Monday, September 24, 2012

When You Don't Want to Work

Are you ready to work, serve, or create with passion today?

Or is your passion for what you do gone?

Feeling ...

I know that feeling. I've felt burnt out on teaching before. Burnt out on writing before. Burnt out on house-keeping before. Burnt out on blogging before. It's an awful feeling and a worse way to live.

"Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.

Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. 

Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody. Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone."

  ~ Romans 12:11-12 (MSG)  

Obviously this passage is talking about our attempts to love and live like Christ. But I think it contains good advice we could apply to any situation in which we've lost our zeal.

It is saying, if you want to regain your zeal you're going to have to make some choices and changes.

If you want to fall back into love - with your work, your home, your hobby, your family, your life, or even your walk with God - you have to show up to it differently than you have been.

Let's pull some adjectives and verbs from this passage for some ideas of how to show up differently. According to this passage, we need to show up cheerful, expectant, not quitting, praying, helping others, creative or inventive, hospitable, talking positively, laughing, happy, empathetic, getting along, humble and not quarrelsome, or seeking to see the beauty in people.

So which part of that have you been skipping?

The first part of the passage tells us to keep ourselves {our passion and zeal} fueled and aflame. We can't expect passion to always be there just because it once was lit. There's an active fueling and refueling to it to keep it alive. An active tending of it.

Mother Teresa said, "To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it."  Exactly.

Look at the list we made above from Romans 12 and decide what you can do today to do put some  oil into it. How can you make your work fun?  How can you be cheerful while working? How can you get creative or inventive with it? Or, how much could simply speaking positively about your work begin to retrain your thoughts and feelings about it?

Maybe zeal is something we bring to our work, rather than our work bringing to us. How can you and I approach our work with zeal instead of just waiting for it to hopefully emerge?

If this post doesn't help answer that, pray and ask God to answer it. He cares about your work, whether it's raising a child or designing a website, running PTA or running a marathon, cooking for your family or cooking for customers.

Burn out is common, but it's also curable. When you don't want to work, acknowledge that reality, but then think about how you can show up to it differently. 


  1. Rachel,

    This is very good and needed. I just have a hard time comprehending due to my condition. I am sure others will follow it well. I have been so distracted lately. is it possible for us to discuss this in an email?


  2. I tweaked this based on your feedback - thank you.
    Yes, we can talk. Send me an email.

  3. My tennis coach always tells me, "You can't keep doing things the same way and expect a different result. You have to change what you are doing". I find that I have to apply this principal at work everyday. If I want people to smile at me I must smile at them. If I want people to be pleasant, I must be pleasant. If I want my work to change, I must change the way I work. Your words and God's words are a resounding confirmation. Amen sister!

    1. Your tennis coach sounds wise! :)


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