“Maybe it’s because, like I said, writing (or typing) makes me feel like I’m talking to myself, except that there’s an audience (that’s you) here while I have these conversations with myself.”
– Jason Iu
I like to write out my testimonies sometimes. Yes, that is plural, meaning that I have many testimonies of what God has done in my life and how he has molded me. Here is one I would call my testimony of learning to love.
Jesus is everything we know about Christianity. His whole life was devoted to teaching and building. Who was there to support or encourage Him? Did Jesus ever get burnt out? Why is it that many missionaries can last several years serving in an area where they are the only Christians or at least really only qualified leaders for years?
What causes Christians to get “burnt out”?
Getting burnt out from ministry has become a norm. If you serve a lot or for a long time, you’re almost expected to burn out. I was thinking about this a lot because of recent events and recent talks with friends with struggling churches or just friends at churches. I think getting burnt out is a result of sin. It’s become normal, but it really doesn’t have to be, especially here where we’re surrounded by brothers and sisters who love us and encourage us in our faith. So how would we not get burnt out?
Love God, Love His People, Walk in His Footsteps
Align your heart with God’s
I think a lot of times we either just try to love God and mess up on loving people or vice versa. They should theoretically go hand in hand, but for some reason… they don’t. I think it’s because we also forget to align our hearts with God’s. When I was younger, I knew I should care for people. Looking back, I know for sure it wasn’t a result of my love for God, but most likely a selfish desire for my own glory. I did it for that sense of “it makes me feel good”, “I like to see other people happy”. Not that wanting to see other people happy is a bad thing, but at this point it was purely so I would feel accomplished, I’d feel like I had done something. Obviously this type of mindset then requires said happy people to give you thanks, to appreciate you, to like you, and inevitable, to praise you. I didn’t used to think that way, but now I see that’s what it really boils down to, wanting praise. I was missing the “Love God” and I guess I was missing the true version of “Loving People”.
In 7th grade i was tired of life. I was tired of trying. I tried to make people happy, I tried to be the good girl, I tried to please my parents. It wasn’t working. It didn’t satisfy. What was the purpose of all this? Maybe I could be just as happy putting people down, releasing myself and doing bad sometimes, doing what I really wanted to do instead of hiding behind this mask of happiness and seemingly under appreciated care for others. I knew I was ugly inside. I knew that I just couldn’t do it any more (I have some fun stories of this time of me breaking down, but I’ll keep those for in person talks).
Then it happened. God humbled me through the cross.
Sitting down one Easter evening, reading the book of John, I realized God’s amazing unsurpassed love for us, for me. How was it possible? How could He possibly love like that? Looking at my own selfish, dirty, unrepentant heart, whey would God send His only begotten son? Why would Jesus go through such pain and humiliation to save this wretched sinner? While I found a dirty ugly soul, God found something more. I came broken and He healed me.
I wanted to do everything for Him. I wanted to love Him. I needed to live a life worthy of the gospel. I starting caring for people, doing acts of service because I knew God wanted me to and this felt like a way I could thank Him. “Do you love me? Then feed my sheep”. This is what empowered me for a little while. My love for God drove me. If this is what He wants, the I’ll do it! But it could only take me so far. When people get overly annoying, when it went against the very sinful fiber of my being, it just gets too hard. It takes so much. It drains so much energy.
Then I realized it. “Be complete just as your Father is complete”. Love your neighbor as yourself. This wasn’t about being nice to people, this was about loving other people. This was about aligning my heart wit God’s. Love what He loves, hate what He hates. When you love someone, you desire above all else to care for them, to give them your best, to give them joy. To love them would be to bring them closer to Christ. What else, who else, could ever give the peace and joy and purpose that Christ Jesus our Lord does?
Now, service isn’t just a thing I do to put on my spiritual resume, it isn’t something I’m obligated to do, it’s something I love to do. I yearn so much for everyone else to see and understand the God I worship. I want them to realize the life changing joy that comes from knowing Him. I want to see Jesus lifted high. I want to see Him glorified. I want to serve others in their spiritual needs!
We don’t get tired of doing what we love to do. Sleeping, eating, shopping ,video games, whatever it is that you love to do. The speaker at AACF last week talked about how it’s human nature to be passionate about something. What you’re passionate about, you don’t burn out from. If your passion is for God, if your love is for His people, you don’t burn out.
I don’t have a perfect love for God or for others. My heart is not completely aligned with His, but by His grace, I’m ever so slowly getting there.
My goal this year is to not get burnt out.