I began blogging almost a year ago. I did so for several reasons. For one, many people had told me for years that I needed to write. Prophetic words were telling me that it was time to begin to write books as well. (Those will be coming shortly.) Secondly, I needed an outlet for ministry because I found myself in a proverbial holding pattern. A time when after almost 30 years of successful ministry, I was forced to “sit” before the Lord for an extended period of time.
My early posts were especially for ministers who had faced or were facing ministry “burn-out”. Those first articles were written in the midst of my own personal “burn-out” or better yet, “flame out”. I will not rehash the past. The blog posts are still available in the archives for those who are interested. What is important to me now is to follow-up after what was a very traumatic time in my life, family, and ministry. It is important for me to tell all those who have burnt out in like fashion, whether in ministry, on the job, in your family, or simply in life…healing takes time, much time…but healing does eventually begin to come.
Here are a few things you need to know to allow the Spirit of God to bring healing…
First: God still loves you and understands you even when others do not.
One of the things that amazed me through this process was the number of people who not only didn’t understand, but who really didn’t want to. I have learned that most church folks want their leaders to walk on water for them all the time. When you can’t, unlike Jesus who grabbed Peter when he began to sink, some will simply let you sink with no concern of the aftermath. To be honest, it’s rather liberating to experience the hand of God when He catches you. Your faith no longer lies in the arm of the flesh, but rather in the God who both calls and keeps you.
Second: Forgiveness is critical for your healing.
I have found forgiveness is both an act of the will and a process. If there is any genuineness about your walk with the Lord, I think forgiving yourself is sometimes the hardest. No one burns out without a string of ill-fated choices, decisions, and actions that either led to or exacerbated the situation. As my covering apostle told me one afternoon, “When you get into situations like this, we all may tend get a little crazy.” The intensity of a situation has a way of causing us to act irrational at times. (Come on now, you know there are a few “do overs” you would like to make in your own life!) Forgiving yourself requires repentance and a willingness to put everything under the blood, and then walking on with God and saying, “Glad that’s behind me.”
Forgiving others is tough as well. When someone or a group of people wounds you and those whom you love to the very core of their being, forgiveness is more than a prayer, it may become a painful journey. However, it too must be walked out for genuine healing to occur. I’m still limping through this one, but I have found in the walk the grace to do so with a genuineness that surprises me. God’s grace is truly sufficient.
Third: I have learned the truth that sometimes the only way to save something is to sacrifice yourself for it.
This is not as “noble” and “clean” as it first sounds. Sacrifice tends to be “blood letting” for the one party, while releasing into blessing another. It’s suppose to be the way Christians live their very day to day lives. It’s the example Jesus gave us. It’s the command to “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.” It’s the true cost and sign of genuine love. The cost to you may seem high at the time, but the blessings and peace it brings is worth the price. God always honor sacrifice. How we must learn to practice this principle in our marriages, our families, and ministries!
Lastly: Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and set your face like flint to fulfill the greater purposes of God for your life.
God is not done with you yet. In fact, you may find God was actually taking you through a “polishing” process for even greater things to come. To be honest, the last eighteen months of my life have literally felt like I was walking through hell itself. If I look at it that way, the devil wins. However, if I look at it for what it truly was, the Refiners fire, the devil loses. I have chosen the latter!
- Some people will never understand…walk on anyway.
- Some people will look at you through squinty eyes…walk on anyway.
- Some people will begin the walk with you and then walk away…walk on anyway.
- Some people will watch and wait for you to stumble and fall again…walk on anyway.
Some people will walk with you…grab tightly to their hands, they are gifts from heaven to you and walk on into what God has in store for you.
Selah and Peace