Thursday, May 15, 2008

Burnout is Hogwash!

Let's explore this topic a little deeper...

First, I think taking a moment to define "burnout" would be beneficial. Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines burnout as "exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration."

So let's talk about this in relationship to being in the ministry. It is so easy to put everything we have into what we are doing. We give and give and work and work and run here and run there and before we know it we are in burnout. Oops! Did I say that? You mean we can get burnout? I thought we established that burnout is hogwash?

Well here is a more in depth look at my thoughts regarding burnout. I have had friends who have called me worn out, depressed, and sounding like they have been drug through the ringer. Then while spilling their guts to me I hear those forbidden words "I'm just burnt out." Going back to the definition, we find this means they are exhausted and have no emotional strength left much less physical strength. Nor do they have the motivation to continue because they are completely frustrated and totally stressed out.

Do you hear the words that are being spoken? Exhausted. Frustrated. Stressed. Are these characteristics we see in Jesus? Jesus is the ultimate and greatest Example. When we question what we are supposed to be doing, we can turn to the Scriptures and look at what Jesus did while in ministry.

So my question to you is this, can you find one example in the Scriptures that shows us where Jesus exampled frustration, exhaustion, and stress? Did Jesus experience burnout? Now some may argue that when Jesus separated himself from the crowds it was because he was experiencing burnout. But, my friend, isn't it more likely that he was simply exampling for us how to avoid burnout? Let me explain...

When Jesus seperated himself out, he fasted and prayed during those times. The only way to arrive at the point of burnout is when we give in to the enemy and allow him to drag us there. We are victorious over Satan! We do not have to live in constant frustration. We do not have to live being completely exhausted after every service and/or board meeting. Stress does not have to be a way of life. These three words frustration, exhaustion and stress should be the exception and not the rule.

If you find you are living in these words weekly or even daily then you need to get in the Word. The Word says that if we will wait on him he will renew our strength. We also find it is the anointing that breaks the yoke, and our despair can be traded for joy. You see, the Word is bursting with words of encouragement for us to turn to when we begin to feel the weight of ministry on our shoulders. We only need to seek God's face and take our worries and concerns and lay them at His feet. Spend some time fasting until we get a breakthrough. He is more than capable of handling our problems.

You see, when we apply biblical principles to our problems they begin to diminish and life becomes not just bearable, but enjoyable, even exciting. We find pleasure in serving our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. We find our emotional needs are being met, simply because we are serving; we are walking in obedience. There may be twists in the road and bumps here and there, but nothing can take away the peace we have in Christ Jesus.

He is truly our all in all....

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