The challenge of burnout

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The challenge of burnout      

 2 Corinthians 5:2 “Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling.”

Extra Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.

Why do I feel so tired? This is the question many people ask themselves. Some do not even understand the reason why they feel so tired. Others have an idea why they feel that way, perhaps due to overwork and less time to rest. Exhaustion or burnout comes from bearing too heavy a burden for too long a time. If we don’t have regular times of refreshment, weariness may even become fatal. Sometimes a job that seems too big can be as burdensome as a job that truly is too big. We can grow weary just thinking of an enormous job ahead. But what is burnout? Someone explains it as the state of emotional, physical, and/or spiritual exhaustion that makes a Christian worker unable to carry out his or her work. We all know that burnout affects our effectiveness in the Lord’s work. Potential causes of burnout are many, but overwork and prolonged exposure to the pressures of living and working cross-culturally are some of the most important reasons. Living in the public view, facing unfulfilled expectations, and issues of self-esteem may be more important burnout issues for most people.

Unfortunately, all these challenges are often compounded by a lack of pastoral care or by some senior leaders insensitive to the psychological pressures their juniors face. Some people are unable to adapt to new work situations and end up with a burnout. We get tired when there is too much work and the job seems too big. Nehemiah 4:10 states, “Then the people of Judah began to complain that the workers were becoming tired.” At times our attitude toward our work and people who oversee us may add to the burnout we experience. We also get tired when we have a long sickness and grow weary of it. Paul lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often he was hungry and thirsty and have gone without food for days, just for the sake of spreading the Gospel across the globe (2 Corinthians 11:27). He also shivered with cold and without enough clothing to keep him warm. We get tired when we are constantly lacking necessary resources.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to identify burnout early and deal with it. In Jesus Christ’s name, we pray, Amen!

Rev. Samuel N. Modise

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