Dead Man Walking: How A Burned Out Prophet Came Back to Life – Exploring Spiritual 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!

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This Sunday the South Shore UMCommunity continues our sermon series on *BURNOUT*! During September, 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 - www.youtube.com/c/southshoreumc. 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 19:11-13a.


Devotional Scripture ~ Isaiah 43:1.


My nephew, Jacob, is a ham. He is nearly six, wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up, and admonishes Andrew each time we see him because Andrew likes to put ranch dressing on his pizza.


I prefer Chick-fil- A sauce on mine. Ha!


Jacob is quite inquisitive about God. He asks really big questions about God, and his parents often encourage him to save those questions for Auntie Sarah. And he does. And I love that.


Jacob thinks I know a whole lot about God, when in reality, I know a lot about some things about God, but even that does not add up to “a whole lot” about God. “You mean, you don’t know it all yet, Aunt Sarah!? … You should still be in school!”


Probably, Jacob. Probably!


One of the things I know about God is that one of the ways God reveals ‘who God is’ is in relationship to us - is in relationship to God’s creation.

  1. God says we are God’s own treasured possession - I Peter 2:9.

  2. God lavishly loves God’s children - I John 3:1.

  3. God knows every hair on our heads - Luke 12:7.

  4. God sees every tear that we cry - Psalm 56:8.

  5. Our names are written on the palm of God’s hand - Isaiah 49:16.

  6. God calls us by name; we are God’s own - Isaiah 43:1.

What do these verses tell us about God?

  1. Our God communicates value, and acknowledges our value - our worth.

  2. Our God loves in abundance.

  3. Our God is observant and care-filled.

  4. Our God is present, aware, and near.

  5. Our God has not and will not let go of what our God has created.

  6. Our God knows us personally; our God will neither leave nor forsake us.

These verses are a comfort and encouragement for me. They speak peace to my heart, which helps me resist and rebuke fear. These words of God establish the vocabulary as well as provide the frame for me to use as I articulate who I am, rather than turning to the world or something in the world to shape my response.


The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect” (12:2). As we come to know God, we will come to know the will of God, and we will come to know God’s place and role for us in fulfilling God’s will.


That, my friends, is both the gift and the employment of faith.


Reflection: What do the verses listed above say to your heart about who you really are? Why is it so important - to you and your faith - to allow God to define who you are rather than the world or anyone in it?


Prayer: "When darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on his unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand."* Amen.


*”My Hope Is Built,” The United Methodist Hymnal 368.

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