Today’s Truth

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”

Mark 6:31

Friend to Friend

I sat on the edge of my seat as I watched my son’s first track meet. The crowd was abuzz as moms and dads chatted, waiting for their teens to dash, sprint, or endure the eight laps of the 3200-meter race. But when the boys lined up for the hurdles event, the visiting stopped and the crowd watched with rapt attention.

Why? In the hurdles event, the stakes were higher. It became less about who would win, and more about who would gracefully leap and clear the metal roadblocks or tip and topple over the intentional barriers.

Hurdles—they are not simply found on the asphalt of track and field but also in the great race called life. As women, we struggle finding balance with our many roles and responsibilities. Our flame of enthusiasm begins to diminish when we are doing more than God intended or when we are doing what God intended, but on our own strength rather than His.

In the Bible we see many who experienced times of burnout. After Jonah’s miraculous delivery from the big fish and prophetic announcement to the people of Nineveh, he sank into a depression and wanted to die. “Now, Lord, take away my life,” he cried. “For it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:3).

After Elijah destroyed 850 false prophets and called down fire from heaven that miraculously burned up sacrifices to Baal, the fire in his own life went dim (1 Kings 18-19). And yet, after it was over, he wanted to quit. Elijah prayed, “I have had enough, LORD. Take my life” (1 Kings 19:4).

How do we avoid those same feelings of burnout, even after a great success? The first step is to realize that it can happen and does happen to the best of us. Burnout is real. We can run out of steam and lose our drive.

What was God’s response to Elijah’s cry to quit? Let’s take a look at 1 Kings 19. I suggest you pull out your Bible and follow along.

  • He allowed Elijah to sleep (19:5)–rest.
  • He sent an angel to provide food for him to eat (19:5)–refreshment
  • He allowed Elijah to sleep again (19:6)–more rest
  • He sent an angel to provide food for him to eat again (19:7)–refreshment
  • He caused Elijah to ponder what he was doing: “What are you doing here?” (19:9)–reflection
  • He spoke to Elijah personally (19:11)–response
  • He caused Elijah to ponder what he was doing, again. “What are you doing here?” (19:13)–reflection
  • He told Elijah what to do next (19:15)–redirection
  • He showed Elijah whom He had appointed to help him (19:16)–reinforcement

Even Jesus had to take time to rest, refresh, reflect, respond, redirect, and gather reinforcement. The Bible tells us this about Jesus: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed” (Mark 1:35 NIV).

Early in the morning Jesus went off by Himself and spent time alone with His heavenly Father. Interestingly, Simon and his companion interrupted Jesus’ time of prayer.

“Everyone is looking for you!” they exclaimed. (I’ve been there. I bet you have too.)

The day before, Jesus had healed many men and women. No doubt, the disciples and the townspeople wanted Him to return to perform more miracles. But Jesus had a different idea. ”Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also,” He said. “That is why I have come.”

I love that Jesus said “no” to a good thing so that he could say “yes” to the best thing. That is the bull’s eye to avoiding burnout. But how do you know when to say no? He prayed.

If you’re feeling a bit burned out today: Consider the following.

  • Rest often. (God rested on the seventh day.)
  • Refresh with proper diet.
  • Re-evaluate priorities and responsibilities on a regular basis (monthly).
  • Relegate and delegate.
  • Review commitments regularly (monthly).
  • Resist saying “yes” to demands and requests that do not line up with what God has called you to do.
  • Resist being ruled by your schedule and allow for divine appointments from God that may not be on your schedule.
  • Remove superfluous activities that interfere with or choke out God’s agenda.
  • Refocus on what God has called you to do rather than what others would like for you to do.
  • Remain in close and constant communion with God.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, I’ll admit, I’m tired today. I need the refreshment that only You can give. Send the Holy Spirit to reinforce my spirit today! I am expecting His energizing force! Help me to reflect on You and Your goodness all day long.

In Jesus’ Name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Go back up to the Rs. What would each one of those look like in your life? Be realistic. I know Hawaii would be a great idea for refreshment, but that probably won’t happen in my life todayJ.

For example: Rest—stop all activities at 8 p.m. rather than 10 p.m. and soak a long hot bath.

More from the Girlfriends

This devotion was taken from my book, Building an Effective Women’s Ministry. If you are a woman in leadership of any kind, you’ll find this book packed with resources and ideas for leading an effective team. And did you know that I have a storehouse of free resources on my website? I have free chapter downloads from most of my books, videos, living life resources, interviews and magazine articles. Check it out at and while you’re there, don’t forget to sign up for my blog.

6 Responses to “Avoiding Burnout”

  1. kim says:

    Please pray for me. It makes me very upset when I read devotionals like this because I have a special needs child and I’m simply not able to get the rest I need. Extended family does not want to help or be involved. Pray that I would have people that would help me to care for my son so my husband and I can get a much-needed break that we need

  2. Beth says:

    This is so timely! I am in a season where God is directing me onto a new and fresh path and I am relying on Him EVERY DAY to just get me through this current leg of the journey. It has been EXTREMELY difficult, stressful, unpleasant and at times has seemed like I simply could not go on. Jesus has gotten me through the last seven months or so entirely by His love and grace. There is NO WAY that I could have gotten through what has been one of the worst experiences of my life without His help!!! He keeps reminding me that He is always there and to just keep moving forward, it will be over soon and that things are improving daily. All praises to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who ALWAYS gives us the VICTORY!!! Thanks so much for these words of encouragement today! Much love to all my sisters in Christ, and have a blessed day!!!

  3. Lydia says:

    This is the second time this week that my attention has been drawn to Jesus’s “no” in Mark chapter 1. Coincidence? I think not. My job had been crazy, and the temptation is to stay later and later to “catch up” (which never actually happens). The result is time away from my family, falling behind on household duties…and exhaustion. During the night as I awoke to thoughts of “how am I ever going to get everything done?”, the words of a children’s song my daughter and I used to sing echoed in my mind: “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do!” This, coupled with your thoughts on resting and reflecting (and ultimately trusting God with our schedules), is helping me face this day with new resolve. If I believe God is in control (and I do!), and I trust His sovereignty, He will take care of everything that concerns me. That, my dear sisters, is a place of rest!

  4. Christine says:

    Wonderfully said;
    And I want to add something I have learned, to the following point : “Resist saying “yes” to demands and requests that do not line up with what God has called you to do.”
    Absolutely correct, and I’d like to add – and only WHEN he has called you to do it.
    Jesus was called to heal, he was a healer, BUT he said no to healing that day.
    There are things we are called to do, but only when God leads and directs us to- in his timing.

  5. Denice says:

    Please keep me in prayer. I follow these devotionals to try to bring me out of this depression of being alone raising a child with special needs. I have not been able to focus on my own self or my health and have been too consumed with worry and anxiety. I need prayer for childcare so that I don’t lose my new job that I was just blessed with. I am up all night crying and praying for help, but I can’t hear anything from God and I don’t know what I am doing wrong.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Denice, I just prayed for you and felt very strongly that God told me to reply to you. You are feeling totally overwhelmed and I have been there many times. First I would recommend reading Psalm 23 everyday until you feel better. I believe I read this in Mary Southerland’s book ” Escaping the Stress Trap”. I like the New Living Translation version. If you don’t have your own copy, you can read it online at Second you really need to talk to a good pastor. You don’t need to try to deal with this yourself. You have to take care of yourself. A friend of mine who is in ministry told me, you have to think of it like when you are on an airplane. The flight attendants tell passengers if there is an emergency to always put on their oxygen mask, before they try to help anyone else. I will continue to pray for you. Stephanie

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