The every day rigours of life can leave us feeling depleted. If you work in a profession where you provide support for people in need, it is easy to experience burn out. People can be extremely demanding and we have to implement strategies, to preserve our health and emotional wellbeing. I like that the bible makes several references to Jesus withdrawing from the crowd. “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (Luke 5:16).
We need alone time and daily quiet times, to sit with God and talk to him. There are times when we need to retreat, from the busyness around us and be still in the presence of God. During these times God will speak to us and we can be refilled, in order to have more to give to others. It is foolish to imagine that we are able to meet the needs of everyone. A “saviour complex” can result in burn out and unnecessary stress. I realised a long time ago that I am not God and that released me from the need to feel that I can fix other people.
There are many things that can carry on just fine, without our input and while our opinions are valuable, we have to know when to step back. David knew how to retreat into places of solitude, to be alone with God and to be restored by him. “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters” (Psalm 23:2).
Do not be guilted into always being available to everyone, or to be available all of the time. We have to set boundaries and there are people who we have to love from a distance. This is especially if they threaten our peace of mind and operate in a way that is unhealthy. There are also some relationships, that we have to call time out on and later on have a frank conversation about what needs to change. God wants us to rest and be restored and it is wise to spend time alone in his presence to be refreshed:
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 1:2).