"I’m so tired.”
“ I need a break.”
“I don’t know if I want to do this anymore…”
“This used to bring me so much joy."
Have you ever been here before? That feeling of being lost and wanting to quit, questioning why you are even a part of this. You’ve lost the passion you had for serving and the skill God has given you; you’ve lost the desire to grow, and you just “need a break”. I know I have been here and will probably be in this place again; sometimes while there are other extenuating circumstances (i.e. family, work, etc…) that may be contributing to my state, if I am totally honest with myself, being "burnt out” often times has more to do with me than anything else. Being burnt out is often times a side effect of another issue and often reflects where my walk with Christ is at the moment, what I am finding my identity in, and what my motivation for serving is. Often, in these moments I am trying to find my strength and identity in something other than Jesus. When I get to this point my natural reaction is to become very “self-focused", blaming other things, events, and people for being in this place; but if I can humble myself, allow God to speak into the situation, repent, and allow that to change my heart, this can turn from a time of questioning to a time of growth.
One of the best things that we can do during times of burnout is seek after the Lord in prayer, asking Him to change our hearts and reveal the “junk” that has brought us to this place. Another way that we can reveal the junk in ourselves is by asking ourselves good questions and allowing the Holy Spirit and the Word to convict and reveal the idols of our hearts. Here are some questions that I have found to be helpful:
When was the last time I spent a significant time in prayer and the Word?
Have I let life run me over?
What am I finding my identity in?
Am I finding my identity in Christ and who I am through Him? My ability? Other people’s impressions of me? Other people’s acceptance of me?
Have I lost sight of why I started serving in the first place? What is the mission behind why I am serving?
Why do I do what I do?
Would taking a break help me or am I using this to avoid dealing with something else?
Last but definitely not least, we were never designed to run at this alone. If you are ever in a place of feeling burnt out, bring people into the situation to walk alongside you through the situation. Let people speak into your life. Let people pray for you. Allow God to use the people He has placed around you to encourage you, even rebuke you, and help you grow.
Will I ever be burnt out? Absolutely! We live in a broken world, and I’m as broken as they come; but I am fully convinced that when my confidence and identity is in Christ and His grace, mercy, and righteousness for me, my desire to glorify God and serve the church will not be shaken. When my focus is glorifying God and His mission for me, and when I am relying on Him and not myself for my strength and identity, I can have confidence that He will give me a passion for His church that will be beyond anything I can even imagine.
by Daniel Vencil