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And let us not grow weary of doing good,
for in due season we will reap,
if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
Are you in a season where you must persevere in giving?
I am in a season of giving far more than I am receiving. Giving time, energy, prayers, encouragement and pouring out my heart. This season of giving is not forced on me; I am willing to give sacrificially for this time, because I want to serve like Jesus did.
However, it’s easy to get burnt out when all you do is give. You can only persevere through a season of giving with God’s gracious presence, which will fill you so you can keep giving. Also, regular self-care is a must to keep persevering without burning out.
I’ve learned much about perseverance through gardening, at which this verse hints. This fall, I am planting seeds and needing to give them lots of care to bear cold-hardy crops about six weeks from now. It’s still in the 90’s where I live, and the seeds and sprouts will need daily watering before I have an October harvest of spinach leaves, broccoli crowns and fresh peas.
Our seasons of perseverance always precede seasons of harvest. The Lord knows we will be tempted to give up, because perseverance is difficult. Yet he promises to grant us a harvest if we faithfully persevere.
Just like seeds need extra tending to keep growing, we need extra care to keep persevering. As a natural giver, I have experienced too many seasons where I couldn’t give any more due to total burnout. We are not infinite, though many of us strive to be like God in this way. We are created for rhythms of work, rest, play and worship. If all we do is work (i.e. give), we will feel off-balance, and we may even lose hope.
The Importance of Self-Care
Through many seasons of giving, I’ve learned to put my personal needs higher than I want to on my priority list. God has taught me that unless I get good rest, eat healthy meals, and do things simply because I enjoy them, perseverance will be a grind. I grow weary of doing good when I don’t love myself the way God calls me to do. I must love my neighbor as I love myself; these truths work in tandem.
I no longer feel guilty if I take a nature walk or flip through a magazine. Down time feeds my soul and makes me a happier giver. All givers need their own kind of self-care to keep persevering and pressing toward a harvest.
The Importance of Quiet Time
Most of all, I need one-on-one time with God every day to stay fulfilled and satisfied. Like seedlings that need daily watering, my soul needs continual nourishment from God’s Word. My times of prayer and praise are necessary to keep my emotional storehouses full, so I can keep giving the way Jesus did. They fill me with love, joy and peace that I can give to others.
Looking back on previous giving seasons, I can see the harvest God gave me. I know God has been faithful to provide in the past, and he will continue providing harvests in the future. Even if I can’t see them now during my season of persevering in giving, I am trusting that God is moving behind the scenes, already preparing the harvest to come.
The harvest I want most is to hear God say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I won’t hear this if I give up now, though I am weary. I must press on, trusting him to help me bear the fruit of perseverance in the future.
Dear Father in heaven,
I praise you for all the good things you give me. Thank you for providing opportunities to give and become more like your Son. I want to give as you gave, freely and fully.
I confess that I often give so much that I empty myself, and then I feel weary. Help me care for myself well so I can press on in faith, trusting you to provide a harvest.
Fill me up with your presence and your good gifts so I can keep persevering in service to you.
Teach me how to care for myself so I don’t get burnt out. Draw me to you in personal quiet time so I feel refreshed and equipped for continued giving.
I pray these things in Jesus’ powerful name,