Tuesday, September 15, 2009

from busy to burnout

I think God might be trying to tell me something. the cover story on seveeral Christian magazines have been about "Running on Empty" and avoiding ministry fatigue. The topic at a recent Senior Pastors' gathering was dealing with burnout. And, a friend recently confessed that he was in a fog with so much ministry.

So, last Sunday evening, I talked briefly with our ministry leaders about burnout. When we "burn the candle at both ends," we're liable to find the flame of ministry eventually snuffed out completely. Through my conversation with other ministry leaders and some research on the topic, I presented the following 10 Symptoms of Ministry Burnout:

1. Longing for “greener grass”-- Desire for a new ministry, new community, or a new church.
2. Dream of escape --Desperately needing to get away. You spend more and more time scanning the Travel section of your newspaper.
3. Anger and cynicism --Conversely, a lack of humor.
4. Increased addictions -- To fill the voids in life, you busy yourself with other distractions. television and Internet are often the worst culprits.
5. Lack of joy in your calling -- You no longer delight in or get excited about successes.
6. Task-orientation -- With an increasing feeling of hopelessness and failure, you begin attending to tasks to “get something done."
7. Loss of creativity and newness -- Your mind shuts down to new ideas and creation.
8. Isolation -- The fear of being exposed causes you to retreat from community.
9. Neglected responsibilities -- What you used to do naturally, you now forget.
10. Unhappy spouse -- Your unhappiness and discontent are mirrored in your mate.

Truth is, we all can experience some of these challenges during the best of times in life. But, when several of these show up in my soul, I need to take inventory to see if I'm about to go down in flames.

7 comments:

The Batman said...

David,
As I listened to you Sunday night, I quickly identified with 7 of the 10 in my job and at least 5 as a parent. But none in my ministry. Go figure. :-)

BRANDY said...

I think you have nailed it! I have really had to learn to pray through taking on more responsibility. I have learned that just because you say "Yes" to everything does not mean God is going to bless you in all that you are saying “Yes” to.

No doubt, God needs workers and I am ready, but I need to pray to see where God wants me to work. Not just be a "yes, person". Otherwise, burnout can occur. Not to mention you saying "yes" may actually be taking away from God using someone else in that position.

The Devil likes to busy our schedules and I think that can even occur in the church... I may be wrong, but I have witnessed burnout.

Anonymous said...

What should you do if 7 1/2 of these apply?

David Daniels said...

Anonymous, From what I'm hearing, just about everyone can identify some of these factors in their life...maybe from burnout, maybe not. The greatest antidotes include: 1) margin, 2) drinking from God's Word daily, 3) connection in community, 4) exercise, 5) make sure to serve in your giftedness, 6) be on guard against enemy ambush (1 Peter 5:8).

Just Me,Pilgrim said...

For several years, all 10 of these applied to my special education teaching job. I was too afraid to leave it though because I thought that since God had called me to it, I had to keep it forever.
I didn't realize that my calling from God could be just for a season, that He could call me to new things. Last year I quit teaching and have since gone on to a new, similar job but out of the education world. God brought me into a new calling & brought me a new job that I LOVE. I feel so much better & am back to my old self again.
Thanks for posting these. I'm going to share them with others.

Anonymous said...

, thanks for your leadership.

Andrea Himmelsehr said...

Ugh- all 10! I relate to all 10 RIGHT NOW! Which is why I'm on your blog instead of playing with my kids... (#4)
Wow. What now?