by Pastor Mark Jordan
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 14:4-5, NIV)
This week we have explored burnout. It is real and can have major impacts. The components of burnout are exhaustion, cynicism, and a loss of self esteem. The stages of burnout are enthusiasm, followed by stagnation, leading to frustration, which causes apathy. There is help for burnout, though, that comes from connecting with God and others in worship, prayer, service, and fellowship. To help us on our journey of recovery from burnout, we explored the need for prioritizing self care, finding transformation through the renewal of the mind, and experiencing God’s peace in the midst of a stressful life. As we consider the final of the four steps toward recovery from burnout, it is all of these pulled together.
Connection. That is the final, and perhaps most important step, bringing us full circle. When we feel burnout, we withdraw. It begins with exhaustion and a need for rest that cannot be overcome by a nap or a vacation. It leads to cynicism where you feel as though nothing you try can help or be effective, so you begin holding back your ideas and efforts. Then you fall on the damaging reality of a lost self esteem where you no longer think your efforts are worthless, but you yourself are worthless. You, therefore, withdraw to protect your energy and whatever sense of self you have left, fearing that if you open your life up to others, you leave yourself vulnerable to the deathblow of your hope and significance for living. Don’t withdraw, though; rather, reconnect with God and the people he’s given you to do life with. Reconnecting gives you others to help carry your load and show you the peace of God, renewing your mind, and helping you with the stressors in life so you can get back to caring for yourself. Connection is critical.
Are you suffering from burnout? There is hope. Know you can begin a relationship with God and the people he’s given you to do life with. If you withdrew and got away from them, you can begin again…you really can! Why? Because God wants you to know that your life matters and you have something to offer the world. Your life matters…it really does! How? By belonging. God wants you to belong to his family, meaning we are called to offer and receive support with our very lives. Later in John 15, we see Jesus teach about how abiding in him helps us love others and find complete joy in him (vs.9-14).
Find your purpose, which will keep you fueled and aflame. You can help connect people to God and each other, changing lives to change the world. So don’t burnout. Keep serving. Do life with other people. And together, find the renewed perspective needed to transform your life!
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for helping me see there is hope beyond burnout. I know you want me to begin a transformed life in you, believing that my life matters, and belonging to your forever family. Help me to live in such a way where I know my life matters, and I can help others suffering burnout know they matter, too. I pray this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.