I was done. I didn’t know it, but I was done. My church was struggling, and I was hurt about that. Why wasn’t God giving me growth? My son was sick, and every seizure was a gut punch. I was hurt about that. Our personal finances were being pummeled by doctor bills, I was physically exhausted from working long hours with too little recovery time, and my most reliable source of replenishment had been taken away.
When a person is behind the curve on multiple fronts, it is nearly impossible to be spiritually, physically, or emotionally replenished. And without replenishment, no matter how strong or how full we once were, our engine will burn out.
Excerpt from Better after Burnout
My relationship with social media is . . . complicated. On-again-off-again. On-again-off-again. At the moment, we’re on. For now. But I’m really giving it a shot this time. So much so that I’m trying something new, Instagram Reels.
I’ve heard that Reels are the poor man’s (or the old man’s) TikTok. I open Instagram, tap the “reel” icon and begin to scroll through videos. As trivial as they are, I’m hooked somehow. There’s a wife’s gobsmacked reaction to her car having been covered with sticky notes by her prank-loving husband. I wonder, How long did it take to stick all those notes to the car? That had to be staged. Even so, it’s funny.
There’s a girl shoveling food in her mouth with sloppy, sucking noises. Why does such bad manners make food look so good? And how is she that good at bad manners? Is there a school for that? Are her parents proud . . . or nah?
Ah, look at this one. It’s a gorgeous mountain hike with an inspirational voiceover. Reminds me of my recent trip to the Tetons! Oh, man. I want to go back.
Scroll. Scroll. Scroll.
Eventually, I notice some of the voiceovers are repetitive. Multiple people using the same audio, yet giving it their unique interpretation and spin. One example is a clip from The Office with Michael Scott asking his HR guy, Toby, if he can get rid of a certain employee. Toby says, “Not without cause, Michael.” To which Michael replies, “I have cause. It’s because I hate him.”
A realtor uses this clip to show his ire of appraisers coming in too low on real estate deals. A fitness guru uses it to show how much he dreads “leg day.” A dog owner uses it to express her dog’s desire to boot the annoying cat out of the house. So on and so forth. I soon learned that this kind of content is called a trend. There is even a trend on burnout. The trend I’m talking about sounds like a clip from a podcast interview.
The guest, who sounds quite young, said, “A lot of people feel they’re burned out because they’re doing too much. I think you’re doing too little of the things that make you feel alive. You’re doing too little of the things that really matter in your life.” The host gives a few affirming “yeah, yeahs” in the background. Several people use the audio to show themselves doing activities and work meaningful to them. The clear message is, “If you do what you like, you won’t burn out.”
I used to believe that once. Probably when I was about the same age as the person from the audio clip. By my early thirties I was a pastor, father of three, and an English teacher. All of these things were fulfilling. They made me feel alive. Until they almost killed me.
One reason is because adrenaline is indifferent. Whether it’s good adrenaline from a big win or bad adrenaline from an unpleasant crisis, it has the same net effect on our body. It increases blood flow, heightens physical awareness, and gives us a pleasurable rush of dopamine. This is useful for snippets of our lives that require the best of us for our survival. But living this way will eventually wear us out. This is why it’s quite possible that we kill ourselves by trying to feel alive.
Read more to learn the five strategies for burnout prevention and recovery. Purchase your copy by clicking the image below or here.
Resources and Links
Better after Burnout serves as a reminder to anybody burning the candle at both ends that at some point, we need to take time to rest. When we do so, we might discover that better lies on the other side of burnout.
This is a story of one leader who experienced burnout, picked up the pieces, and got back up again. But it isn’t just a story of burnout. It’s a story of hope. It’s a story where God steps in and reminds us He is for us.