Summary: Even though many people do not like to admit it they are suffering from various levels of emotional, spiritual or mental burnout. When people lose their enthusiasm, excitement and energy in their work they tend to become bored thinking it may be time to t
How to Avoid Burnout
Even though many people do not like to admit it they are suffering from various levels of emotional, spiritual or mental burnout. When people lose their enthusiasm, excitement and energy in their work they tend to become bored thinking it may be time to try another occupation. Burnout is a phenemenom that is common in all types of occupations but particularly among the service oriented jobs. Too many individuals believe that they are doing thankless work that goes without recognition, reward or a sense of accomplishment. Nearly 50% of the Pastors who go in to the ministry this year will burnout or lose their passion seeking another occupation within three years.
1. Refresh, renew and replenish your spiritual batteries with the joy of the Lord. Nehemiah taught us his secret of avoiding burnout when he wrote in the midst of the difficulties with overseeing the rebuilding of the wall, “Do not mourn or weep…Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:9,10)
Most people who burnout lose the joy of the Lord because they try to get their satisfaction from accomplishments, human relationships or recognition. Only the joy of the Lord is able to help us overcome all the strains of remaining steadfast, unmoveable always abounding in the work of the Lord. (I Cor. 15:58) Sometimes we need to set aside time, resources and emotional focus to recharge what has been deplenished.
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright once told of an incident that may have seemed insignificant at the time, but had a profound influence on the rest of his life. The winter he was 9, he went walking across a snow-covered field with his reserved, no- nonsense uncle. As the two of them reached the far end of the field, his uncle stopped him. He pointed out his own tracks in the snow, straight and true as an arrow’s flight, and then young Frank’s tracks meandering all over the field. "Notice how your tracks wander aimlessly from the fence to the cattle to the woods and back again," his uncle said. "And see how my tracks aim directly to my goal. There is an important lesson in that."
Years later the world-famous architect liked to tell how this experience had greatly contributed to his philosophy in life. "I determined right then," he’d say with a twinkle in his eye, "not to miss most things in life, as my uncle had."
Focus on the Family letter, September, 1992, p. 14.
Illustration: Imagine a wick that is placed in oil, and then lit. If the oil runs out, the wick burns. As long as there is oil, the wick doesn’t burn. As long as we are living in dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit, we don’t burn out. The question to ask: what’s burning?
Illustration: On Jan 25, 1990, Avianca Flight 52 from Colombia crashed just 15 miles short of New York’s Kennedy International Airport, killing 73 passengers. Reason: the plane just ran out of gas. Under international regulations, an airliner must carry enough fuel to reach its destination as well as its assigned alternate, plus enough extra to handle at least 45 minutes of delays. Due to low fuel condition, the Avianca pilots had requested "priority" (not "emergency") landing. Because the exact word "emergency" was not used, and due to heavy traffic and bad weather conditions, the ill-fated plane was placed on a holding pattern...until it simply ran out of gas.
2. Remember it is not by your power or by your might but by the Spirit of the Lord’s strength that you will find renewal, hope and meaning. The word of the Lord came to Zerubbabel saying, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty. What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of God bless it! God bless it!” (Zech 4:6,7) The is eager to do a great new work in, through and with you if you will just ask Him. He is in the business of knocking down mighty obstacles for all those who are willing to live more by faith than by fear. He makes a way when there seems to be no way. Quit trying to engineer your own way out of your emotional rut. Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:19) Too many times in the ministry we try to orchestrate our own success when it is the Spirit of the Lord that gives victory, success and blessings in His own way, time and empowerment. Be assured that the Lord is using you in significant ways even though you might not feel like it at the time.