A Note from Kelly King: We are in the final days of 2017. Many of you are making New Year’s resolutions and evaluating how you will do things differently in the months ahead. One of the things Kaye Hurta addresses in today’s article is how we can face the new year spiritually renewed and refreshed so we are able to help others in our calling. Thank you for being a faithful reader in 2017, and we look forward to equipping you in more ways in the year ahead.
If we had kept up with our Advent theme of the past four weeks, we would be lighting the final Advent candle that is lit on Christmas Day, the Christ candle, because He is the light of the world. In John 9:5, Jesus says, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (NIV). He turns the tables a bit in Matthew 5:14 and says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” What does that mean? I wish we were in a small group together and could hear each other’s responses. Something tells me it’s way deeper than what is obvious on the surface. I looked up the word light, and it is the same in both verses—“phos” from the root meaning “to shine or make manifest.” It means, “Anything emitting light; the light emitted by a lamp.”
If I may use a metaphor from a story in Scripture, for us to shine light on the world around us, we must fill our own lamps with oil (the Holy Spirit) and tend the wicks to keep our lamps burning. As we close out one year and look ahead to the next I have to ask, how is your lamp? How is your oil supply? Is there anything in your life hindering access to the oil? Reaching into the lives of others—especially those who are hurting—can be depleting. There is a cost to caring.
For people in the helping professions, this cost to caring is commonly known as compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is characterized by physical and emotional exhaustion with a profound decrease in the ability to empathize. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the red zone), how would you rank your own level of compassion fatigue? If your number is low, wonderful! If you are a 6 or above, it may be time to refill the oil in your lamp.
A quick Internet search of compassion fatigue will provide you with a wealth of strategies for prevention. Strategies such as: education, self-care, setting emotional boundaries, engaging in hobbies, and seeking help. These strategies are all helpful and necessary, but as Christ followers, we must place our emphasis on spiritual renewal and refreshment.
There are many creative practices and disciplines to refresh and renew spiritually. I love hearing from others about what works best for them. If you are willing, would you please comment and let’s hear from each other? What works best for you? How do you keep the oil in your lamp replenished? The practice of it may vary, but for me it always involves at least 3 components.
1. The Word. Because God’s Word is alive with His Presence, I find it to be the best and only source of soul transformation and refreshment. Whether it is reading, meditating, or memorizing, true replenishment is found through the Holy Spirit on the pages of Holy Writ.
2. Prayer. There are no words adequate enough to express the importance and value of prayer for us personally as well as the power of prayer in helping people who are hurting. Prayer can and should be captivating, satisfying, transformative, and fruit-bearing. For years I have been leaning in to the habit of praying out loud and praying Scripture. It has been a game-changer for me.
3. Solitude. Listening to the Spirit and being refreshed by the Spirit through the Word and prayer can happen in the car, at work, in a crowd—anywhere and anyway He chooses to speak. However, I have learned that the truest work of listening involves the discipline of solitude or silence. Our souls are overcrowded with noise and activity. Jesus modeled this for us often. Let’s come apart before we come apart.
My challenge to each of us as we close out this year is to ask ourselves the question, “How is your heart?” Take the time to answer honestly. What has caring cost you this year, personally? Before we step into the new year, let’s step into His Presence through His Word, through honest dialogue (prayer), and in a quiet place where we can hear and discern His voice and be refreshed.
You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t care about people and earnestly desire to lead better and help effectively. Thank you. Thank you for loving the Lord well and in turn loving others well. I am praying for you as I write. I’m praying that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:17-19a, NIV).
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.