God Gave Me a Break (Another look at burnout)

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Do you know what God did for me today? He literally gave me a break.

This week I decided to attend a nondenominational church I often visit, especially because I knew the pastor would be talking about marriage. I left having connected with the Holy Spirit and gained some food for thought about relationships. I then headed to my home church to catch part of service and most importantly, to teach my Sunday School class.

All was going as planned until I rounded up the teenage boys who comprise my class. As I waited for the last two to come out of the sanctuary and head upstairs, I found that no one was in the classroom. When I looked back, the other two had also disappeared. I spent a good 10-15 minutes searching the entire church twice and even the parking lot, only managing to find one of my 6-7 students.

Giving up the search, I headed back to my classroom defeated and I decided to pray. I’ve been challenged quite a lot through this class; whether it be with my students’ questions or personal feelings of failure. There have been many times I’ve come home feeling rejected by my students’ lack of interest that day. I’ve often questioned whether I was the right person to be teaching and whether I’d correctly read God’s will for me.

I want to share my prayer from this afternoon:

Father, today my students literally hid from me in order to not go to class. A part of me is hurt by that but then…I shouldn’t take it personally.

Father, at times like these I wonder if this is really what you’ve called me to. How capable am I really? But I know you don’t need me to help these kids understand you. I only need to be willing and you’ll take care of the rest. So, I put these kids in your hands and ask you to bless them with a keen interest to know and love you. Open their hearts to a deep understanding of your love. Draw them into strong personal relationships with you. Let their lives be centered on you and you alone. Help them turn to you and rely on you. Let them know that only you can provide the fulfillment they seek.

Father, please use me as you see fit. Be with me and guide me and bless me in this ministry you’ve given me. Encourage me, Father, and help me be heartened. In your name I pray, Amen.

The one thing that guarantees burnout is the fear that whatever you’re doing has been useless or is not appreciated. More than anything, that is what drains me of the desire to continue. However, what I thought of today was the post I put up earlier this week, especially this quote – “Take the time to be fed so that you can effectively feed others.”.

I re-read that post and I realized that today, God allowed me to take the time to be fed through the morning sermon and through the fellowship of friends at my home church.

Yes, I feel discouraged by what happened today but maybe God wanted me to take a break. And in that case, it just makes me more capable to “effectively feed others”.

Also, I may not have held class today, but I did have the opportunity to pray for my students and that is probably the most powerful thing I will ever do for them.

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