it will be expressed in actions. We know what some of those actions will be; we know what love looks like in practice.

But it is so easy to fall into doing the works, without evaluating if we are motivated by love, or only wanting to “do what is right”. Apparently, from reading the passage above, it is possible to do all of the visible works that could be an expression of love, but do them without love: prophecy, sacrifice, speaking in tongues, mountain-moving faith and the rest.

All of these things can be empty, void of the most important ingredient. We do them as part of our routine, and run the risk of falling into self-righteousness. I see so many Christians get burned out, fall into discouragement and want to quit as a result of running on empty.

We can evaluate our “love level” by observing our complaints and frustrations:

  • Do we get frustrated if our efforts aren’t appreciated?
  • Are we becoming weary of doing what we are expected to do?
  • Does it bother us when situations seem unfair to us?
  • Is it irritating to us when others don’t do their part to help us in our work?
  • Do we complain about other people’s attitudes?

I’m not saying that if we love others that all these problems will disappear, but at least we will be able to deal with the source.

But if we do find that our love has cooled off somewhat toward those that we help, what can we do to rekindle it? I believe that as we focus on God’s love for us and for others, we will find that our love will grow. Considering the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and his unconditional love that is our source of love, we can tap into it and be renewed.

And as with many problems, when we realize that we have the problem we are halfway to the solution. 

What are your symptoms of burnout and how have you dealt with them?



3 thoughts on “Running on empty

  1. I find when I am getting burnt out it is a wake up call that maybe I am missing God’s will on my life. I need to take a time out reevaluate my priorities, pluck out the time wasters and unneeded energy stealers( saying yes too much), and most importantly making sure that I am properly filling up on God’s word. It seems when life gets super hectic I seem to wane on my time with the Lord.
    Great post, thanks for sharing. ~Blessings~

      • In one church we attended, we were told, “You never say ‘NO’ to the pastor or ministry gifts when they ask for your help. As a result, I ended up “helping” way more than was actually feasible for me. While I did have talents for business / leadership, leading worship and teaching, the church should have actually hired and procured other people to do many of the jobs I was in charge of. I didn’t really mind, except that because I did the jobs to certain people’s satisfaction, they refused to have anyone else work with them. Others had been willing but were not engaged. I soon began to feel like I needed “help” Then, quite coincidentally, I felt led to begin creating gift baskets for new-comers, for new births/new moms and also for the grieving. These became quite a valued tool ( expensed out of my own pocket, of course)the time they required cut into other things. I gave “notice” but no one wanted to let me off of my many church “duties”. These duties were already interfering with homeschooling my kids and working from home. This became a quandary to me as different ones let me know I wasn’t being “obedient”, or that I was “missing it”. I finally had to put my foot down . The backlash wasn’t pretty. It shouldn’t have been that way. The Pastor and Assistant Pastor felt compelled to write me a long letter detailing my faults and lack of obedience. I was a bit hurt. Then I read, “Boundaries” by Townsend and another Dr. I had had a case of the “good-christian-shoulds” and was finally cured~

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