"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Is Your Bulb About Blown Out?
We’ve all been there you know, it’s not because you’re a baby that you are pounding your head in the pillow and sobbing. The moment when you feel that you have the expectation of the world on your shoulders, but seem to run into an interruption at every turn, yep that is burnout. It’s that feeling you get when it is as if you are spinning your wheels and gaining no more ground than when you started. Psychology Today defines the term saying, “The cynicism, depression, and lethargy of burnout can occur when you're not in control of how you carry out your job, when you're working toward goals that don't resonate with you, and when you lack social support. You may have spent the last several days, months, or years grinding your hands to the bone in hard work, but making no progress. Maybe the only accolades or rewards you received for an extra effort was an exhausted body with no sleep in sight or the latest medical breakthrough pills that treat the strongest of anxiety. It doesn’t matter where you work or even if you work. It doesn’t even matter if you are restrained to a wheelchair or only a college student, we are all susceptible to burnout.
I could go on for days talking about how it isn’t your fault, who, and what you should blame, or I could just tell you the truth. Yes, it is your fault because this is your life. We only get one physical life on Earth to live and we must make the best of it that we can (1 Corinthians 15:46). Sometimes we lose sight of this fact and allow life to get the best of us, other times it is the drive for a well accomplished life that seems to push us to our limits. Either way, we can quickly find ourselves on the expressway to our “real crazy state” if we allow our lives to become un-balanced. I’d like to stop right here and warn you that if you have a physical or psychological issue going on, we’re not doctors and you should get help. However, if you ‘ve recently burned yourself out lately or allowed life to, (I will admit that I have recently been burned out, which was part of the inspiration for this article.) I would like to provide you with some effective biblical and practical tips for how much to identify, handle, treat, and prevent the return of the condition known here in the States as “burnout.”
The first step in the burnout recovery process is to identify the symptoms, problems, and its causes, followed by handling that condition the best way possible. Everyone’s symptoms from burnout are not identical. My symptoms for example tend to be irritability, fatigue, depression, anger, and I have even noticed low self-esteem. Yours may be similar, the same, or even completely different than mine. I do notice however, that when the conditions are properly handled, the symptoms quickly fade. My first piece of advice on handling your burnout is that unless you’re hurting someone or a living something, do what you have to do. Completely losing your temper in your pillow not only allows you a release, but doesn’t cost you a dime (unless of course the pillow is destroyed in the process.). As a teen, I found that throwing objects like rocks and sticks in the woods helped calm me down. Today, the gym has that same impact on me to help as a release to accept all the aggression I have in my body towards my issues from that week.
Praying is one of the best things we could ever do to ease our burdens from the issues we are dealing with (1 John 5:14). If we are willing to let go of them, Christ can take those burdens off our shoulders and carry them away for us (Psalm 55:22). The second most integral part is to halt your “burnout causing” activities. Identify any behaviors or tendencies that seem to be adding to your stress. Sometimes putting an immediate hold to necessary activities like school are out of the question, however, we should take charge of what we can. Excess in nearly any area of life is often a bad thing (Proverbs 25:16; Proverbs 23:20-21; 1 Peter 4:3). Too much chocolate cake makes the stomach ache, so does too much fun or work. We should balance life according to how the Word of God instructs us. This includes family life, work life, play life, and personal life. All facets of our life should be carefully planned and thought out on a regular basis. I call this the family checkup. At least once every few months, my spouse and myself sit down to discuss what is going on, what can be improved upon, and what we plan to do next. Just being on the same page with my spouse helps to prevent a boatload of stress and worry that has a potential to explode at any moment. We are a pretty well-oiled machine, operating at full capacity and directed by the Word of the Lord. That is why when things get out of hand, we take it to the great engineer himself Jesus! By making prayer time, alone time with God, and planning out activities in accordance with your family your priority, you can help to prevent the big burnout moments in your life. However, when the inevitable comes and life does happen, that is why we have a big brother in Christ watching over us, begging to take away our burdens (Matthew 11:28-30).
1 Corinthians 15:46 (KJV)
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
Proverbs 25:16 (KJV)
16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
Proverbs 23:20-21 (KJV)
20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
1 Peter 4:3 (KJV)
3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
1 John 5:14 (KJV)
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us
Psalm 55:22 (KJV)
22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.