01 June 2010

"Go Slow" - June Prayer Letter

“Go Slow: Preventing Burn-Out and Compassion Fatigue”

During the last several months of my most recent “field stay” in Kenya, I experienced burn-out and compassion fatigue.

dictionary.com defines burn-out as:
fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity

Helpguide.org expands on it further:

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.

The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life – including your home and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses.

Compassionfatigue.org says this:

Compassion fatigue occurs when we focus on the needs of others without sustaining healthy self-care practices to balance our giving with receiving. Compassion fatigue originates from an internal place of depletion. Healthy caregivers fill themselves up and experience abundance. Those of us with Compassion Fatigue deplete our emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual resources. Ultimately, we are left with nothing to fortify and strengthen our resolve to be of service to others.

Subsequent to all of this, my health deteriorated. I have learned (and am still learning) a lot from that experience! My new motto is – “Go Slow”. I simply must take care of my health and well-being. This includes my physical health, my emotional health, and my spiritual health. I must monitor and protect the expenditure of my physical and emotional energy. My complete reliance on God - as I linger with Him in intimate fellowship and wait for His daily directions - will go a long way in guarding my spiritual health.

Five wonderful and godly women have agreed to hold me accountable in these areas. Four are from the US and one is here with me in Kenya. We have worked out several concrete and effective principles and guidelines to keep me on track. I’ll be focusing on waiting on God, developing discipline, and practicing balance. Please join us in praying for the success of this!

My aim in life is that all I do will bring glory to God. I desire to hear Him say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Along with the motto of “slow down”, the word “tarry” is also so appropriate!

“Tarry until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” Luke 24:49

Tarry –
•    to remain or stay
•    to delay or be tardy in acting
•    to linger or loiter
•    to wait
•    to be late in doing

I’m sure you realize how much Oswald Chamber’s best-selling devotional – My Utmost for His Highest – impacts me. This very timely reading, called “God First” is from May 31st –

Put God First in Trust
“But Jesus didn't entrust his life to them. He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were. He didn't need any help in seeing right through them."  John 2:24-25

Our Lord trusted no man, yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, never in despair… because He put God first in trust. He trusted absolutely in what God's grace could do for any man. If I put my trust in human beings first, I will become bitter. Never trust anything but the grace of God in yourself or in anyone else.

Put God's Needs First
"Jesus said, ‘I'm here to do it your way.’" Hebrews 10:9

A man's obedience is to what he sees to be a need; our Lord's obedience was to the will of His Father. The cry today is, "We must get some work to do; the heathen are dying without God; we must go and tell them of Him." We have to see first of all that God's needs in us personally are being met. "Tarry ye until…" When God's needs in us have been met, then He will open the way for us to realize His needs elsewhere.

Put God's Trust First
“When you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me.” Matthew 18:5

God's trust is that He gives me Himself as a babe. Am I allowing my natural life to be slowly transfigured by the indwelling life of the Son of God? God's ultimate purpose is that His Son might be manifested in my mortal flesh.

Thank you so much for praying for me!


Anonymous said...

Praying for you mom! This should be a focus for all of us...

wait on God, develop discipline, and practice balance.

Aim to live a life that will bring glory to God. Desire to hear Him say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”


Anonymous said...

Good to hear you are back in Kenya. Give all my friends big hugs. Prayers are a given. Enjoyed your blog, as always. Go slowly, always with God...enjoy the ride. He is a great driver!!! Love from Kentucky. Wafula

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb.
I am praying for you. I support your 'go slow'


Anonymous said...

Awesome read. I have read intently as a fellow overseas missionary. Good stuff, thank you for sharing. Loved the Luke 24 reference the most. Peace, Ryan Y