Things That Refresh

24 01 2012

Last week, I posted about finding myself on the edge of burnout and what the Lord revealed to me about how I got there.  One of the key things that God revealed to me in it all, was that I had failed to invest in things that “Refresh” me.

It was a radical thought to me at the time, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was true.  I knew that there were things that drained me and sucked the life out of me, but I never really thought about the things that replenished me.  Suddenly I realized that, if I was going to “re-charge”, then I was going to have to purposely engage in activities that energize and refresh my soul.

I was challenged to make a list of things that I knew refreshed me.  Here are the things I put on my list:

  • Writing – I don’t consider myself a writer, but I have realized that writing and journaling is something that helps me clarify my thoughts and process through the chaos of ministry and life.  I have begun to journal every day in conjunction with my times with God, and it has made an incredible difference.
  • Time Alone With God – I have started to prioritize taking mini-sabbaticals for the sole purpose of connecting with God.  The mistake I’ve made in the past has been to think that days off and vacations refresh and recharge me.  The reality is, I need days off and vacations, but they don’t necessarily re-charge me.  What does re-charge me is purposed and extended connection to God.  Knowing this, I am purposefully making this a scheduled part of my life at regular intervals.
  • Exercise – In evaluating what re-charges me, I discovered that the times that I have been purposefully caring for my body were also times when I felt the most energized and focused in ministry.  I used to think that it would rob me of valuable ministry time, but what I’ve found is that exercise actually makes the time I spend in ministry many times more productive and effective.  Working Out is something I now consider just as important as the daily work I have at the office.
  • Conferences/Retreats/Training – I have never been to a conference or training event that I haven’t returned having been ignited with fresh vision for life and ministry.  Because I am often pouring into the lives of others, I can run dry quickly if I don’t have an inflow of life giving investment in me.  I have several conferences, retreats and training events on the calendar already for this year.
  • Reading – As the pace of my life increases, one of the hardest things for me to do is to stop and read.  However, I have found that reading is one of the best things I know of to help me slow down the pace of my life.  Reading causes me to settle down, quiet my spirit, and to listen to what God is trying to teach me.
  • Date Nights – My wife is a true gift to me.  When we are close and united in heart, I can literally feel a renewed sense of courage to pursue big things in life and ministry.  When Tosha and I get to spend One-on-One time together, that unity in heart is forged and strengthened.  Date Nights not only renew our marriage, but they renew our intensity for ministry as well.

So what are the things that refresh you?  If you don’t know what does, then how can you intentionally invest in those things to help re-charge your life?  And if you don’t have things in your life that re-charge you, burn out might be right around the corner.

I would encourage you today to make a list of at least 6 things that you know energize your spirit.  Then, once you have that list, develop a plan to intentionally incorporate these things into your life at regular intervals.

Here’s the thing… if your not intentional and purposeful about getting these things into your life, they will probably never show up there.  So, make sure it doesn’t just stop at a plan.  Get these things onto your calendar.  Make a commitment to engage in them.  If you don’t find time for the things that refresh, it won’t be long before you are burned out and out of the game… and that is not God’s plan for anyone.

I am praying for the “times of refreshing from the Lord” (Acts 3:19) to come upon you!

Burn on!


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