I preached on rest, rhythm and burnout this past weekend at church and thought I’d share some more thoughts on it this week for my blog readers. You can listen to my sermon here if you missed it.
Yesterday, I shared how to burnout. Today, I want to unpack how you know if you are burned out. The reality that most Americans are experiencing burnout or fatigue of some kind, they are just ignoring it.
Fatigue, burnout. While similar to being tired, it is quite different. When you are tired, simply taking a nap can fix it. Fatigue and burnout take something different.
Here some common clues:
- What used to be easy is now difficult.
- Difficulty falling asleep.
- Difficulty getting up in the morning.
- Tired in the middle of the afternoon.
- Low energy when it comes to exercise or sex.
The following are ones from a series Sojourn Network did on the topic:
- Inner restlessness with an underlying sense of anxiety which leads to a defensive, angry spirit.
- Deep emotional weariness leading to obsessive or scattered thoughts.
- The waning of relational intimacy and a growing fantasy world (especially as it relates to our sexuality).
- Numbness of soul so that people become tedious to us and we haven’t the internal energy to give attention to their deepest needs.
- Feelings of boredom, melancholy, and depression in response to a growing hopelessness.
- We pretend … we live more into our image than our true sense of identity with God.
- Our spiritual practices are at best random and replaced by life’s demands so that our spiritual life has a serious lack of enthusiasm and love for Christ.
Some of the things that come easy for me as it relates to life and leadership are making decisions, preaching, reading, exercising.
Here are some of the warning signs I saw in my life during this time:
- Katie and I went to a movie theater. On the way there, we debated between 2 movies that started 5 minutes apart, but I couldn’t settle on what I wanted to see. We went into one theater. Over the course of 7 minutes, we changed theaters 5 times. I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to see. About an hour into the movie I got mad that we didn’t go and see the other movie.
- I found myself in between services at Revolution hanging out in the back. My desire to talk to people was at an unbelievable low point.
- I had little desire to prep my sermons, think ahead.
- My vision for Revolution became very cloudy and reactionary instead of proactive. I couldn’t decide what series to preach on and went back and forth multiple times.
- Some of my regular practices of exercise slowed down.
- I didn’t take a retreat for almost 6 months.
The reality for me right around the first of the year, 2012, was that I was hitting a wall. After 3 years of church planting, running at a fast pace, I was toast.
Does any of this resonate with you? What things have you experienced that are signs you are burning out?