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Posts tagged ‘burnout’


SOURCE:  Nicholas Hemming

When you’re about to lose it at work, call out to God for peace and hope.

With a yawn and a sigh, you grab your lunch, saunter out your front door and casually climb into your car. After years of enduring a miserable job, you’ve grown accustomed to dragging your feet. Why should you hurry?

When you arrive at your desk, you know exactly how the day will unfold. Your boss will walk by and ignore your existence. You’ll have at least two angry emails waiting for you. And your co-workers will give you a half-hearted grumble when you greet them. That’s just how things go in your workplace. And that’s why you drag your feet every morning.

Do you feel miserable at work?

Whether you can’t stand your daily responsibilities, work for a difficult boss or feel overworked and underpaid, the process of surviving a challenging job can feel suffocating. You’d love to start applying for new jobs. But the whole process—updating your resume, interviewing, trying to figure out if you want to relocate, starting over with a new boss—overwhelms you. So where can you turn?

In these moments, you can call out to God for peace and hope. And you can open your Bible and meditate on reminders of God’s presence with you. These three prayers will get you started:

Lord, I’m losing patience with my boss, my co-workers and my entire company. Fill me with your peace today.

You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.Isaiah 26:3 (GNTD)

Lord, I feel trapped in this place. When I’m here, I constantly feel agitated and annoyed. Fill me with your joy today.

Light shines on the righteous, and gladness on the good. All you that are righteous be glad because of what the Lord has done! Remember what the holy God has done, and give thanks to him.Psalm 97:11-12 (GNTD)

Lord, I need a job that better suits me. Fill me with your hope today.

May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13 (GNTD)

Profile of a workaholic

SOURCE:  Ray Pritchard/CareLeader


You’ve got them in your church, and at times, you can relate to them yourself.

A workaholic is a compulsive worker: he chooses to work a lot, think about work, and then work even more.

What does the Bible say to workaholics?

Ecclesiastes 6:7–8 says, “All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied. For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living?” (NASB). His “appetite is not satisfied.” The Hebrew word translated “appetite” may also be translated as “soul.” This is yet another reminder by Solomon that we were made for more than food. A man may get up, go to work, come home, go to bed, and then do the same thing for the next fifty years. After that he retires to Arizona, plays golf, and then he dies. So what? His soul has not been satisfied by anything he has done. He dies unfulfilled even though his friends said nice things about him at his funeral.

What are the signs of workaholism?

The modern term workaholic refers to those people who are addicted to their work. For them, work is life, and the more they work, the better they feel. Here are three telltale signs of workaholism:

  1. Their total energy is given to their work so that they have nothing left to give at home.
  2. They constantly think about their work even when they are not at work.
  3. They find it difficult to relax when they are away from their work.

What are common characteristics of a workaholic?

Workaholics generally are Type A personalities: committed, aggressive, demanding, perfectionistic, goal-oriented, high achievers, impatient with weakness, easily frustrated, having enough stamina to work twelve hours a day six (or seven) days a week. They love the long hours and the high pressure job. One man said, “I don’t know how I got rich. I only worked half-days: the first half or the second half.”

What wrong beliefs do workaholics hold?

From God’s point of view workaholics make three fundamental mistakes. To be more specific, they believe three heretical ideas:

  1. “It all depends upon me.”
  2. “If I don’t do it, nobody else will.”
  3. “My worth depends upon my work.”

Like all heresies, there is a grain of truth in each statement. Work is good. It was created by God for the benefit of the human race (Gen. 2:15). But for a person to believe his worth depends upon his work is to deny the truth of the grace of God. Workaholics are simply repeating the Galatian heresy—that we are saved by grace but kept by works (Eph. 2:8–9; Gal. 3:3).

The truth is, it all depends upon God. Everyone comes to that conclusion sooner or later. Unfortunately, some people have to die to find it out. Happy are those who understand the difference between living to work and working to live.

25 Tips for Avoiding Mom Burnout

SOURCE:  Family Life Ministry/Janel Breitenstein


A list for those who—like me—struggle with overcommitting and overworking.

1. Sleep may be more important than you think it is. Remember, God made it. Get some.

2. Mentally set a time on the clock when you will stop working and do something that replenishes you. If you need accountability, tell someone in your household and ask them to hold you to it.

3. Pray about every activity to which you’d like to say “yes.” Ask God to uncover your motivations for a “yes” and pray about whether He would have you say “yes,” too. Make sure your husband is on the same page, and when appropriate, invite your children’s input.

4. Make a goal to spend a certain amount of time playing, cuddling, and/or generally enjoying your kids every week or every day. Though there will be other times to pursue some of your activities, their childhood is only now.

5. Politely say no.

6. Take one day a month or a week to “fast” from technology. Ask yourself if you really need to be that accessible.

7. Talk with your husband about reasonable limits for your kids’ activities and the effects your decisions will have short- and long-term. Seriously consider the cost-benefit ratio, and pray together with open hearts about your schedule(s).

8. Ask for help when you need it.

9. Swap babysitting with a friend for one day. Consider taking part of the day as a spiritual retreat, and part to do something you thoroughly enjoy.

10. Set up a regular date night with your husband.

11. If the “good” is the enemy of the “best,” decide what you’ll set aside (e.g., that basket of laundry) for something more important (that game of Chutes and Ladders your kids have been begging to play, or calling a friend).

12. What projects on your back burner would make you feel the most relieved if they were tackled? What friend might be willing to lend (or swap) her expertise in organizing, artistic skill, or childcare to help you dig out?

13. Politely say no.

14. Take a bath, eat something you really like, or enjoy the equivalent that causes you to slow down, savor God’s goodness in this moment, and remember His sufficiency to fulfill what is necessary.

15. Slowly read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

16. Examine whether you have enough relational breathing room in your schedule to enjoy friends, extended family, your kids, your marriage, and your walk with God.

17. Rest one day a week. If it helps, make a few guidelines for yourself about what you won’t do on that day (empty the dishwasher, cook, answer email … whatever works for you).

18. When you feel your stress levels rising because of your task list, take 5 to 10 minutes and “go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret” (Matthew 6:6).

19. Trust God to provide other people to do what needs to be done.

20. Observe the immediate and distant effects of your schedule on your kids. When they look back at their childhood, what will they remember? What will they know was most valuable in your home?

21. Memorize and meditate on verses like Psalm 23, 127:2; Matthew 6:31-34; Ephesians 2:10; and James 3:13-18.

22. Think about the things that you do to relax … and whether they actually relax you. Do you know what rejuvenates you?

23. Politely say no.

24. Create pockets of silence and rest in your life. Turn off the TV, the iPod, the radio. Use the time to simply, quietly be with God instead.

25.  Ask God to help you listen to Him.  Then practice, practice, practice.

BURNOUT: What is it? What do I do about it?



  • Jane hung up the phone. The nursing home had called again, her mother was refusing to eat, and could Jane please come immediately. When Jane got into the car, she was surprised by the waves of anger that she felt. It seemed like it was all up to her to take care of everything. Lately she moved in a blur from caring from her children and her husband to her students to her mother. It seemed like everyone always needed something and lately she was beginning not to care.
  • Tom was barely ever home. The new job, while lucrative, had him on the road much of the week. Travel was exhausting, so even when he was home, he barely had the energy to keep up with his two year old.
  • Sandy is a good student—maybe too good. She’s involved in a score of activities and taking advanced classes. She’s starting to have difficulty sleeping, she can’t relax, and at times, she can’t even focus. She’s starting to think that nothing she does is good enough, and so she may not even apply to college.

Definitions and Key Thoughts

  • Western culture continues to push the limits, has become increasingly obsessed with the “pursuit of excellence,” and burnout has reached epidemic proportions, even within the church.
  • Burnout is a stressful state characterized by physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, chronic fatigue, and lethargy.
  • Someone experiencing burnout may:

-feel cynical toward life

-have a strong desire to “escape”

-experience a false sense of failure

-display emotional distancing, numbing, or apathy

-become hypercritical

-experience negative feelings toward others

-show inappropriate anger or sadness

-succumb to depression

-endure a resulting physical illness

-abuse alcohol or drugs

  • Burnout is often experienced by those in the helping professions such as clergy, doctors, teachers, police officers, social workers, and others who work extensively with people. It is thought to result from the excessive demands that others place on their energy, time, and resources.
  • Burnout can also be felt by caregivers of the chronically ill or by overburdened parents. These people often feel trapped by the demands of others, isolated, and unable to find sufficient time for rest and relief.

Assessment of Burnout

Q1 How are you feeling physically? (If you are experiencing burnout, chances are you haven’t been caring for yourself physically. If you haven’t had a recent physical, it might be time to schedule one.)

Q2 How are you feeling emotionally?

Q3 When did these feelings start?

Q4 What prompted you to seek information?

Q5 What are the stressors in your life?

Q6 How large a part does each stressor play in your stress level?

Q7 What kind of support do you get—both with your responsibilities and for yourself personally?

Q8 How do you perceive yourself? (For example, someone who feels that he must meet all the needs of an aging parent to be a “good” child is setting himself up for failure.)

Q9 What do you do for fun?

Q10 Are you able to relax?

Q11 What do you do when you relax?

Q12 What are the activities you’re currently involved in?

Q13 How would you prioritize these activities?

Q14 What can be taken out of your schedule?

Q15 What can be put into your schedule to help you have down time and family time?

Q16 What would keep you from doing that?

Q17 What is the worst thing that will happen if you say no or pull out of certain responsibilities?

Q18 What will happen if you do nothing?

Wise Counsel

Any physical concerns and issues should be addressed medically.

Try to take immediate action to gain some short-term relief from your responsibilities.

Try to mobilize family members and friends to begin sharing more of the load. Ironically, someone who is overburdened needs this help the most and is often least able to ask others to provide it.

There is both a short-term crisis component to resolving burnedout and a longer-term component of beginning to live life in such a way that burnout doesn’t reoccur. If you are burned out and overstressed, immediate relief is essential — begin to get adequate sleep, relaxation, and exercise. Then as you begin to recover, looking at some lifestyle issues that may have caused burnout will be important to preventing burnout from reoccurring.

Action Steps

1. Take Control

  • Don’t relinquish control of your schedule to the whim of everyone else.
  • Put a concrete plan in place to relieve yourself of some of your responsibilities. Enlist the aide of family members and friends. Name this as a crisis and validate your own need for others’ help and care.
  • If you are a student, find the balance between what is essential and what is “extra.”
  • Schedule days more sanely, humanely, and relationally.

2. Say No

  • This is a very helpful word—and often the overworked don’t know how to say it.
  • While some things can’t be dropped (if you’re a student you have to do homework, if you’re a businessman you have to travel, etc.), there may be creative ways to schedule to allow for less stress and more rest.

3. Understand God’s Will

  • God never guides you into an intolerable scramble of overwork—after all, Jesus didn’t live that way.
  • Before you say yes to any new activity, pray about it. Even if it’s a good activity, now may not be the time. Realize that there will be other phases in your life when the time will be better.

4. Slow Down

  • Consciously slow the pace of life.
  • Take the time you need to replenish your own resources.

5. Set Priorities

  • When you set priorities, you may get less done, but you’ll be doing the right things.
  • When you think about what really matters, much of your frenzied activity will be seen for what it is — frenzied.

Biblical Insights

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. —Genesis 2:3

  • From the very beginning, rest has had a special significance for God.
  • God rested, and He made the seventh day a day of rest for us as well (Exodus 20:8-11).

So the Lord said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.” —Numbers 11:16-17

  • Pushing hard with many hours and demands can become counterproductive. We need to set boundaries around our time and energy to protect ourselves
  • God is aware of our limitations and encourages us to lighten the load by delegating responsibility to others who can help us be more productive and effective.
  • We should consider our responsibilities and how we can delegate to others in order to get the job done.

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. —Isaiah 40:31

  • Isaiah reminded God’s people of the value of waiting upon the Lord. “Waiting” does not mean inactivity; rather, it is patient service that is not overcommitted and overextended.
  • Many desire to “mount up with wings like eagles,” but they assume that the harder they run the more likely they will fly. The harder people run the more likely they will fall. Instead, “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” Such “waiting” is the antidote for spiritual burnout.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
—Matthew 11:28-30

  • Jesus says that He will take from our shoulders the heavy burdens that are burning us out, and replace them with an easy yoke, a light burden.
  • Jesus is in touch with the burdens of life that we carry and how much they hurt and exhaust us. When we give our troubled hearts to Him, He gives us rest for our souls. That kind of rest will cure our burnout and renew our enthusiasm for Him.

And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” or there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. —Mark 6:31-32

  • Even our Savior, being God, was aware of His human limitations. He never seemed to be in a hurry; He didn’t work 24-hour days. Even as more and more people crowded to Him to hear His words and be healed, He would often withdraw into the wilderness and pray (Luke 5:15-17).
  • After an exhausting time of ministry, Jesus invited His disciples to take a break in order to refresh themselves.
  • A hectic schedule takes a physical, emotional, and spiritual toll on us. God knows that we need to come aside and rest a while so that we don’t burn out. He will refresh us so that we can continue to serve Him. Rest and refreshment is not wasted time.

Recommended Resources

Before Burnout: Balanced Living for Busy People, by Frank B. Minirth & Paul D. Meier

How to Beat Burnout I–II: Broadcast Cassette/CD, by Focus on the Family

Refresh, Renew, Revive: How to Encourage your Spirit, Strengthen Your Family, and Energizen Your Ministry, by H. B. London

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