Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Cure for Burnout

I don't know about you all, but I woke up this morning just feeling totally burned out from head to toe. You probably know the feeling . . . physically tired, emotionally spent, mentally strained, and just plain worn out. I think we all get there sometimes. For me, I know I'm in this burnout stage because of heavy demands at work, lots of social obligations, and feeling pressure to spend every waking moment I'm not at the office or with friends researching and writing that Moot Court problem. Just in general, this has been a summer of steep learning curves and a barrage of new experiences, many of them awkward, stressful, and intellectually or emotionally challenging. I'd known I was looking at a challenging couple of months, and I embrace that fully and I love stretching myself to meet new demands, but after awhile it can leave you feeling just TIRED, and kind of like me right now . . . how many days of work and writing do I have left before vacation??!

As a Christian, I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and that promise has been a life raft many a time in the past months. ALL things. But what does it actually mean to have Christ strengthening us? What does that look like in our lives?

My pastor has been doing a sermon series on the book of Ephesians lately, and he's pointed out just how many times this little epistle, even in the first chapter, proclaims that we are "in Christ" or have blessings "in Christ." We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ . . . God chose us in Christ . . . In Christ we have redemption through his blood . . . In Christ we were also chosen . . . and I could go on and on. IN CHRIST. My pastor has pointed out the truly earth-shattering implications of this beautiful truth: if we are truly in Christ, everything Christ has is ours too, and everything He can do, we also can do through his power at work within us! Your total inability coupled with Christ's total ability is more than enough power for you to do anything, anywhere, for anyone. Maybe you can't, but He can, and he shares his ability with you! He works through you and infuses His strength into you.

In Ephesians 1, Paul prays that the saints would know God's "incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms." Yes, this does mean what you think it means--the SAME POWER that raised Christ from the grave, rolled away the stone, and defeated the powers of sin, death, and hell is at work within all of us who believe. Resurrection power resides within you. The Greek word used in this passage for "power" is the same word from which we get our English word "dynamite." It is shattering, it is explosive, and it's strong enough to deal a death blow to whatever empty, ineffective, and ungodly lives we may have lived before. God has given his greatest power directly to us to reside within us--the greatest show of his strength in all of history was the raising of His only Son from the dead, and THAT is exactly the power he chooses to give to us! It is incomparably great. We can't really plumb its depths. The eyes of our heart have to be enlightened if we are to even understand it at all (see Ephesians 1:18). The power that not only raised Christ from the dead but seated Him in the heavens, far above all rule and authority, is ours too because we are in Christ. All of our ineffectiveness is swallowed up in his total effectiveness; all of our weakness is overpowered by His mighty strength. Everything that we cannot do or be, He can, and is. Because He can, we can.

And this is the power that we can hold onto when the world pulls us into its exhausting spiral of never-ending demands and obligations and commitments, leaving us tired and drained--we have a greater power at work within us, and no challenge we could ever face is equal to that power. Greater is the strength that lies within us in Christ than ANY challenge the world could ever throw our way.

Remember Philippians 4:13: I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me [I am equal to anything and ready for anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency.] (Amplified Bible)

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