Monday, June 10, 2013

Thoughts on Burn Out

As a leader who desires to start a movement in your church or organization there is a hidden enemy called, "Burnout."
I remember in 2007 sitting with Coach John (Chasteen), Dean of Southwestern Christian University, at an Applebees in South Carolina and he explained burnout to a friend and I on a napkin. He drew the picture of a linear graph and showed the signs and procession of burnout. He also shared his dramatic experience with this. He even stated that once you burnout you never get fully back to that place of energy again. 

Even with all this information I burned out in the summer of 2011. There were TONS of external issues that helped contribute to it, but the main factor is that I allowed myself to burnout. 

The key is that we often think that if we had a different scenario we would not burn out. We get into the "when-then" mentality. The view that burnout is an external issue is the problem. The reason one lets burnout happen is just that- they let it happen. 

Here are a few thought on stress....
1. Know the Signs: Anger/Frustration. Lack of joy in hobbies that once seemed fun. Marriage or close relationships suffer. Depression. Lack of motivation. Physically tired all the time. Withdrawal. Constant ideas on how to escape or quit.

2. Know the Reasons (personally): Stress comes because of being overwhelmed. This can come because of personal high expectations or meeting other's approval. This may come from conflict or tasks that seem overwhelming. 
Know what burns you out personally. 

3. Act Immediately: The moment you think you are burning out- act. You are the master of your life. Don't act as a victim. That's what got you burned out in the first place. Take some time. Explain to your wife, leaders or denomination that you need a few days off. Begin to seek God fresh once again.

4. Set up Boundaries: Weekly have a time of personal refreshing. You need to do this spiritually and recreationally. Guard your time carefully. Have a way or ways to "dump" stress. As a dump truck gets loaded, so do you. It doesn't stay loaded however. It's called a "dump" truck. Take an inventory of the things you are doing to dump stress. Make them happen.
Learn to REST! God rested on the 7th day not because He was tired but because He made a model for us. Perry Noble recently said, "If you don't work people may call you lazy, but if you don't rest God calls you disobedient." 

Do you find ministry frustrating?
Have you lost joy and peace, internally?
Are you fatigued and lack motivation?
Are your sleep patterns changing?
Do you dream of doing something else (fantasizing)?
Have you lost gratefulness?

Talk to someone today. Be open, vulnerable and honest. Take some time away. Rest and recharge. Most importantly, let God speak to you about your situation. You were never mean to carry that stress.

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