beating burnout

by Pastor Mark Jordan


“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG)

This week we are exploring burnout. We have looked at the components, as well as the stages of burnout. We also looked at fighting the temptation to withdraw while feeling burnout by connecting with God and others. The rest of the week we will look at four steps to beating burnout, taking each one separately.

The first stage is to prioritize self care. It is essential to eat well, because we either tend to not eat or binge on junk food while experiencing burnout. You need to get moving and exercise, because we tend to want to just sit still and look at the TV or wall while going through burnout. This is not to belittle rest, because that is essential in overcoming the hyper-vigilance that invades our heart and mind’s need to recover. You also need to be relational, connecting with God and others in worship, prayer, fellowship, and service.

As you can probably see, there are rhythms that emerge in life, which are essential to beating burnout. When burned out, we lose sense of these rhythms. It is extremely difficult to stumble on these rhythms yourself; you need to be taught. In today’s passage, we read Jesus’ invitation to come and learn those rhythms from him. These rhythms help us know when to work and when to rest; when to engage and when to withdraw; when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. When we learn these rhythms, we experience the free and light life we seek. And when we do begin to feel weighed down, to experience the strength, wisdom, and love of our Almighty God.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for teaching me the rhythms to living freely and lightly when I otherwise feel spent up and burned out. Help me to remember it is about relationships with you and others, as well as caring for the way I eat, sleep, exercise, and rest. Thank you for Jesus, who gives me the model for how to do this in my own life. Amen.