STRESSED OUT, BURNED OUT AND HAVEN’T FIGURED IT OUT

In my blog this morning, I would like to encourage the men and women who carry the weight of leadership in the Kingdom of God. I’m talking about the ones who don’t get to just come to church, but they see to it that people are being led into a deeper walk with Jesus. They lead in children’s ministry, student ministry, music, media, sound, small groups, guest services, ushering and etc. They’re responsible for the success of so many areas of the church and giving it all for them is not an option.

Leading people can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be very frustrating too. I’ve left church services when I felt incredible joy, then receive a phone call later that night and feel like all of the wind had left my sail. It’s amazing how you can work with a lot of people and at the same time experience complete loneliness. You know you’re called to do it, yet at times, you can’t help but question why you do what you do. People will look at you like you’re a hero one day, then treat you like a villain on another one. Sometimes you walk in a room and think to yourself, I wonder who is talking about me here?

You give of yourself until you reach a point when you have no more left to give. You’re completely drained and depleted and often, no one knows it, including yourself. Yes, there are times you’re not even aware of how empty you are. You’re stressed out, burned out, but you haven’t figured that out. This is when things can get really bad for a leader. If you’re able to see these signs, then most likely you can avoid heading down that dangerous road. However, when a leader continues to work and ignore the stress they’re under, the results can be devastating.

Oh, I know the excuses leaders use to keep working without taking a break, because I’ve been there and use to say the same things. If I don’t do this, then it won’t get done. Or, as soon as I get done with this project, I’ll take some time off. The sad thing is, the project very seldom ever gets done. You need to understand that God called you to lead, not bleed. You being revived and restored is imperative to you, your family and the people you are leading. You cannot be what’s best for them if you’re not at your best.

I remember early in my ministry when I was pastoring my first church, I thought I had to solve all the problems everyone had in my congregation. I was running at full speed and had no plans of slowing down. I’ll never forget stressing over some issues going on in my church and I shared them with my dad. He said, son, you need to remember that this is God’s church, not yours, so stop worrying about every little problem. He reminded me that God will take care of His people and all I have to do is feed them and lead them. That was great wisdom then, and it’s still applicable today.

Let me say this to every leader. You are not able repair anything if you are broken yourself. There will always be problems that need to be solved and with all the work you do, you’ll never get it all done. As long as you are willing to listen, there are people who will tell you their troubles. Please understand that I am not minimizing the issues that so many are dealing with, but if you don’t take some time off and rest, you’ll soon collapse under the weight of it all.

I would suggest that you get in a rhythm of resting. Make sure you have a time set aside every week, every month and certain times throughout the year, where you rest and regroup. Depending on what you’ve been dealing with will determine how much rest you may need. As crazy as it sounds, when I find myself getting to this level, you’ll find me in front of my tv playing my PS4. Sometimes it just feels good to shoot some monsters, play football in the super bowl and be a cowboy in the wild, wild west!!! Don’t judge me…LOL. Watching movies with my family is another great way to break away too. However, there is nothing like going to the beach and listening to the waves crash on the shore. For you, it may be something totally different, but whatever it is, take the time and get away.

Even Jesus taught His disciples the importance of resting after giving yourself to the work of God. Notice what He tells them in Mark chapter 6 after they returned from working in the ministry.

Mark 6:30-32 (KJV)
30 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you lead…there are times when you just have to get away from what you’re doing. You need to take a break before what you’re dealing with ends up breaking you. Working too long without any rest can cause you to resent what you do and the people that are needing your help. You have to love what you do to really be effective, so when you feel yourself becoming less passionate, that’s a sign you need to take a break.

You’ll find that resting will help you refocus and give you a brand new perspective on things. I find that when I return from taking some time off, I feel rejuvenated and inspired and that ends up blessing the ones that I lead. They need encouragement and motivation and as long as I’m taking care of myself, I’m also taking care of them. To be a great leader, you don’t have to give your followers all of your time, you just have to give them quality time. Stay rested, so when it comes time to help them, you can be ready to give them your very best.

Some leaders don’t figure this out until they’re stressed out and burned out. Don’t wait until the walls start falling before you realize they need your attention. You can avoid some major family issues if you’ll reassure them that you’re not going to sacrifice time with them, to lead others. Don’t expect your family to be ok with you giving all your energy to the people you lead, and then have none for them when you come home. I’ll write more about this later.

Leaders, I’m praying for you today and I hope I have encouraged you to schedule some time to get away and rest. I hope you’ll also consider my advise on creating a resting rhythm weekly, monthly and specific times during the year. God called us to lead, but He also made us to need rest, so make sure you’re getting some. If you want everyone around you to benefit from your leadership, then know when to lead and when to take a break.

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