How Can You Avoid Burnout?
I can always remember the moments when I resented my work in ministry.
The constant activities and events, the flow of people through your house, the lack of time with your spouse, children or friends.
Most of your foggy thoughts are about when you will get some down time for yourself. When I first found myself feeling this way, I didn’t know the reason was that I didn’t have God’s view of work and rest.
Growing up in the U.S., I was groomed to value busyness, productivity and even hurry. Rest was for weak people who needed it, which I thought didn’t include me.
What I heard in church and the Christian culture was “die to yourself,” “consider others as more important than yourself,” “sacrifice yourself for the cause of Christ.” All of these good biblical principles were applied through the cultural grid of “success” I mentioned above, with no mention of biblical rest. No wonder burnout is a common reality for so many who serve in ministry, as volunteers or full-time.
So when my own burnout experience happened, after we had been on staff with Cru for 20 years and serving as national campus directors in Venezuela, I didn’t understand how or why I had arrived at this very dark place.
Thankfully the Lord reconnected me with an old friend, former Cru staff, now spiritual director. She asked me what I was experiencing with the Lord.
My reply: He seems distant and silent. Then my friend asked me what my vision for my relationship with Him was.
No one had ever asked me that before. However, many had asked me about my vision for my ministry. When I responded that I wanted to experience His love daily and grow in intimacy in my relationship with Him, she asked if I thought that could happen currently in the way I was living. And I immediately said, not a chance. That is when I finally realized that this was not going to be a small adjustment in my schedule but a radical shift in how I thought about myself, my life, ministry and God.
What has changed since then:
About the Author: Sheri is a native Arizonian who has followed the Lord and her sense of adventure to live and minister in many places: Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, Venezuela and currently in Costa Rica. She has been married to Keith for 29 years and they have 3 children. She is currently the coordinator for prayer and women's leadership development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
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