When You Have Nothing Left to Give

I have nothing to give. I remember waking up one Saturday morning with that mantra repeating in my head. Over and over again: I have nothing to give. I was tired and weary. I had spent a month speaking and writing-I had overcommitted and wasn't reading God's Word. Well, I was reading God's Word, a lot actually, but I wasn't reading it with the view of how I might learn more about God. Instead, my goal in reading was to find what I might teach about God. My relationship with the Lord had become a ministry and not a relationship.

I imagine this scenario is quite common. As women in ministry, we can forget that the most important aspect of ministry isn't really what we say to others but how we are living privately. I wasn't doing anything sinful that would disqualify me from ministry. I simply had my priorities mixed up and forgot to nurture my own love for Jesus. My Bible reading had become a task to do for others.

Now that I've had a few years to learn and evaluate, I've put in safeguards to help me receive the refreshment and nourishment I need in order to know the God I proclaim. I don't do any of these things perfectly, and I know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I don't pursue God because I think I must in order to approach Him—as if my pursuit earns His favor. It does not. I pursue God because He's all I have and want. I want to know Him and love Him, so I run after Him imperfectly, but a sprint nonetheless.

Are you growing weary as you serve others? Here are a few things you can do to not only nourish and protect your relationship with the Lord but to receive refreshment as well.

1. Read God's Word with new lenses.

Remember I shared that I was in God's Word but was only reading with the view of teaching others? I've put on new lenses so to speak. There's no reason I shouldn't be able to prepare to speak or write and not also learn. You can't really teach what you don't know. So when I read, I'm thinking about who God is for my own benefit as well.

2. Read freely.

What I mean is, don't limit Bible reading to preparing for a speaking engagement. Find time to read, engage, and learn from the Bible during a time when nothing is needed of you. Perhaps find a new text not related to what you are speaking on. Whatever that means, remember that the end is simply to know God and enjoy Him.

3. Pray.

Prayer is one of the most intimate aspects, I think, of our relationship with God. Hebrews 4:15–16 drives me to want to pray:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus sympathizes with our temptations and weakness and calls us to come to His throne of grace. What an amazing invitation! We can draw near with confidence—not timidly. Now think of whom we are drawing near to—God! The holy, majestic, awesome God! Jesus makes it possible for us to approach God in prayer and to speak with our heavenly Father. Even if it's difficult, I want to do it.

4. Rest.

This might seem like a dirty word, but it's a four-letter word worth saying, doing, and pursuing in ministry and all of life. Only God is capable of not resting, and even He did so (Gen 2:2; Isa. 40:28). But we aren't capable of not resting; we must put down our labors or we will burn out. Resting is truly an act of trusting the Lord. We keep moving, working, and going often because we have believed the lie that if we stop, we might fail. It's up to us to get everything accomplished. Wait . . . what about the sovereign God? Even youths grow tired, but as we wait on the Lord, He will renew our strength (Isa. 40:30).

These four safeguards don't exhaust the possibilities we have for refreshment, but perhaps they can provide a new start for you. Don't feel like you must run on empty. Ask the Lord to refresh you not only so you might serve, but also because He is your Father and delights to give you good gifts—no greater gift than Himself.

You can learn more from Trillia Newbell as she teams with Nancy Leigh DeMoss to present "Speak to Transform Lives" at the Pre-Conference of Revive '15: Women Teaching Women, September 25–26. The Pre-Conference also includes tracks on writing, studying the Bible, and leading worship. Join Nancy along with friends Jen Wilkin, Dr. Eric Mason, and Lauren Chandler for Revive '15 . . . a conference for leaders to recharge and retool for greater ministry impact!

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About the Author

Trillia Newbell

Trillia Newbell

Trillia Newbell is the author of several books, including If God Is For Us, Fear and Faith, and the kids’ book God’s Very Good Idea. She is married to her best friend, Thern, and they live with their two children near Nashville, Tennessee. Learn more about her at trillianewbell.com.