Jesus, my Friend.

Well, I thought I can avoid burnout by praying with crafted prayers. I was wrong.

How did I get here? As I laid flat on my back, feeling sad and emotionally drained, the recent events flashed across my mind.  It was a perfect storm. Praying for my family has unveiled some old hurts and wounds which left me emotionally drained.  When you couple emotional stress with taxes, work deadlines, and life in general, you got a burned out MzChele.

I didn’t get it. This is what I was trying to avoid by doing things differently.  And for a long while, the crafted prayer process worked great!  Where did I go wrong?  

“When was the last time you just shared these thoughts with God?”

Suddenly, this question interrupted my monologue. It completely caught me off guard. When was the last time I had just vented to God about my frustrations or anything at all?  I couldn’t remember. Even though I was praying my crafted prayer faithfully every night, I didn’t pray to God much about my personal stress and fears. In fact, the more I felt stressed, the more task oriented I became. I filled up my day so I can avoid facing my hurts and frustrations. 

And then, another thought came,

“You were so focused on your working relationship with God, you forgot about your friendship with God.”

Bam, there it was.  That was exactly where I went wrong. My burn-out was not related to my prayer process. Rather, it was my mindset… I forgot my first love. I couldn’t remember when was the last time I came to God with no agenda, and just shared what’s in my heart.  Still flat on my back, I put away my prayer points, and just started talking to God about what’s been weighing me down. I told Him about how hopeless I felt when I prayed. Things haven’t changed for thirty years, and I just didn’t see how things could change now. And when some changes did happen, they caused more chaos than I expected. I felt out of control, and that scared me. As the tears flowed, I released and surrendered all of the fears and stresses I’ve been carrying.

God never meant for me to carry these emotional burdens on my own. He wanted me to release these burdens back to Him, and take up His yoke which is light. He wanted me to face my disappointments so He can remind me of His hope. He invited me into prayer so I can partake of what He’s doing.  It has always been His work, not mine.

I don’t know about others, but this worker mindset has always been my challenge. I love it when I get to see God’s heart and partner with Him in prayer or caring for people.  However, I tend to focus so much on the work at hand, and forget to guard my friendship with God, which scripture aptly calls our “first love.”  Contrary to popular belief, God is not the task master we think He is. In fact, He’s the one that gave me an intervention and brought our relationship back on track. As it turned out, I needed God as my Friend much more than I realized.

This Easter season, let me introduce you to a good friend of mine – Jesus.  He’s a great listener and is always available. He’s encouraging, fun, and wise beyond years. Best of all, He really cares about me and is always on my side. Would you like to hang out with Him too?

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