359. When Feeling the Burnout

359. When Feeling the Burnout

Burnout is becoming more common. A study done in the US said around the world, three out of 4 workers said they’re burned out. There are three major symptoms of burnout: Exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. In other words, you feel constantly tired, you keep questioning the motive of others, and it takes longer to finish routine tasks.

Burnout has no favourites, as it also happens to people who are engaged in noble tasks, such as ministry. The scripture tells us, even miracle-performing prophets like Moses (Number 11:14) and Elijah (1 Kings 19) were burnt out too.

There are many reasons for burnouts, but this is a common reason: Giving more than receiving. It is simple a math that when there is less coming in than going out, you get a deficit. But the deficit doesn’t manifest immediately. For example, we can still run on an empty stomach, as our body smartly extracts energy from itself if there is no food coming in. But soon the body is famished, and we eventually get knocked out.

As easy as it is to blame circumstances for burnout, the solution begins from acknowledging that it is what we have allowed. As long as we think we are the helpless victims of a terrible life befallen us, we won’t find the way out. However, it also means that we hold the key to the way out, whether by making necessary change or seeking help.

One immediate step to take when feeling the burnout is to decrease giving and increase receiving. As unspiritual as it may sound, we are not needed in all good things we are asked to give. Certain tasks need to be delegated, and we may need to say “no” to people’s need (including our family) so that they would take more responsibility for their needs. You would be surprised to know how much we are busy doing someone else’s responsibility. (I’ve delegated to my kids folding their laundry long time ago!)

We also must increase receiving. It involves carving out more time to be alone with God and ourselves, whether that happens daily or through regular personal retreat. Speaking from my personal experience and others, even a day or two can clear up our mind and heighten our sensitivity to what God is saying.

Burnout is neither something shameful nor proof of weakness. It happens to the best of us. But remember that it takes courage and decisiveness to take good care of ourselves.