“It is scary to realize that the path to external success and internal emptiness can be the same road” I read this in a book I am now reading on “Pastoring and Leading a Church”. The quote is talking about the state of being “out of gas” emotionally. It is also called burnout, depression, and exhaustion. In the first 15 years of ministry I was in a constant state of being “empty”, out of gas, and in what I used to call a “blue funk”. When I was in that place it was hard to motivate myself to do anything, I didn’t want to set goals, I didn’t want to think about the future, I was full of self pity, and I wasn’t much fun to be around. I took me awhile, but I finally learned what it took to fill my “gas tank up” and to keep it full. Ministry is a lot more fun now, both for me and those who are around me.
One major key for me was to read my Bible every day and never miss a day. Psalms 119:165 says, “those who love your law have great peace and nothing causes them to stumble”. Missing a day of Bible reading is like going a day without eating, you will feel tired. With food you will feel physically tired, but when you miss one day of Bible reading the tiredness is emotional and spiritual. Instead of our physical body feeling tired our soul feels tired. Another key was to spend time with God in prayer, devoted time, that is we are not doing anything else, just praying. Just 15 minutes every day will make a huge difference. It is amazing how few people do this with any degree of regularity. The time we give to people communicates how much we love those individuals, and the same is true of God. If all we give God is time in which we are also doing something else, left over time, convenient time, it is not very honoring of Him and it clearly communicates that God is not worth devoted time to us.
It isn’t rocket science, but most never get it. God is all powerful and He loves to give His strength, joy and peace to those who give Him time. Great trade.