Tan: The Elijah Syndrome

Straight from the heart

JUST like electricity overload, the human body can trip, and when left unaddressed, it gets damaged beyond repair. The veteran prophet, Elijah, had enough! It was not an issue of faith per se; it was about fatigue which directly affected his faith. Consequently, this tiredness created an undeniable complication that affected his relationship with God.

It’s noteworthy to reflect that all of us basically maintain these three basic relationships: our relationship with God; our relationship with others; and our relationship with our self. Unfortunately, it’s the relationship with self that is most neglected. We have falsely assumed that loving self is selfish and a right relationship with God results in a healthy view of self-image! Self-care is actually a godly practice of stewardship! Here's the crux of the matter -- physical fatigue greatly affects spirituality.

Mentors who have had enough suffer a serious case of burnout that leads to depression and if not addressed, will lead to something worse. Let me highlight that this case of burnout respects no profession. Alarmingly, this danger includes those whose main job is to counsel people who are burned out! Ministers like myself are most vulnerable.

The trigger point of Elijah's depression was the threat of Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab. If you know who Jezebel is, you’d know how capable she is of doing what she says she will do. As a result, Elijah actually ran away from her. What happened to our bold and brave prophet? Well, the bold and brave prophet is also human. We must not forget this part of being human. On the other side of the coin, is Jezebel really the issue of this predicament?

The real issue was not Jezebel. Her threat was the tip of the iceberg. Consider this hidden threat: Elijah himself! His lack of rest caused him to be depressed. His passion went beyond the allowable limit, it is now called intensity. His concern was actually a sign of addiction to control. It is no wonder that the angel who ministered to him asked him to sleep, eat, and sleep. The reason behind this sleeping and eating regimen is clearly stated "your journey ahead is too much for you". Let’s bring the issue closer to home. Quietly reflect and try to identify some threats that zap your zest and zeal to live—Like ageing, job security, health issues, or complicated webs of relationships? Get some rest now!

Seriously consider this matter as urgent. Intentionally look for a PLACE to be quiet. Ask around if there's a place available where sleep will be undisturbed and eating is not done in a hurry. Next, make this a priority, and remember, vacation sometimes is an added stress. Ponder on the difference between taking a rest and taking a vacation. Resting is doing nothing! Lastly, meet God who is the author of rest and who Himself rested after the creation.

A good prayer as we enter this crazy season of Christmas is “Slow me down Lord. Amen".

Thanks for reading. I always write straight from my heart.


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