So let me get real with you about spiritual burnout. That’s where you don’t feel like picking up the Bible. Sermons are ok but not knocking your socks off like they once did. You feel lethargic toward spiritual things – even (and especially) ministry. You’re serving but have lost your joy.
When this happens, here are some things you might consider doing about it.
First, mark this period down, as a season. Like football, deer hunting, or tax season. A temporary time. And like those seasons, what you’re experiencing is common, comes up regularly on men.
Second, be sure it’s not a place where you aim to stay.
Here some things to try, for starters:
- Get some sleep. Really. Like nine, ten hours. There are too many “productivity guys” out there, speaking to its importance. I don’t need to preach about it. Just get some sleep.
- Get some exercise. Ok, I don’t dig it either – until after I do it. Last weekend we planted corn and I’m not 25 anymore. Turning a shovel can be just plain hard on a warm day here in Georgia, at any age. However, it’s your guess as to my satisfaction level in having physically labored to nail a project me and my wife value. That’s that good kind of tired.
And you don’t need to lay-in corn. There are easier ways to clear your head, feel like you did something positive. Start with a walk.
- Get some Bible in. Just aim for reading. No notes. Little thinking. Just read, to read it. 1 Timothy in the New Testament is only five pages. (We’ll read more content in our emails today, likely.) And 1 Tim is literally a letter from Paul the apostle to Timothy, his disciple-turned-pastor. Read it as one guy’s letter to another. Since the Bible is so ag-oriented (as in, agriculture) think of this exercise as hand-seeding. Cast a handful of seed, pat it in. Let it go to work.
When I’m feeling bacon-crisped, spiritually, I tend to pressure myself into getting back into heavy-duty Bible study. But even your workout coach won’t let you overdo it when you’re just getting back into it.
In fact, pick up a paraphrase of the Bible to wade in. And before anyone lights it up on this point, I’ll note that we shouldn’t make it our practice to stay in a paraphrase of the Scriptures. But my goal here is to help us get back into the Word – and this might be a good first-step toward full, re-engagement.
A man who’s burnt out in his service to the Lord, won’t stay content with the paraphrase, anyway. Once his appetite is re-whetted, he’ll long for the solid translation to read – and study – if this was his previous custom.
Pitch in here. What would you add? Or, what’s a mode of getting unstuck during spiritual burnout, that you’ve used or observed?
Equipping Pastor for Men’s and Recovery Ministries