Disclaimer, I’m not certain I did! Then again, I never had to miss any work, and I did not see a doctor, so maybe I avoided it, or jumped out of the vehicle just before it went off the cliff.
About six months ago, I woke up one morning and realized I only had one goal for the day – to be alive at the end of it! No kidding. I was honestly concerned that I might experience some type of malady, be it psychological or physical, that might sideline me that day. I prayed, breathed, and got out of bed. Needless to say, I did make it through that day.
Here was the situation I found myself in that day. I was stressed for several reasons:
That November morning, I did not know what burnout felt like, I had never experienced it, but I thought I was getting close to it. Of course, I did not have time to burn out. You know, who has time for a nervous breakdown, midlife crisis, an accident, a serious illness, a divorce, or an unexpected emergency of any kind?
I did not have the time or the luxury to walk away from any of my commitments, in my marriage, family, ministry, graduate work, or 200churches. I was getting to the brink, and it knew it, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. I did not want to be another statistic.
That November morning, I prayed. And, I told God – “this is serious!” Like he didn’t already know, right? I told him I just needed help to get through that day, and to make it through that particular time in my life. I did a couple things, and God did a couple things (but I will give all the credit to God, of course!)
Here’s what I did:
Here’s what God did:
God allowed me to work with him to help me avoid complete burnout. Not to say I won’t crash sometime now in 2014 – but I don’t think I will. Every time we experience deep struggle, we get better and stronger. I’m still overcommitted, just not as much so. I have put a couple systems in place to help me, and I know that this summer I will finish my graduate degree and my load will get considerable lighter.
If I may, let me share one observation: I have deep passion for the major areas of my life. Family, God, ministry, academics, and encouraging pastors of small churches through 200churches.com. When you are passionate about something, you will find energy and strength for it. If you are not passionate, you cannot drum up enough energy even for the smallest task, especially when you are in burnout mode. Make sure that the responsibilities you decide you need to keep, and are called to, are ones you are passionate about.
Finally, if you are overwhelmed right now,
This Wednesday, episode 66 will feature our conversation with Pastor Kevin Pringle, an inner-city pastor from Lincoln, Nebraska. The topics we will touch on are burnout, equipping your people to serve and lead, and race in the church.
Kevin shares his own story of how he was staring down burnout, and how he was able to avoid it. He is a happy, joyful, man of God! You will be encouraged as much by Kevin's ready laugh as you will the great message he shares!
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