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Doubt is defined as a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction. It comes as a result of lack of confidence in something or someone. It can also be triggered by a person whose credibility, previously dependable, has become shaky and unreliable. Factors are no longer constant, and so what the person says can no longer be trusted to deliver.

Burnout on the other hand is defined as a state of exhaustion or physical or emotional strength or motivation, or all of the above, usually as a result of prolonged stress, distress or frustration. It comprises of physical fatigue, emotional exhaustion, cognitive weariness and spiritual emptiness. Put in simple terms, burn out is when we are running on empty. None of our tanks has any fuel to burn for the journey.

In today's passage, Elijah got himself to the point of burnout because he doubted the God he had trusted for so many years. Jezebel threatened to kill him and he was convinced the end had come, albeit unceremoniously and God had finally abandoned him. His thoughts spiraled out of control and caused him to make unsound decisions that ended him up in burnout, and he became suicidal! The man of God mightily used by God, became suicidal.

Life's circumstances can crush us, and they know no priest, prophet or commoner, they do not discriminate. If we are not properly girded in our spirit, soul and body, we will soon suffer burnout. Elijah forgot a very important part of life, which is self-care. Those who provide care to people are particularly susceptible to this neglect of self-care. We tend to exert ourselves to a fault on the noble causes of those whom we serve, and forget to look after our own needs. We very soon begin to run on empty and this completely undermines our faith.

The Bible says in Proverbs13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” In a sense, burnout is fed by the hope deferred syndrome. In further understanding the burnout syndrome, we have to be on guard against the following factors.
  1. Bitterness: We get knocked hard by life's circumstances and dysfunctional relationships, and we simmer and corrode ourselves with bitterness. We must learn to forgive and release others.
  2. Loneliness: Bitterness and dysfunctional relationships produce isolation and excessive privacy. We don't want anyone in our private space, and we end up with walls of imprisonment that cut us off. We must learn to allow people into our lives no matter how difficult it is.
  3. Being misunderstood: This is by far the most common and most painful result of the journey of life. We find that we want people, we need them, but they do not want to understand us. We must seek to understand more than to be understood.
  4. Rejection: We feel rejected because we feel left out, inadequate, judged and accused. Life's circumstances and unhealthy relationships have the capacity to produce a lot of rejection that is very difficult to survive. We must learn to find acceptance and security in our relationship with God.
  5. Deflated Faith: Our faith takes a beating and leaks out big time. We must therefore learn to reboot and rearm our faith by frequent interrogation, self-care and allowing God to fill us.

Pastor's Weekly Corner

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Lavington United Church was founded in 1960 through a joint effort of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), Methodist Church of Kenya (MCK) and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) as a community church to minister to the Lavington community. <<Read full History>>

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