How to Prevent Exhaustion While Serving Others This Holiday Season

young happy woman think about christmas wih list on sofa in front of christmas tree | prevent exhaustion while serving others

Article by: Lisa Kimrey

I know the songs say the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s the most exhausting time of the year for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I truly embrace the holiday season! I love the colors and decorations, the smells, the food, the giving, the people – all of it!

But, there’s more to the holidays than that. The season brings a plethora of excellent service opportunities.

So, I volunteer to serve.

However, I’ve discovered that serving others is the thing that changes my tune. Helping others is the primary cause of my exhaustion.

If helping others is the primary cause of your exhaustion during the holidays, here are five simple steps you can take to prevent exhaustion while serving others.Click to Tweet

Service is Important During the Holidays

Need surrounds us! Calls for help during the holidays come from church, school, and my community. 

My favorite charities and organizations announce their annual campaigns, and they all need people to help.

Social media is filled with invitations to be part of the team, and it’s almost exciting to partake in the ‘serving’ of the season.

So, I volunteer to serve.

To be honest, I’m a little energized at the thought of who I’ll be serving with at various organizations. I love getting caught up with what ‘my people’ are doing now.

Certainly, some serving opportunities are old traditions. Of course, I wouldn’t miss helping:

  • Our school
  • Our church
  • My favorite community organizations
  • My friend’s business

Even more, my charity counts on me to do specific jobs around the holidays—things I’ve done for several years now.

However, at some point, my calendar looks a little full. Thankfully, I’m resourceful, and I find ways to move things around.

So I volunteer to serve.

Thus paving my path to exhaustion.

Is the Stress of Service Stealing Your Holiday Joy?Click to Tweet
Top view of group of volunteers working in community charity donation center | prevent exhaustion while serving others
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Make Sure the Stress of Service Doesn’t Steal Your Holiday Joy

Being overcommitted is a considerable stress trigger for me. And stress is one of the biggest killers of my holiday joy.

Therefore, I’ve decided it’s time for a change.

I want to learn the ‘secret’ to preventing exhaustion while serving others.

But, I have questions.

  • What determines the selection process?
  • When is enough, enough?
  • Maybe instead, how do I say no?

Here are five simple steps that are helping me rediscover the joy of service this holiday season! I am confident they will help you too. 

Step 1: Prevent exhaustion while serving others by uncovering your reasons for serving.

I prefer to look for the solution to my service-induced exhaustion in Scripture.

I learn that saying no isn’t always the answer. And, it’s not about knowing when I’ve had enough. It’s not even about being selective.

I learn the mystery solution is not in what I do, as much as it is about for whom I serve.

Knowing who I am serving will tell me exactly when to say yes! And when to say no.

John 15:5 reads, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (NLT).

In other words, in order for my service to be a spiritual discipline, Christ must be shared.

Here are five simple steps that are helping me rediscover the joy of service this holiday season!Click to Tweet
men and women sitting in a circle during group therapy, supporting each other | prevent exhaustion while serving others

Sharing Christ can look like many things. I can serve Christ by:

  • Sharing the gospel message with those who are hurting.
  • ‘Loving on’ lonely people or those who are suffering.
  • Meeting the basic needs of the poor with humbleness.

But if I serve without sharing Christ, I’m not actually serving Him.

I might be volunteering or working, or offering my services, but I am not participating in the spiritual discipline of Christian service.

Often, when I fall into this trap, I’m meeting my own selfish needs. And that’s the tune that needs to change if I want to prevent exhaustion while serving others.

Matthew 10:40 reads, “Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. (NLT).

We need to share Christ when we serve so others will receive God.

If I serve without sharing Christ, I'm not actually serving Him.Click to Tweet

Step 2: Prevent exhaustion while serving others by avoiding these sinful reasons to serve.

There are several reasons we say yes to service opportunities.

Many times, it is to meet our own desires. 

Here are five common self-centered reasons people serve:

  1. Pride – we enjoy the attention or status of our service roles.
  2. Fear of missing out – we don’t like the idea of not knowing what is going on or not being in the ‘service’ spotlight.
  3. Guilt – we feel a negative or resentful sense of responsibility or obligation to serve.
  4. Idolatry – we thrive on our ability to serve or the use of our gifts.
  5. Conditioned – our culture teaches that there is no other way to serve.

These are sinful reasons to serve.

Christian women holding hands and praying together with open bibles and hot coffee

Step 3: Prevent exhaustion while serving others by listening to the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps more importantly, even if we aren’t serving to meet our own desires, if we serve without the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we serve without the powers of the Holy Spirit. 

We serve in our own power.

We quickly tire when we serve others through our efforts. But we can serve tirelessly through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The deeper our relationship with the Lord, the more we will notice the Holy Spirit’s promptings to serve.

But a deeper relationship with the Lord helps us in another way too. We will be more in-tuned to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to rest.

The Holy Spirit’s prompting tells us when to get up and serve and when to sit down and rest.

The Holy Spirit's prompting tells us when to get up and serve and when to sit down and rest.Click to Tweet

Step 4: Prevent exhaustion while serving others by learning to assess service opportunities.

We must assess whether we seek to share Christ or serve our own needs with every service opportunity.

The steps to determine this are:

  1. Spend time in prayer.
  2. Spend time in repentance.
  3. Ask ourselves these four questions:
    • Do we recall feeling the prompting of the Holy Spirit?
    • Are we using our spiritual gifts in this task?
    • Do we intend to share the gospel as we serve?
    • Do we feel joy or humble gratitude while helping others?

We can also use these steps in the future when serving opportunities are placed in front of us to help us determine if they are indeed appropriate to pursue. 

We must assess whether we seek to share Christ or serve our own needs with every service opportunity.Click to Tweet
Here are five simple steps that are helping me rediscover the joy of service this holiday season! I pray that these simple steps will help you prevent stress from stealing your holiday joy as a servant of Christ. When we actively prevent exhaustion while serving others, the holiday season can indeed be the most wonderful time of the year!

Step 5: Prevent exhaustion while serving others by thoughtfully reconsidering your service obligations.

So, if you feel exhausted while serving, make a list now of all of your service obligations. For each service commitment, use the process I’ve described above.

For all obligations that do not share Christ, consider the reason you are serving and whether you need to eliminate it from your schedule to reduce your stress and causes of exhaustion.

For all obligations that do share Christ, ask the Lord to show you if you should continue. If you feel the prompting to rest, ask the Lord to show you how to eliminate it from your schedule or find rest periods as soon as you can.

Then, assess these things moving forward, and have hope! 

I pray that this process will help you prevent stress from stealing your holiday joy as a servant of Christ. 

When we actively prevent exhaustion while serving others, the holiday season can indeed be the most wonderful time of the year!

-Lisa Kimrey

Lisa Kimrey is a speaker and the author of The Self-care Impact: Motivation and Inspiration for Wellness. An RN for 28 years, Lisa finds joy through helping people improve their self-care so they can feel better and serve the Lord at their highest capacity. Helping you find ways to care for your life as you serve and care for others, Lisa writes at Mylifenurse.com. See Lisa’s website for more resources on motivation for self-care or connect with Lisa on  Pinterest and  Facebook.

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