July 5 | Bible in a Year: Job 30-31; Acts 13:26-52
Praise the LORD . . . who satisfies your desires with good things.
Psalm 103:1, 5
READ PSALM 103:1–5
Psychiatrist Robert Coles once noticed a pattern in those who burn out while serving others. The first warning sign is weariness. Next comes cynicism about things ever improving, then bitterness, despair, depression, and finally burnout.
After writing a book about recovering from broken dreams, I once entered a busy season of conference speaking. Helping people find hope after disappointment was richly rewarding, but came at a cost. One day, about to step on stage, I thought I was going to faint. I hadn’t slept well, a vacation hadn’t fixed my weariness, and the thought of hearing another person’s problems afterward filled me with dread. I was following Coles’ pattern.
Scripture gives two strategies for beating burnout. In Isaiah 40, the weary soul is renewed when it hopes in the Lord (vv. 29-31). I needed to rest in God, trusting Him to work, rather than pushing on in my own dwindling strength. And Psalm 103 says God renews us by satisfying our desires with good things (v. 5). While this includes forgiveness and redemption (vv. 3-4), provisions of joy and play come from Him too. When I reworked my schedule to include more prayer, rest, and hobbies like photography, I began to feel healthy again.
Burnout begins with weariness. Let’s stop it from going further. We serve others best when our lives include both worship and rest.
By Sheridan Voysey
REFLECT & PRAY
Loving God, I want to rise in strength like the eagle today. I trust You to work in my exhausting situation, and receive Your soul-filling gifts with gladness.
What burdens do you need to offload to God right now? How are you renewing your strength through prayer, Scripture, and healthy play?
Renewal is one of the themes in Psalm 103 (see vv. 3-5). It’s also a prominent theme in other Old Testament Scriptures: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31); “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10), and “Restore us to yourself, LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21). In the New Testament, we learn that the final renewal of all things will come when Jesus returns: “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28). Meanwhile, believers in Jesus are being daily renewed by the Holy Spirit at work in their lives (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16). Alyson Kieda