Burnout is a Word That We Hear So Often Nowadays.
So many people are all about the “hustle culture” and quickly hit a wall in their ministry. I am not talking about the typical “they just aren’t a worshipping congregation” or “they say we’ve introduced enough new songs for a while” walls. The wall I am talking about is the “I am just so exhausted all the time” wall.
When leaders get to this point they often end up needing extended periods of time off or leave ministry altogether. But this is something that we can do a lot of different things to minimize or resolve altogether.
Why Do We See This?
Most of the time when people have reached the point where they perceivably have nothing left to give, it is not because they have given all they have. Controversial statement I know, but hear me out.
Having “nothing left to give”, more often than not, is a result of discouragement or something else going on outside of the ministry.
Something went wrong or something isn’t progressing in the way you thought it would. Like summer going by too fast or a great conversation where you lose track of time, when things are going well there is rarely a burdened felt. But the day you stain your shirt with coffee first thing or when you get that email from the congregational critic, those are the long days.
Life happens outside of ministry too. Things as small as the dog having an accident in the living room or the death of a loved one all happen. Things tend to pile up also. Small things can grow big and big things can come out of nowhere.
So What Can be Done?
1. Perspective, who is this for?
You are serving the Lord of the Universe, who is the provider of all good things. You do not breathe without him telling your lungs to work, you cannot sing without his air. You can truly do nothing apart from him. Entrust your efforts into the Lord to be multiplied. Doing ministry in love is an incredibly serious and high calling on your life and should be approached as such.
Having a grateful, giving heart is a great place to start and an applicable way to maintain a good headspace while serving.
Food for thought, could this hard time be a time when the Lord is growing? If you give up or don’t push through you may not reach an area of growth that the Lord has for you. You could be stunting your spiritual growth without even realizing it.
2. Preparation, how are you using your prep time?
What does your week look like? Be honest with yourself about this question. Could you have spread out your weekly preparation throughout the week versus cramming?
There is no point in spending all your time preparing one difficult song or passage only to have the rest of the set suffer.
This also applies to your relationship with the Lord, it is just that, a relationship. We all know it, but I think most of us (myself included), are better at being intentional with our worldly relationships. A little bit consistently throughout the week and days is better than a hardcore all-night bible study most of the time.
3. Personal Life, how is your personal life in order?
Life is never fully compartmentalized, as much as we think it is at times. Every aspect of your life seeps over into the other. How often do you have a hard day at work only for it to get worse when you get home, I feel like it happens every time.
We can do well in multiple things in life, but there is a limit for most people.
I have found in my life that I can remain a strong part of my family, friend group, workplace, and 2 “hobbies” max. This does not mean that every day you are operating at a superhero level in each area, rather the opposite. If you want to do anything well, focus on that thing while you are doing it. Be present and intentional. If you are trying to rest and take your mind off things, put your phone away and don’t check emails (they will still be there later on). If you are working out, focus on working out and not what your cheat meal is going to be for the week. Do the best you can while you are there, and when you are not there don’t worry about it.
All of these tips and guidance are for the run-of-the-mill situations that we all seem to face at least a few times throughout the year. These situations can be made better with intentional short periods of rest and conscious work. When something life-shifting happens and you need an extended break or to step down talk to your pastor or a trusted elder. Decisions like that should not be made on your own and are to be taken seriously. They are an incredible source of support and guidance.
To Sum it All Up
Remember who you are working for, prepare wisely, keep your house in order, and rest intentionally. Is this something serious or something you need to push through? Hard work does not go unnoticed by the Lord.
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