Empty. Exhausted. Frustrated. Burned out. Worn out. Helpless. Hopeless. Joyless. Passionless. Ready to quit. Except you can’t.
You can’t quit your job. Or your marriage. Or your parenting. Or your ministry. You can’t quit, but you can’t continue when you have nothing left to give.
Maybe if you just dig a little deeper you’ll find the drive, the motivation, the passion that you used to have. Surely it’s there; it’s just a little beyond reach. So you dig, but the hole just gets wider, deeper and emptier. How far down is your passion buried – or is it there at all?
Maybe you just need some me time – you just need to relax, read a book, go to the spa, and let your battery recharge! So you take an afternoon, a day, a weekend, but when you return nothing has changed. All you can see or feel is the thickening fog of oppression and depression.
When we feel used up, burned out, empty and helpless maybe we are. So how do we refuel? How do we find whatever it is that we need to keep on keeping on? Or if we’re OK now, how do we keep from running out of fuel?
Sometimes we land on empty because the power source we tap into is finite and limited: ourselves! We may have initiative, ability, creativity, desire, passions, even love, but all of those will eventually run out.
Only when our resources originate in the infinite, eternal God Are they sufficient to keep us going.
“No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5 NIV
When Jesus tells us that we can’t do anything apart from him, I think he means it. Oh sure, we are capable of doing some things well, but we have no eternal resources and no eternal results apart from him.
But what does it mean to remain in the vine – to remain in Christ as we are dealing with employees and employers, changing diapers, teaching school, washing dishes, leading a Bible study, making friends or going about our daily lives? What does that look like?
I think that it means that we must be in an intimate relationship with Jesus. It means that the deepest motivation of our lives must be love for him. Our motives must begin and end with love for Jesus. As we spend time with Jesus, reading the Bible, praying, studying, and getting to know who he is, we will grow more and more devoted to him. The fuel tank of our heart will be filled with passion for him. The deep well of motivation will overflow with love for him. And our little ember of faith will be fanned into a flame.
When we love Jesus we take to heart that “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters… It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” – Colossians 3:23-24
However, this is possible only as we love the Lord and desire to serve and obey him because of that love. We will not run out of desire because we will not run out of love. We will not run out of love because God, who is love, pours his love into us.
“… we also glory in our sufferings, because we know hat suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5 NIV
When our source for life comes from the Source of Life, we will not burn out. This doesn’t mean that all of the difficulties in our lives and work will be removed, but it does mean that we will be able to endure. We will be able to do more than we thought we could. There is an unending power source available to us as we remain in Christ.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus…” – Ephesians 3:20 NIV
Are you empty, exhausted, frustrated, burned out, worn out, helpless, hopeless, joyless and passionless? Perhaps it is time to quit – quit relying on your own resources and rely on Jesus’.
The Apostle Paul knew what it was like to be burdened…
“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 NIV
Will you choose today to turn to Jesus for strength? Will you spend time with him? Will you linger until your heart is full? And then, will you remain in him as you do all things as unto him?