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Dead Man Walking: How A Burned Out Prophet Came Back to Life – Exploring Physical Burnout

Each week Pastor Sarah offers a devotional reflection to connect with the South Shore UMC Family. Use this entry as a way to prepare your heart and mind for worship. See you Sunday!


This Sunday the South Shore UMCommunity begins a new sermon series on *BURNOUT*! Over the next four weeks, we will explore aspects of physical, emotional, and spiritual burnout, and learn about strategies that we can employ to be healthy in the midst of our recovery from burnout as we prepare to re-engage life as God intends for us.

I will reference Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski's book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle throughout this sermon series. Join us safely in-person for this time of study or connect with us via our YouTube Channel - And if you think someone in your life would benefit from participating in this study, share an invitation with them to join the South Shore UMCommunity!

Sunday's Scripture ~ I Kings 19:3-8.

Devotional Scripture ~ Hebrews 11:1.

Oxford Languages defines faith as strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. ‘Apprehension’ is a curious word to include in this definition because it can refer to both understanding and anxiety. Perhaps apprehension is appropriate, then, to include in a definition of faith because faith is, as the preacher of Hebrews said, "confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." It is true that, at times, our faith lacks proof. It lacks empirical evidence.

But that does not render it any less real.

Faith is hard to define, and yet I am confident that my faith defines me. My faith in God is my anchor. My faith in God grounds me. My faith in God gives me hope. Even when I do not know what is next or am able to see what is next and, as a result, I likely fear what is next…my faith is what enables me to keep my eyes watching God.

I had a quirky interaction with a family member the other day…which is not all that surprising since we Millers are a quirky bunch. The conversation was about weekend plans and one person asked what we were doing on Sunday. They had a morning play date scheduled. We were headed to church. And then there was a pause. A quirky pause. There was no shame smeared. No eye rolls. No “what do you mean you’re going there!?”s. Just a quirky pause.

I do not go to church or gather for worship because it is my chosen vocation. I go and I worship because there is no place I would rather be. And it is a bonus that people believed and believe me capable of leading in that space. And it is a gift to create experiences to help folks strengthen, stretch, and strive in their faith. Each opportunity to gather in study and song is an opportunity to lean further into God’s holy mystery. I believe that leaning into faith is what, over time, replaces anxiety with understanding.

Reflection: How do you definite faith? How does your faith define you?

Prayer: "I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord; no tender voice like thine can peace afford. I need thee, O I need thee; every hour I need thee; O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee."* Amen.

*"I Need Thee Every Hour," The United Methodist Hymnal 397.

**Devotional Resource: The Weekly Faith Project by Zondervan.


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