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In the real world, "living by faith" is something that changes according to who and where you are and what you are doing. You may be cleaning out a drain, doing the dishes, or supervising a print run in India. You will find that God nudges you into something new, where you have to make choices under new conditions so that you can achieve something for Him.

If you are leading, you will come up against new circumstances where you need to make new decisions. Most of the time you don't know what's going to happen or what the right thing is to do. So you pray, ask God for wisdom and make the best choice you can, based on the information you have.

Usually I am not sure about where God wants me to be or what He wants me to do. I suspect that He wants us to think about what we should do in the light of Jesus' teachings. In other words, I think He wants us to make autonomous decisions "in His name". Sometimes this can be a bit stressful.

Chris and I have been going through what we have called "burnout". But in many ways it's not "burnout" at all.

Recently I wrote that I felt it was important to find meaning in suffering in order to endure it. My search for meaning in my own circumstances has led me to see that the lesson we need to learn is how to live by faith in the midst of stressful conditions. In a high pressure environment it takes faith to slow down, or to say "No", or to do an act of kindness in the midst of a busy schedule. It takes faith not to worry about the future. This is where we need to get the big picture so that we can act in faith even when under a lot of pressure.

I often have a fantasy of escaping to a rainforest and living a stress free life. It would be nice for awhile but I would not be happy, for long, living a selfish life. I believe that if we have faith (or a conscience) it will cause us to follow the Spirit, and the Spirit will lead us to step out in faith and love.

Faith, by its very nature ensures that we are never sure and always pushing into the unknown in order to achieve God's purpose. Faith requires that we trust God for answers, direction and strength.

Dave has often said "man's extremity is God's opportunity". If we never reach our extremity, God gets little opportunity to teach us. When everything is under "control" it is hardly taxing our faith, is it? Only when things get out of our control do we begin to exercise our faith that everything is under God's control. If we panic when things get "out of control" then it doesn't say much for our faith in God, does it?

We should recognise these times when they come upon us and appreciate their spiritual value and significance, because they are the times when we really grow. If you stay faithful during these storms, you generally find that once they have passed you have travelled further spiritually than you would have travelled in a month of fair weather.

A harbour may be a safe place to be, but ships are built to sail the seas and not to sit in harbours. By the same token, we were made to live by faith. So when you feel like you're burning out, take time to cool down, and once you have, you may find that the "fire" that burned you out, has purified you a little as well.

(See also The Reno Principle, and Oh, for a Really Good Day!)

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