Are you overwhelmed? On the edge of burn out? Exhausted?
Those might be silly questions right now. But they’re worth asking.
The real question is, how are you managing your feelings of stress and anxiety with a world gone awry?
Most days when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I realize that my worries are connected to the flawed idea that it’s all up to me.
But it’s not.
And it isn’t all up to you or your team either.
In this blog, I want to give you the freedom to rest. I want you to discover what it means to work with God and not for Him.
Writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin: A story of divine-human partnership
Uncle Tom’s Cabin shook the culture in the late 19th century.
A little lady named Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the book that is still relevant as much today as it was back then.
But she didn’t write it all on her own.
In January of 1851, Stowe saw a vision of the last scene in the book while attending an ordinary church service.
The vision so impacted her that for the rest of the day and into the night, she hurriedly wrote it down. When she ran out of paper, she continued to write on scraps of paper she found around her house.
The hurriedly-written script turned into a short story which then turned into a classic novel.
The entire first printing of the novel sold out by the second day of its release.
The publisher could not keep up with the demand even when they ran the presses 24 hours a day, six days a week.
You could say Stowe was destined to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Her journey from an ordinary existence to extraordinary achievement is a beautiful picture of what it means to work with God.
Lots of Christian leaders work for God like an employee works for a boss.
They punch in, do their job and punch out. They sincerely love God and want to do a great job for Him, but their work for Him feels disconnected from their life with Him.
I don’t believe that was ever God’s intent.
From the beginning, God wanted humanity to work with Him.
The distinction between working for and with God can be summed up in one word: relationship.
When we work with God we involve Him in every aspect of what we do. We become partners in His mission.
We do this by acknowledging Him throughout the day as a vital part of all we do.
Our work becomes an act of worship, because it is transformed from duty to devotion, from a role we fill to a relationship we participate in.
(Bible nerd moment: in Genesis 2:15 we read, “[Yahweh] God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (ESV) The same word used to describe Adam’s “work” is later used as “worship” in Exodus 3:12.)
Working with God is a mindset and lifestyle.
It’s an attitude that we are completely dependent on God for all things and that without Him our work is meaningless. Even in ministry.
This is also called rest.
3 Ways to Work with God
Prayer connects us with God.
Prayer fuels our passion, devotion and transformation.
Prayer sustains our dynamic workflow with the Holy Spirit.
Prayer informs and inspires our working lives.
Prayer is practical.
If God is more than a boss or manager, then relational connection is vital to working with Him.
I’ve heard the phrase, “rules without relationship result in rebellion”. It could also be said that ministry without relationship results in run-down Christians.
Set a time that you will pray every single day.
It should be as essential as brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
God desperately wants to spend time with us! He wants to give us ideas, insights and vision for what to do and how to do it.
And He wants it to succeed!
He cares for you. He takes on the load that we can’t handle ourselves.
What’s the first form of media that you look at in your day?
What are you ingesting throughout the day?
What are your thoughts revolving around?
The Scriptures are more than a collection of sermon ideas. They’re the window into understanding Who God is.
Understanding God’s nature and ways is vital to working with Him.
The Scriptures improve our understanding of the One Who desires to work alongside us.
Dig in, dwell on them and let God speak to you throughout your day without any other agenda than knowing Him more intimately.
When’s the last time you just stopped?
Put your phone in your desk drawer, go on a walk and allow the Holy Spirit refresh you.
Turn on some worship music, lift your hands and have your own worship service in your office.
Defy the pace of the world with a pause in God’s presence.
Take small breaks and repeat a mantra like “I surrender the pressure to perform or produce”.
Take a deep breath in for 6 seconds and out for 7.
Bear Fruit that Remains
Our work for God does not determine our eternal success.
God wants partners not employees.
He wants to give you stock in His Kingdom.
Take ownership of your role, go all out for Jesus but also remember to maintain dependency on His wisdom, guidance and love.
Connect with God intimately every day.
Manage your thoughts and fix them on the Scriptures.
Hit the pause button on your day and take a moment to breathe.
You can overcome overwhelm, bear fruit that remains and maintain your relationship with God.
You can avoid depression, burn out and failure.
Let God interrupt your work today. You won’t regret it.
A Team that Cares
God is for you and so are we.
If you need any assistance with your care, we work with several organizations that help pastors and leaders thrive in ministry and life.
If part of your stress is an overloaded media team, we can help with that too.
Reach out and we’ll connect you with the resources you need to reach people and see lives changed—without burning out.