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February 20, 2020

Conversations show our connectedness with God


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Part 2 of emotional health and a spiritual vitality that demonstrates a connected relationship with God
The second area we look at in our connected relationship is our conversation with God.

What’s happening when you talk with Him?

What effect does that have on you and others?

Not only could I not read my Bible during the darkest days of burnout, but also, I found it very difficult to pray.

Prayer had been such an important part of my life for years. It was talking with a friend who knew every thing about me yet still accepted me and wanted to talk with me. I felt warm, comforted, listened to, and spoken with.

One of the beautiful things of a friendship is that you want to include others in that friendship. This friendship with God was so real and impacting that I loved opportunities to include others in the chat. I wanted them to also find his friendship and help.

Cooking a crayfish.

My prayer life was like Adrienne’s childhood memory of cooking a crayfish (Australian Rock Lobster). Not having experience, her parents placed the live cray in hot water. Immediately its ten legs sprung to action climbing out of the pot, causing a great commotion. It didn’t like being in hot water. Likewise, when I was in hot water I would pray. Prayer was a lifeline. Anxiety and worries lifted and peace would come. Not only in trouble but in good times I prayed. Jesus is my friend and I normally started my day talking to him. It was intimate and connected.
The advice of the day was to put the cray in room temp saltwater. Turn on the stove and the cray won’t climb out. It will just swim around, quietly die, turning crimson red ready to eat.

The compounding heat of stress gradually depleted my emotional well-being. The emotional depletion was killing me spiritually. I kept swimming not realising I was spiritually dying. Prayer became something I did out of habit and duty. Prayer lost its connection and life.

Adrenalin prayer

As burnout approached, from habit and duty, I shifted from presence, peace and life to striving and fight. My words became harder and angrier, strident and aggressive. (Sorry, God). This prayer time reflected my perception that life is hard going. Prayer lost a sense of life and connection. Adrenalin was fuelling my life and it crept into my prayer life.
Adrenalin is designed to be a friend that we call on in an emergency to help us through the crisis. But it had become a constant flow impacting all areas including my prayer life.
With this, I was losing the desire to pray with others.

Prayer with others?

What made me lose the desire to pray with others? My emotional depletion brought feelings of low worth and value. Feeling increasingly bad about myself, I emotionally withdrew. This is especially tough when it’s your job as a pastor to pray with and for others. It’s like turning the pump on to get water out of an empty tank.

Reconnection

In the recovery stage of burnout, I began to sense again God’s presence. It was like sitting with a close friend and not needing to say anything but just sit with them. This flowed to the conversation. Again, I started hearing his voice. Yes, he was speaking to me.

I found again a deep desire to include others in the conversation with God. I love chatting with God and people.

Do you engage in a rich prayer life?

Who can help you? My mentor has helped me develop my connection with God. Can I help you find a mentor?

The next in the series “emotional health and a spiritual vitality that demonstrates a connected relationship with God” is cultivating a high awareness of God’s interaction with daily life.

Continue reading with these articles…

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