By Saturday morning, I was tapped out.
All week, I had been with people. Serving some. Listening to others vent. Now I needed to visit jail for one-on-one counseling, but I had nothing left to give.
My head pounded. My body was like a limp rag. How can I share the gospel when I can barely remember my name? I had to reschedule.
Too often, helping humanity seems more exhausting than yard work or housework. My back may ache as I pull weeds or push a mop, but I’m on autopilot. At the end of the task, I feel productive, even energized.
When it comes to people, particularly listening to their problems, I’m drained. That’s because I absorb people’s moods like a sponge. Think I can fix them. Fall back into people pleasing.
“You’re an answer to prayer,” someone told me, after I resolved her problem. Now I have the problem.
Practically speaking, I must:
Say NO…without guilt.
Spiritually speaking, I must:
Meditate on the Word
Ask for Wisdom
Obey God’s Will
In Mark 1: 21-38, Jesus spent the day in Capernaum healing many people with various diseases, and casting out demons. Verse 33 says “the whole city had gathered at the door.” So how did Jesus avoid burn out?
Verse 35: “And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out to a lonely place, and was praying there.”
Simon hunts for Jesus and says, “everyone is looking for you.” But prayer was a priority. Jesus understood His purpose (verse 38) and wasn’t going to be derailed by everyone’s demands.
If Jesus, in his humanity, had to pray and seek the Father’s will, then I must:
- Have the mind of Christ so I can…
- Have a sacrificial servant’s heart so I can…
- Have His love and strength to help others without sabotaging myself.
Bottom line, I must:
Remember prayer gives me a right perspective so I can respond properly to my relationships and problems.
In other words, “Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.”
And take a deep spiritual breath.
5 thoughts on “Put on the Oxygen Mask”
Thanks for a great post. How I could relate! 🙂 But sometimes I wonder if I leave the “oxygen mask” on a little too long.
True, Bethany. There are times it’s tempting to only focus on our own needs rather than deal with everyone else’s problems.
Hey, Karen. Thanks for sharing this. I have been touched by the fact that Jesus left some people in the grave. Some were left blind and leprous. Some had broken hearts. Yet he said with confidence to the Father, “I have completed the work you have given me to do.” Surely, if Jesus left so many good things “undone,” I might have permission to as well. I love the way you have said this, Karen. Thanks so much.
Great point about Christ not healing everyone. Also my job is to point others to Christ who heals and gives the victory rather than trying to be their Messiah. Thanks for sharing Heidi.
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