I sat in a lovely old library surrounded by the written wisdom of well-known Bible scholars. Pulling a book from the shelf, I settled into an over-stuffed chair to read. Sounds pretty good, huh? But these words glared at me from the page: “Christians may burn out, but they must not rust out.” The author probably meant that it’s better to act than not, yet I winced because this statement used to be my unspoken creed. Practicing it caused me to become a walking dead person. What good was I to anyone then?
Adhering to this philosophy (which as a teenager I adopted from my mentors), I assisted, befriended, encouraged and nurtured others, yet neglected myself. In his book, Burnout, Myron Rush explains, “When you burn both ends of a candle, it may produce twice as much light, but the candle burns out twice as fast. People . . . discover that all of their mental, emotional and physical energies have been consumed.”
You and I are part of God’s creation, just like the people we serve. Our souls are nourished when treated with kindness, and they’re destroyed when we’re cruel to ourselves. How do I know? (Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel. Proverbs 11:17, TLB)
We respond to life with less anxiety and greater joy when we’re considerate not only of others, but of ourselves, as well. (Indeed, I needed to be reminded of this today! How about you?)
Will you join me in choosing at least one small way to nourish yourself this week? I’m thinking about it right now. Hmmm. What will I decide? I’ll let you know.