Toxic Mix

With my humming bird feeders in need of a thorough cleaning, a little on-line investigation led me to “equal parts vinegar and water” or “1 to 10 parts bleach to water.”

I opted for the vinegar approach, but then ran into a problem. I did not have quite enough distilled vinegar to submerge the whole feeder.

“No problem!” I thought. “I’ll add a bunch of water and a dash of bleach.”

No problem quickly became big problem.

The toxic fumes cleaned out my sinuses and burned my eyes.

I knew to never mix bleach and ammonia, but I missed the lesson on never mix bleach with anything but water. I won’t need a second lesson on that one.

When it comes to those times when you’re running hard on the fumes of an empty tank, what’s a toxic mix for you? What puts you over the edge?

  • A grad school thesis paper
  • A child’s science project
  • A temp of 102
  • An annual report
  • A clank in your car’s engine
  • A bounced check
  • A burnt meatloaf

A “toxic mix” landed Elijah under a broom tree wanting to die. The mix? Years of isolation and a death threat from the queen.

What’s the take home from this story in I Kings 19:3-12?

No shame. No blame.

We all have limits. We do.

Every single one of us has landed under the broom tree in one way or the other and we’ll all land there again.

Give yourself a break!

Somehow, and in some way, give yourself some breathing room.

Carve out an hour, or a day and take your clues from our buddy Elijah.

Pull yourself away from the madness and the grind. Take your pillow, some tasty treats and a heart ready to listen.

Then, rest well and listen carefully.

First time here?

9 thoughts on “Toxic Mix”

  1. Brenda,

    What a strong lesson on toxic fumes and the burn-out aftermath in ministry!

    Recent polls show that many LCMS pastors are experiencing the same as Elijah and we can’t afford to lose them. (same for DCEs, teachers, etc)


    • Amen. Amen.
      I have had the incredible joy of speaking to 2 groups of LC-MS (Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod) this fall … both through PLI-Leadership. One group in Ohio and anther one this week in Colorado. I also spoke to a group of 17 pastors from the Coldwater Michigan area who came from a variety of church backgrounds. This group has been gathering for years to spend a few days praying for each other. Such a testimony! And Nate, one of our RHRW Presenters was in Mexico speaking to 2 groups of pastors through a translator and in Canada speaking to a national gathering of Nazarene pastors. One person. One group. One family at a time – exploring and embracing God’s design. To God be the Glory!

  2. Hi Brenda,

    This installment really hit home for me. Thanks so much for your faithfulness in this ministry.


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    Kim Sandelin, Spiritual Life Coordinator Office: 269.364.6043 Fax: 269.372.0638 Mobile: 269.267.1608

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    • Kim, Thank you. We do long to be faithful to the call before you.
      God’s Word on rest feeds my soul and fuels my race.
      May Jesus have gentle, healing, and hope-infused gifts for the journey you are on.
      Eyes on Jesus!

  3. Such a timely message for me as I suffered from vertigo this week in a very inopportune time. I found myself asking God why and later was convicted to thank God for the rest. I was running on fumes and was forced to stop and sleep. God knew I needed rest! Thank you for your faithful ministry to share the importance of resting in Him.


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