Overcoming Burnout

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings likes eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

Will a human being ever swim across the ocean? Run a one – minute mile? Go six months without sleeping? Of course not, because of the established fact of human limits. Yet because of rapidly changing conditions of modern living – largely due to progress always giving us more and more of everything faster and faster – we are attempting to exceed our limits in scores of areas all at the same time. THE PAIN IS PALPABLE. People everywhere are collapsing in exhaustion, wondering what hit them.

What hit them was overload. This can be defined as the point at which our limits are exceeded. “Load” is not the problem. “Over” is the problem. We have all heard about the straw that broke the camel’s back. Once a camel is maximally loaded, a mere straw will cause the break. The problem is not the load – camels love to carry loads. The problem is the overload.

Stress is such an accepted part of our modern culture that most of us accept it as normal. In reality, stress distorts our physical, mental, and emotional health, and affects our attitudes, marriages, work, and even ministry. We can overload ourselves to the point that we can burn out and are no longer effective in God’s work. From the very beginning, rest has had a special significance for God (Genesis 2:3). This rest is not always easy, however. Even Moses had difficulty obeying the call to rest. He experienced unrelieved stress trying to keep two million Israelites happy as they wandered in the wilderness. God called Moses to rest and to delegate some responsibilities. Soon others helped carry Moses’ burden and his stress became more manageable (Numbers 11:11-17).

God’s calling in our lives does not eliminate stress and burnout automatically. No where does the Bible promise to ease all the stress in our lives. It does promise God’s peace when we allow Him to control our lives and shape our decisions. He gives us practical ways to limit stress and avoid burnout in the framework of His design for our lives.

We would do well to consider doing less, but RADICALLY PRIORITIZING. Remember, the multiplying coefficient for our labor is the power of the Holy Spirit. The same God who spoke the universe into existence sees our faithful efforts and instructs the Holy Spirit to expand the benefit to whatever level best glorifies Him.

“Lord, even when I have trouble all around me, You will keep me alive.”




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