Compassion Fatigue By Janet Holm McHenry

compassion fatigue is real

Compassion fatigue is real.

The Lord is a refuge to his people. –Joel 3:16 (ESV)

From a recent training for local teachers on social-emotional learning I learned a new term: compassion fatigue.
As teachers have doubled up duties to teach both in an in-person setting and in a distance learning model, they have also encountered countless cases of students and parents and peers in emotional distress, while also trying to manage their own families’ needs and their own.

Compassion fatigue is real. I have experienced this often over the last 22 years as I’ve prayer-walked the streets of my community and been a pivot point for various prayer groups. Their burdens become mine—and sometimes I simply feel overwhelmed.

When tremendous needs from many I love recently came from several directions, I found myself on the couch, exhausted one day. “What’s wrong with me?” I asked my husband.

“You’re taking on too much,” he quickly answered. And my husband is almost never quick to answer.

I imagine the prophets felt this compassion fatigue. God called them to speak his words to the people, who had strayed from following the Lord and who would not listen to the warnings God spoke through the prophets.
What must have kept them going was God’s call on their lives, as well as his words to them.

Reading the Bible daily is also what keeps me going during this challenging season. It also keeps me praying for many right now suffering from loss of loved ones, fires, floods, illness, straying children, unemployment, and depression.
Daily I run to the place where my compassion fatigue is always lifted: God’s Word. He never disappoints.

About the author: Janet McHenry is a speaker and author of 24 books—six of those on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. She would love to connect with you: https://www.janetmchenry.com.

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A week ago at sunset there was a wall of flames approaching our little town here in the Sierra Valley: #LoyaltonFire.

More than 700 firefighters had battled it for three days before it headed down the mountain toward spent and dry meadows that bordered our town of 860. The same angry beast had jumped two state highways in other directions the day before—one of those eight lanes wide. Now it was headed our way.

Because I have prayer walked my town for the last twenty-two years, I have seen the hand of God answer one prayer after another for my friends and neighbors. I knew God would work through the firefighters who were taking a stand at the highway. However, because I also formerly worked as a reporter for a daily newspaper, I wanted to see for myself what was going on. So, well after dark I walked to the other end of town to see the firefight for myself.

Like a child who is exhausted but still resisting going to bed, the fire was still arguing but waning—no larger than three side-by-side homecoming bonfires. All would be well.

Later I learned of miracles: a ranch with a historic barn surrounded by flames…saved, and an entire hillside burned but friends’ barn, home, and 100 sheep…untouched.

Two days later I read, “For the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12 ESV). God may intervene directly in our lives, but sometimes He uses dozer operators, firefighters, and even writers to effect His sovereign plan. In any case we can always know He does indeed doze a path for us. He’s always got your back.

Prayer Walk

Janet McHenry is a speaker and the author of twenty-four books—six of those on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. She and her rancher-husband Craig have raised four children in their little town in the Sierras, where she formerly taught English to every single high school junior and senior.

 

 

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In this pandemic season when travel opportunities are limited, there are other good reasons to take a staycation, which is a shorter time away from work with your family. Those benefits include money savings, travel time savings, and convenience related to school year demands, pregnancy, the need to care for aging parents, and work demands.

Here are some ideas for one-day staycations:

  • Plan a day hike.
  • Take a picnic and outdoor games to a local park.
  • Spend a day at a nearby lake.
  • Rent kayaks for lake or river paddling.
  • Fashion an outdoor tea party for the family.
  • Create a front-yard music festival for passersby.
  • Create a back-yard movie theater with a white sheet hung on the side of your house and a projector hooked up to your computer.
  • Take a reading retreat in a quiet spot in the outdoors.
  • Put together a boxed lunch, take a drive out of town, and stop someplace beautiful for a picnic.
  • Create your own family spa complete with facials and mutual back rubs, manicures, and pedicures.
  • Visit a historic site open in your area that you’ve never seen.
  • Watch an online art museum tour, and then create your own masterpieces with your family.
  • Create a family food festival for the back yard—with each family member making a different dish from your family’s heritage.
  • Plan a porch party. Decorate your porch, provide music and refreshments, and dance the night away. Learn to line dance or ballroom dance by watching videos online.
  • Rent a convertible and take the family on a daylong road trip.
  • Camp out in your back yard and cook hotdogs on a stick with s’mores for dessert. Play flashlight tag and other night games.

50 Life Lessons For Grads

Janet McHenry is a national speaker and author of twenty-four books, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. She and her husband Craig raised their four children in the Sierra Valley of northern California, where he is a rancher. They love to kayak on the beautiful mountain lakes. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network. Connect through her website: https://www.janetmchenry.com.

 

 

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Are you searching for just the right gift for a graduate in your life? Consider giving high-school or college grads something they will cherish for years to come—a “YOU Gift.” It’s free and it will make this season special. Here are five suggestions:

  • Express value. Graduates are under a lot of pressure. They’re adults now but they may not have every detail of their future in place. (We don’t either, right?) One way to encourage them is to tell them the positive qualities and skills you see in them. Resist offering advice but instead, affirm them. You just might guide them into the right path for study and career.
  • Ask them for advice. This is a very creative generation! They are thinkers and they are passionate and compassionate. They see life differently from older adults and have creative ways of solving problems.
  • Get healthy together. Take a walk or go to the gym together. Chat about healthy foods over dinner. If they get on a good health track now, chances are they’ll make good choices when they’re on their own.
  • Listen to them. They want to be heard. Ask for their opinions without interjecting your own. And you will learn too!
  • Pray for them. Studies show young adults believe in God, believe in heaven, and believe in prayer. Ask them how you can pray for them. And definitely pray they make good choices and follow God with their lives.
Janet McHenry

Janet McHenry

50 Life Lessons For Grads

Janet McHenry is the author of 24 books, including the bookstore bestselling 50 Life Lessons for Grads. A mom of four college grads and a former high school English teacher and academic advisor, she still keeps score at the home basketball games and loves hanging out with young people. More about her writing and speaking can be found at https://www.janetmchenry.com.

 

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Easter is a time to draw close to Christ and learn from his experience. We also can learn from his prayers from that last week of his life. It’s interesting that of his ten recorded prayers, six come from his last week. And they can inspire our prayer lives.

  • “Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:28 NIV). Despite Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, he said, “Now my heart is troubled.” When we are troubled, we also can ask God to be glorified in us.
  • “May they be brought to complete unity” (John 17:23 NIV). Jesus’s chapter-long Upper Room prayer emphasizes the importance of unity in the church and is an example to us to pray for the same today.
  • “Yet not as I will, but what you will” (Matt. 26:39 NIV). In the Gethsemane Garden Jesus prayed the two-sided prayer—what he wanted, life, but also God’s will in the matter. When we face critical decisions, we can pray similarly.
  • Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 KJV). In Jesus’s first of three prayers from the cross he models the imperative of forgiveness in the face of injustice and cruelty.
  • “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46 NIV). With Jesus’s second prayer from the cross we see his humanity in his “why” question and know that we can pray our laments also.
  • “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:45 NIV). Ultimately, Jesus’s last prayer shows us that the best posture of prayer is submission.

While we don’t have to use Jesus’s very words, he shows us the importance of opening our hearts honestly in prayer and opening our hands to receive what the Father has for us.

Janet McHenry

Janet McHenry

The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus

Janet McHenry is the author of twenty-four books—six of those on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. Featured in Health and other magazines and media for her prayerwalking for her community, she directs the prayer ministries of The Bridge Church in Reno. Janet loves serving event planners and churches through her speaking and may be contacted at https://www.janetmchenry.com

 

 

 

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