The Dead of Winter. I don’t know what precipitates your winter of the soul, but for me, it’s the dreaded two-hour delay from school, or worse yet, the cancellation. As I’m writing this, my kids are home yet again. I’m thinking about making them come with me to get groceries because my day still has to happen, you know?
In the big scheme of things, I realize school delays are mere speed bumps on the road of life, small potholes even. Last weekend, guest speaker Tim Butler talked about something a little more serious: burnout. A professional counselor and life coach by trade, he probably knows a little about the subject. Tim defined burnout as feeling completely, emotionally drained after having exhausted all my efforts. It doesn’t necessarily mean we were doing something wrong; it just means we gave so much energy and life, and now there is nothing left.
Most of us have probably experienced at least some level of burnout during our lifetime, or we know someone who has. Some of the signs of burnout can be depression, irritability, or reduced creativity. Whether we work inside the home or outside, there can also be a lack of desire to return to the job.
Throughout the rest of the week, we will be discussing how sometimes God is telling us to change our attitude about our work. Why we do what we do matters. Having the wrong motivation can lead to burnout. But, sometimes when we feel burned out, God is telling us to change our actions, to do things a little differently. Either way, when we get to the end of ourselves, he will meet us there.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Remember one of the key verses for this series:
Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Toward the end of this week, we will discuss the survival tips that Tim mentioned. These tips may help provide some of the vision you need to avoid burnout and survive the dead of winter.
(By the way, the snow plow just went down the road. Groceries, here we come!)
Have you ever experienced burnout, or do you know someone who has? Do you know how you ended up there?
Who are the people or what are the activities that feed life and energy back into you?
Based on your personality, make your own list of signs that you might be experiencing burnout. Have a conversation with a close friend, and ask them to let you know if they start seeing these signs from you.
God, thank you so much for another day. Thank you for meeting us right where we are, whether on top of the world or burned out at the bottom. Sometimes I wait until I have exhausted all my own efforts to turn to you. But help me to learn for the next time that you were right there all along, eagerly waiting for me to surrender my will to yours. Give me eyes to see your power and presence in my life, especially in my weakness. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Rochelle Sikora. Rochelle is a wife, mother of two, and writer and editor for the LivingItOut. She is also currently pursuing a master’s degree in ministry through Wesley Seminary.
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