Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders 4 Steps to Take When You Are Running on Empty

4 Steps to Take When You Are Running on Empty

Without getting into too much detail let me just tell you the last few weeks have, well… sucked. It’s been a busy week trying to get ahead, a week of after service events and a week of draining family-type drama that adds onto the already craziness of student ministry. To say I’m tired, drained, exhausted, whatever adjective you want to use for “tired” is an understatement.

I’m running dry on sermon ideas. I am running low on energy. I’m running low on caring for my team and volunteers correctly. I’m running low on patients that all needs to come with all of it. Ever been there?

So what do you do? What do you do to get out of that low? What do you do to get out of that funk? I tried it this last week and it seemed to have worked for me and I’m excited to make it a habit monthly, not just in times I need it.

Shut In – I don’t know what this means for you but in general it means get somewhere where you are undisturbed. Get somewhere where you know you will not run into someone and be interrupted in your time. There is a new local hole in the wall coffee shop right by my house that no one knows about yet and it is the perfect little get away. Shut in and focus on what is at hand. Shut in and spend some uninterrupted time with your Creator. It’s needed.

Shut up – Turn off the phone. Turn off the wifi. Turn off the podcast. Turn on the instrumental music (Deep Focus Playlist on Spotify is legit) and try and listen to the Lord. Henri Nouwen said, “A spiritual life requires discipline because we need to learn to listen to God, who constantly speaks but whom we seldom hear.”

Look Around – For me this means a few things. Look around and see how faithful God has been to you in the past because it reminds you how faithful He is to you always… even when we forget in the moment of emptiness and tiredness. Look around by reaching out to those outside your ministry for words of encouragement and prayer. Look around by reading things that are outside of your teaching, area or profession. For example, I will sometimes read CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia just to get my mind thinking of other things besides messages, students, leadership stuff or planning. It surprisingly helps.

Look Up – Pray. This seems like it would be obvious but it is crazy when we get caught up in the business of things or when we are tired, sometimes we forget. Prayer is the direct power source to ministry. Sometimes when you don’t know what else to do the best thing is to shut in with the Lord, read His Word, and pray until you hear his voice.

If I can offer up any encouragement this week it would be this:

Keep going. You are right where you need to be. You have what you need to live out your calling. Eyes on the prize. God’s got this.

Hebrews 12:1-3 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.