I’m starting my 12th year in girls ministry at Brentwood Baptist this fall. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great leaders, great volunteers, and great families over the years. Some of those have stayed for a season, a reason and some seem to be in this for a lifetime.
As I continue serving, I recognize that some have moved on from ministry due to stress or burnout. I’ve recognized even in deeply loved friends who serve in other ministries that they have moved from stress to burnout. It’s so sad to me because it didn’t have to be their story. I have watched stress and burnout cause bright-eyed, passionate people forget a call on their lives and settle for something less than what they were created for just because they didn’t set boundaries…or know how to pace themselves.
I read the below quote from the Dr. Arch Hart, author of Stressed or Depressed (2005, with daughter Dr. Catherine Hart Weber)
Dr. Hart says that there’s a clear distinction between the emotions and feelings associated with stress and those linked to burnout. Here are a few of his insights:
Stress is over engagement; burnout is disengagement.
Stress results in over reacting; burnout results in lack of emotion.
Stress affects our physical energy; burnout affects our motivation and drive.
Stress makes a person tired; burnout makes a person feel hopeless.
Stress produces anxiety disorders like panic and phobias; burnout produces paranoia, isolation, and feelings of worthlessness.
What do you do to handle the stress so it doesn’t lead to burnout? Don’t swallow it. Have a plan to surrender it and to take care of your soul regularly. My church requires we take a day a month for soul care and 5 weeks away every 5 years. I’ve been able to have a soul care retreat with my discipleship team and last week came off of a ministerial retreat with our church. I was so thankful for the interruption of my schedule to rest. I came into the soul care retreat with a terrible cold. Always a red flag that I’m pushing my body past it’s limits. I needed time for my soul to catch up with my body. I know I’m not the only one that needs regular soul care. So…how bought you?
What’s your plan? Go ahead…get it on the calendar. You have my permission to stop running and rest. So…Be still. Remember you are not God. It’s important you remember that–regularly.