I was told last week that I am having a burnt out. Mentioned this to a friend as well…and perhaps I am really having a burnt out from work! Yup, got myself burnt while working….how interesting life can be. Very interestingly when I met up with a friend who was a missionary in Africa a number of years back, and he said that the African have no idea of what a burnt out is. It’s very interesting that burnt out is guess a very modern or even post modern idea. I wonder who came out of the term….let’s ask google…According to Wikipedia, the term was coined by Herbert Freudenberger. It is defined as an experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest. Burnt out is not a recognized mental disorder in the psychological field but it is often marked by inefficiency in work and disinterested in the things that usually would. It is rather different from depression as depression would often lead to something more serious. Source of burnt out can come from many. It can be due to lack of fulfillment at work, disappointment and etc. It is basically some kind of mental and emotional exhaustion. So if there’s such a thing called physical exhaustion, there should be something called mental or emotional exhaustion.
Ok, this is probably what Elijah was going through and what I am going through now. We are both very tired and we both need a rest very critically. After his glorious victory over the prophets of Baal, Elijah was totally exhausted and he had no more energy to carry on…and what more, Jezebel post another challenge to him and wanted to kill him. She sweared by her life that she would get Elijah killed. Upon hearing this, Elijah must be thinking…NOT AGAIN! NOT ANOTHER CHALLENGE! Yes, that’s how I am feeling now. I am just very exhausted! Of course, I am feeling much better these couple of days cos I have taken time to rest and to be able to not think about work. Of course, I am one person who cannot survive if I don’t think. So there’s still quite a number of things that I need to think through.
Elijah ran away from his profession as a prophet and I am taking my sabbatical leave to recuperate from our fatigue. I can understand where Elijah was coming from. He probably thought that there’s nothing more for him to contribute. To me 1 King 19:9-18 is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. Elijah did not hear God in the earthquake nor the strong wind. God is not found in the big Hooo and Haaa of life. In this passage, God’s voice is heard in the low whisper. God’s voice is heard is heard in the quietness of our heart and mind and soul. Until and unless that our hearts is at ease with God, very often His voice is marred by the other things that we allowed to interfere in the connection. This is not to say that God’s voice is weak. It is because we have allowed ourselves to be so clouded by other voices.
I recalled when I was in Mongolia and how I could hear the sound of silence so clearly in the night. It was so silent that you could hear your own heart beating. Its so hard to find this kind of quietness in a buzzing city like Singapore. But that doesn’t mean that our hearts cannot be at ease with God. I am trying to set my heart at ease with Him so that I can hear Him more. It’s not easy but the Holy Spirit is leading me into it. Each day, my heart is more at ease with God and each day I can hear Him more clearly. My prayer to God for today is that He will lead me besides the quiet water. Talking about quiet water…the closest you can get is really at Macritchie reservoir. The water there is so still and so quiet. It can really calm your soul….oh well…yes sometimes under the hot sun.
Yes, we all need to find that quiet spot in our heart that we can hear Him. I am still hearing Him to have me let go and rediscover myself. I love the Jacob story that he lost his Jacob’s identity and found his new identity as Israel. He wrestled with himself. Gosh…that’s the most difficult thing to do. God’s grace was upon Jacob. He was holding on to God. That’s grace. It seemed as though he was wrestling with God but it wasn’t the case. God was basically a buffer. God allowed Himself to be held on so that Jacob would not hurt so much in the process. However, Jacob’s struggle grew so intense that God had to break his hip-bone so that he could feel the pain. What a beautiful picture of God’s grace in our internal struggles. I am experience this right now. I hope I will not wrestle with myself to the point that God has to break my hip-bone. Jacob had so much to struggle. He had to struggle with his past as a thief and as a cheater. I also have lots to struggle with.
May the Lord have mercy upon us…as we continue to journey with Him. It’s been very exciting journeying with God and listening to his low whisper.