I answered the phone at work and an older man’s voice said: “Hey, I’ll be back in the gym soon. I just wanted ya’ll to know what’s been going on with me. I’ve had a down-in-the-dumps situation…. ” I told him: “Mr. so and so, you are not the only one! There are many people pushing through these times and I’m thankful for your honesty. I am also appreciative of the accountability you are setting up for yourself by calling and telling someone! We want you to be healthy. We want you to get back at what helps you be better and living life well.”
These conversations are happening all the time. I know that burnout does not just happen to ministers. It happens in all life careers. Me and Derek had been to a funeral some months ago. The preacher talked in very slow motion for two hours. I found myself looking back at the door. Wanting to escape… to go do something carefree like shopping for curtain clips for the airstream camper- bamboo window treatments I’ve been wanting to hang. I look over and Derek has checked his phone 17 times. We don’t know what to do with ourselves! We are trying not to zone out. Not “bored” exactly. Yes to being “burned out.”
In the last long minutes on the pew, I’m thinking about our lives and what we haven’t yet accomplished. The person they were talking about was so useful with their life, no doubt. It got my wheels turning. As we drove to lunch and sat across from each other in a complete stare, we had nothing good to give one another in those moments because we were both burned out. Tragic. Stabbing. Burn.
We needed an infusion that instant. We needed resurrection. We needed each other. But we’re stone cold in a burn out phase. Then the Holy Spirit says to me to turn this around like the song from John Reddick! I start telling Derek truth of being burned out. I give him the facts about my own feelings. He admits it too. But we won’t stay here we agree. We will make it out of this like always.
Courage Question: Do you think you’re doomed? Have you met with people who could give you some other options than going down, down, down?
Courage Quote: It’s time to tell. It is time to be well.
Next week, I’ll give some advice about burnout. I hope you’ll join me in getting well!!