I'm in a season of learning right now from the Lord. He's been working on a message in me for a while, and while I may be in fact jumping the gun, I'm going to put down all I have on the matter anyhow. I shoot first and ask questions later. Tha's how I roll!
I think the reason I feel the freedom to write this as well, is that there is no one in particular that comes to mind when in regards to the following, although I'm sure that time will come very soon. We are, after all, more predictable than we think.
Burnout, according to Wikiqedia, is " a psychological term for the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest. Research indicates general practitioners have the highest proportion of burnout cases; according to a recent Dutch study in Psychological Reports, no less than 40% of these experienced high levels of burnout. Burnout is not a recognized disorder in the DSM although it is recognized in the ICD-10 as "Problems related to life-management difficulty."
If I hear the word "burnout" ever again in context to the church, I'm going to start throwing flaming bags of poop. Just be aware, if you say that around me, you need to immediately duck to avoid chard burning brown paper lunch bag and fecal matter.
(There! I said it. I actually feel a lot lighter.)
People, in fact, are afraid to even BEGIN to encounter ministry and Kingdom Building from the fear of burnout alone. It's common in the Christian church to say things like, "I just feel burned out." "I'm just exhausted." "I feel taken advantage of." "I feel empty."
My new reply to the above, "aaaaand...."
(followed by flying flaming poop.)
Tell me, at what activity on this world do YOU NOT get burned out?!? Eating the same meal over and over. Watching the same NOTHING on TV. Hanging out with the same emotionally draining person. Your Monday through Friday routine. Workin' for the man. Taking out the trash. Dishes. The same album that you've been listening to for the past 2 months. Dramatic workplace gossip. Changing diapers. Laundry or sweeping the Kitchen floor....AGAIN! TELL ME?!?!?!
If I had TO CHOOSE (yes...all caps.) something to get burned out on, it WOULD in fact be Church and Kingdom work. If I'm going to get blistered and frustrated, I would rather it be while dumping myself into building kingdom colonies wherever I find myself. If my feelings were going to get hurt, I would rather it be over something I deeply care about, and something that is tendered by the Lord. If I'm going to raise my voice in objection, I would rather it be defending the truth. If something was going to keep me up at night, it should be His Voice plotting in my head and heart.
God is teaching me that burnout is inevitable. We are going to get burned out in everything we do, no matter what. We are promised, however, in the house of the Lord that when we are empty, we can be renewed, all for the sake of doing it all over again.
My whole life will had better be exhausted in bringing The Kingdom right down here where it belongs. It's what I love, even when it sucks. It's where I want my kids to grow up. It's where I want to be ruled and reigned over by One Good King. There is nothing else...
My resolve and advice: Adjust your priorities. You are always going to get burned out, no matter what. Dust yourself off and get back in there and start swinging. Listen to the voice of the Lord. Be renewed when you are empty. Find your "cross to bear" AND DO IT. Suck it up, and do it. Resolve, and do it. Believe you me, I need to be told this from time to time. Lay your resentment of imperfect folks before the Throne, and move on.
The Lord is ALREADY on the move and ALREADY doing great works and wonders. Determine to stay in the game.
Phew! There. It's out.