Are You Burnt Out?

  • 15 February 2019

Last Fall, while traveling with my brother on one of his speaking tours, I talked with a several people who mentioned that, in the past, they had become burnt out with serving, and some had even walked away from God for a while due to being tired and disillusioned. At least one person mentioned feeling like she was carrying a lot while others were doing nothing.

I suspect burnout is a common experience but one that most don’t talk about. After all, you might appear to be not very Christian if you admit that your heart is not into your service. If this is you, I hope this post will encourage you.

You may remember the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was busy serving while Mary spent the day sitting and listening to Jesus talk instead of helping her sister. I believe Scripture records this story so that we can learn from it.

“Martha” personalities have a hard time saying No. Whenever something needs done, they sign up, not really thinking through the activities they are already committed to and making a responsible decision to know whether or not this is something they can pull off.

Although I know there are some, I really don’t see many “Marys”–people who are spending quality time in God’s presence and are making that their priority. The reason most people don’t volunteer to do things is due to laziness or not wanting to come out of their comfort zones. And this is why “Martha” is getting burnt out.

If you are exhausting yourself to the point of frustration and failing health, I would like to suggest that it might be time for you to take a break and learn to become Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus and letting Him refresh your Spirit. Fulfill any commitments you have made but don’t take on anything else unless you know it’s what God is calling you to do. If you are serving out of guilt or obligation, there is a good possibility that God never intended for you to take on so much.

I believe that one can do thankless, exhausting work and yet have joy while doing it. If you are not experiencing this joy or the grace that comes from the Spirit when you are doing His work, then it’s time to reevalute. Now, if you are a complainer who doesn’t like to do anything, I am not talking to you. This is for those who have a heart to serve but who really need a break. You know who you are. The fact is, as hard as it may be for you to believe, you are replaceable. If you are like me, you don’t like to hear that, but you are. And it’s possible that, if you step down, someone else, whom God has been working on to develop a servant’s heart, will step up to the plate.

Remember the people I talked to last Fall? They had all returned to being active in the church but they’d learned to scale back and not over-commit. Even Jesus needed rest sometimes. Don’t underestimate the importance of that.

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  1. Hilary - February 15, 2019 at 9:11 AM

    Yet another great read, thank you Sony.

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