How To Avoid and Address Burnout

Burnout seems to sneak up on you.  It starts as irritation or exhaustion and then next thing you know you are hiding under the covers wondering, “Is there any hope of me finding happiness?”  The reason most youth ministers find themselves in burnout is because they ignored the warning signs.

The other night I went out for a run.  I reached the end the block and then immediately turned around.  There was a flash of lightning followed immediately by a thunderous boom.  I took this warning sign serious and headed back towards my house.

It’s not always clear exactly what gets us to the point of burnout.  And that’s because there is no one point but a series of events.  To avoid burnout all together you need to:

HAVE PLENTY OF MARGIN

When you have margin it gives you time to identify when you are being attacked.  It allows you to prepare for busy seasons of ministry.  Margin slows down the craziness of life so that you can handle the difficult situations.  Without margin your mistakes will increase because you’ll have minimal time to process. 

 

DEVELOP AN ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM

Sometimes we’re so deep in the trenches it’s impossible for us to see any issues coming our way.  Having an accountability system means having people there to watch your back.  Your accountability system can assist you in decisions and advise you in important matters.

To develop an accountability system find a few people you love and trust.  Give them permission to speak truth into your life.  Allow them to walk with you.

GIVE IT TO GOD

Your relationship with God matters because He’s the one who will fuel you.  If you are not dedicating your life to intentional quiet time then you are only hurting yourself.  When you give it to God you enable yourself to listen to His wisdom.  You also open yourself to His grace to carry you through.

Work on these areas of your life and you’ll be able to handle the pressures that bring burnout.  But, what happens if you are already there?  Then you need to:

  • Lean in and address it immediately.
  • Seek God and ask for forgiveness and grace
  • Ask for help from those who love you (i.e like your accountability team)
  • Look for time off to rest, reflect and rejuvenate
  • Bring it to your pastor or supervisor for guidance and wisdom

Address burnout when it hits you.  Avoid it by building safeguards around your life.  There will be ups and there will be downs.  You just need to know that when it gets dark it’s not always the end.  

Question: How do you know if you are heading towards burnout? What are some warning signs I might have missed?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

 

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