We often hear professionals in the business world talk about being “burned out.” These individuals feel mentally helpless and burdened with guilt. They are ready to make drastic changes in their career paths or family commitments. Sometimes they are ready to quit altogether.
Yet burnout does not occur in the business world alone. Burnout has crept into the world of church work and family life. Many people serving in the local church feel discouraged and exhausted. They feel guilty because they are not meeting the needs of their families. Busy schedules and multiple demands on their time become overwhelming.
Does this fast pace alone produce burnout? It probably does not. The interesting factor for Christians is that in most cases the person experiencing burnout has abandoned his or her daily alone time with God. He begins to serve and do church work in his own strength.
So how do Christians remain free from burnout? The answer is not as complex as you might think. It begins with spending time with God in prayer and His Word. Do not neglect your ongoing spiritual growth.
As you renew your commitment to spend time with God on a regular basis, consider these simple steps using the word burnout as an acrostic.
- Establish a time each day for prayer and Bible study.
- Claim 1 John 1:9 and ask for forgiveness in neglecting your time with God.
- Read 1 Kings 19 to review God’s solution for Elijah’s burnout.
- Look to Mark 6 and be reminded of Jesus’s plan for dealing with His disciples’ burnout.
- Talk with God when you feel tired and overwhelmed. Let Him know how you are feeling.
- Ask for His help and claim His promise of peace.
- Spend time meditating on the promises of God to revive your spirit
- Allow yourself time for rest, laughter, and music. You may just need a good night’s sleep.
- Take time to laugh and heed Scripture’s advice that “a cheerful heart is good medicine” (Prov. 17:22, NIV).
- Listen to Christian music that reminds you of God’s love, God’s care, and His sufficiency.
- Read leisurely. There are many good Christian and classic novels that will awaken your imagination.
NOURISHMENT AND EXERCISE
- God has provided all kinds of wonderful foods for you to enjoy. But His plan is for you to “eat to live,” not “live to eat.”
- Eat in moderation and establish an exercise plan. Even a short brisk walk can be refreshing.
- Instead of dwelling on yourself and your challenges, invest yourself in others.
- Ask God to guide you in ministering to those around you
- Pray that God will give you a close Christian friend who is loyal and a good listener.
- Talk to this friend when you feel discouraged or feel like you will never catch up.
- Don’t let the crises of each day consume you.
- Prioritize your time. Every human being has the same number of hours in each day.
- In your quiet time with God, ask Him to lead you in establishing these priorities: God, family, work.
Commit yourself to this cure for burnout. Stand firm in your renewed resolve to let the Lord equip you for all He has called you to do. When eliminating things from your fast-paced schedule, make sure that spending alone time with God in worship is not only still on your list but also that it is found at the very top!
Lifeway staff contributed to the development of this article.