Friday, April 9, 2010

Burn-out and Depression

Leaders who start movements are often very driven people who desire to impact the world. They were usually radically changed and now see everything in extremes. They live fast paced lifestyles. Beware....

The last words of Peter, before denying Christ, were: "That will never happen to me..." (I will never deny you).

I am reading a book called, "Leading on Empty" by Wayne Cordero. It is his story of his breakdown in ministry. He grew his church to become a mega-church, started a bible college and was planting churches from his church. One day he had a panic attack he could not stop it. The doctor had a very interesting answer to Wayne's problem. "Wayne, your serotonin levels have depleted. You have been living on adrenaline. Your only hope to avoiding a premature death is to stop all you are doing for a year," the doctor said. Wayne responded, "Serotonin? What is that?" (order the book for more...)

Serotonin is a chemical that comes from your brain. It pretty much helps you remain happy, hopeful and energetic. When we go non-stop (even for the "work of the Lord") we can deplete these levels. That is why rest is so important. We must protect our time. We must learn to relax. It takes longer to recharge your serotonin levels than it does to deplete them. This is when burn-out happens.

How do you know that you are pushing too hard and may be on the verge of burn-out?
-Your philosophy is, "I must do the work of God and I don't have time to watch movies or relax, I am building the Kingdom."
-You begin to detach from people and social relationships.
-You have a feeling of despair and suffer bouts of secret depression.
-You are easily frustrated and angered.
-You cannot sleep at night. Headaches.
-You feel like you are a big fake and living like a hypocrite.
-You see no way of stopping your pace you have created.
-Physical symptons of pain and discomfort.
-Addiction to prescription medicine, food or pornography.
-Ministry is more of a job and you feel the pressure of having to "perform" each week.

Some of the greats in Christianity suffered depression: Mother Theresa felt God had abandoned her at times. Charles Spurgeon wrote in his journal of the despair and depression he felt. Martin Luther King, Jr., was referred to a psychiatrist by his colleagues because of depression.

Christians get depressed. Christians can suffer from this. We should never start quoting Scripture and blame a lack of spirituality as the source of the depression.

Leaders who start movements pace themselves. You are either in one of two categories: Lazy or Too Busy. Some people need to get off the couch and get off the computer (facebook), while others need to just chill.

It can can happen to any of us.

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