When You Realize God is Not a Vending Machine

I googled "What do you do when you're burned out" recently. It's kinda nice that you can google so many random questions in life.

Burn out is different than stress. Stress is the result of working hard on projects and feeling overwhelmed by them, but burn out comes when you simply want to give up on your projects all together because you don't feel like you're getting anywhere with them.

Here are two major contributing factors to the feeling of being burned out - on the job, in life, in relationships and beyond. 

1. Burnout comes when we finally realize God is not a vending machine

You work hard to be a good person, to serve the Lord with all aspects of your life. All you hope for in return is God's kindness, mercy and help. But when things don't seem to be moving along at your pace - if your expectations remain unmet or your prayers go unanswered for a time, you get tired of waiting patiently for God's blessings and want to throw in the towel. 

Or difficult or tragic incidents occur in your life, and you feel this is not what you bargained for in your relationship with the Lord. You feel He is not holding up His end of the bargain by allowing such pain.

Many times the believers we read about in the Bible faced insurmountable problems, difficult even painful seasons and trying tests. They often cried out for God to help and move in their situations. The Biblical encouragement is to hold on when difficult, exhausting times come. To stay the course. God will come through.

With this root of burnout also comes the realization that God is not a vending machine. We serve Him, not the other way around. He has not promised heaven in this life. That is waiting for us on the other side, as we lean our lives on Christ. 

Isaiah says that when we wait on the Lord - when we connect with God relationally, we gain renewed strength. Maybe we need to spend less time working for God, and more time actually with God.

When we get to know more of who God really is, we realize that every good thing we have was given from Him in the first place. And there's nothing we could ever do to earn it in the first place.

There is nothing we can do, no hard work, no faithful service to earn His blessings, love or help. Only in the finished work of Christ on the cross is the secret of walking in the Lord's help and strength.

Maybe we need to stop striving ... and rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

2. Burnout comes when we are missing out on meaningful Christian community

God did not create us to live life alone. We need one another. We are called to one another. My prayer is that we would grow, not only in our connection points with God, but also with believers around us. As friends, confidants, teammates, serving each other with joy and gratitude in our hearts through this life.

Forgiving those that have hurt us or spited us. Laying aside our offense and serving the Lord with light hearts.