Burnout. In My Opinion!
You will want to read this blog to the end, especially if you are among those who believe that burnout is a copout...
What is it?
71 % of pastors are burned out, according to Schaeffer Institute.
80% of pastors wives wish their spouse would choose another profession. (SBC poll)
Burnout is comprised of a series of frustrations, anxiety, fear, depression, failure, and insecurity. Inevitably embracing unrealistic expectations will lead to physical, emotional and spiritual burnout which could manifest in the following ways:
Physical: unexplained body pain, migraines, unhealthy relationship with food which leads to weight gain or loss.
Emotional fragility, living on the edge of tears which leads to avoiding people, including close friends; isolation. Panic or anxiety attacks, explosive anger.
Spiritually, this is where the battle is potentially won or lost. The desire to avoid spending time in the Word is heightened.
Why does burnout occur?
Of course, we know the enemy is at the root of burnout but we set ourselves up for it when / if we have wrong priorities. Our lives will be completely out of order unless our relationship with Jesus Christ is the number one priority.
Your spouse has to be next on your priority list, no exceptions. If your spouse is not more important than your ministry then your marriage is in trouble. Please feel free to quote me on that.
Children are third in the order of priority! However at times ours felt as though they were secondary to ministry. The balance here can be challenging but we have to do whatever it takes to help our kids have a clear understanding of ministry calling; we must not blur the lines. Family is our priority.
Ministry falls in after family! That is exactly what I meant to write! I've heard some of our adult friends say that strangers knew their dad (minister) better than they knew him. If we aren't careful our kids will resent ministry for interfering with family. Most people work their hours and go home. A minister is on call 24/7 and sometimes we love the accolades that come with self sacrifice but this is an unhealthy behavior and can be self destructive.
Ministry does have it’s demands but don’t misunderstand me, as much as I love the calling on our lives, I’m not willing to sacrifice my marriage or family.
Burnout prevention: This is where the rubber meets the road. From my own personal experience I have to do EVERYTHING I possibly can to PREVENT burnout from occurring. Over the last 32 years, of walking with Jesus Christ, I have had to learn the passion of prevention and the preparation of perseverance. Let me explain.
passion of prevention: I am big on preventing burnout. Prevention takes passion and intentionality. When I am passionate about preventing burnout then I thrive in my physical, emotional and spiritual life. This means taking time out of our crazy life and making physical activity happen. It requires spending time with my accountability partners, allowing them to ask me some hard questions. Getting in the Word when I don’t feel like it because I know this is the one solid act of prevention that will keep me out of the ditch and on the journey with Jesus.
preparation of perseverance: simply means pressing on when adversity presents itself. When the feast is plentiful then preparation must be made for the famine because drought is on the way, spiritually speaking.How does one prepare for famine? I have to make up my mind, in advance, to push forward in the knowledge of God through His Word. I have a deliberate daily plan of action because the intensity (for me) begins when my feet hit the floor.
Here’s the plan:
be honest with God
be honest with myself
be honest with my husband. Humbling but necessary!
“for I satisfy the thirsty person and feed all those who are weak.” (Jeremiah 31:25 HCSB)