I'm really now sure where this idea came from yesterday, so let's unpack it together and see what it looks like. Usually, when we think about burnout, as if one was suffering from a "stress-induced hazed", it often comes from a long-period of having done too much; over-worked and under-paid, they've had too many irons in the fire and have worn themselves done to nothing; having spent tons of effort simply trying to maintain, let alone stay ahead of the curve.
Yet, what happens to the irons in the fire that don't get tended to often enough? What happens in the kitchen, when there is not activity, for whatever is on the stove-top. Sure there are times you can step away for a moment, but cooking, like pastoring, isn't one of those things you can set it and forget it and hope it won't burn. If you aren't in there, moving things around in the pan; making sure that nothing comes out over-cooked and burnt to a crisp, then don't be surprised if that's exactly what happens.
Whatever you were making will be unrecognizable.
The aftermath, for whoever has clean-up duty, will also be unbearably frustrating.
I'm not advocating that pastors should be running all around, in a frenzied-flurry of activity, nor that the should be making drastic changes in their life on a frequent basis to keep "changing things up". Conversely, though, to sit in that position with all it entails and not have a plan of engagement; to show activity and progress; to move things around and make things work... you could easily find yourself burnt simply from sitting in one place of intensity; which ministry has always been and forever will remain.
So, once again, we discover life is about balance. One will find themselves just as ineffective from having done very little as if they had taken on way too much and couldn't manage it all. Sadly, both extremes exists in ministry, as it does in life. In trying to bring this to a close, it just occurred to me, how we often referring to the testing and trials of our faith; for even Scripture talks about us being refined by God, as by fire. Yet he moves in our lives. There is activity in our faith. We don't sit in one place; we don't battle with just one area for a pro-longed time. There are challenges at home, on the job, in the community, with family, friends and enemies. God is not trying to burn us to destroy us, but to perfect us. While it may feel as though we are being over-cooked, God's timing is perfect. He has not left the kitchen of our lives and forgotten about us.
Pray, this #associatePastorTuesday for those on the verge of burnout. Whether it be from a difficult challenge that has gone on for too long with no progress or too much activity to stay on top of and manage well, pray for strength as their day progresses. May God grant to them fresh insight and revelation as to what they should do and how they should go about it getting it done. Pray their conversations and actions would be effective; that they would seek and receive the help and assistance they need. May frustration and angst not get the better of their attitude, nor their spirit; but that they would remain focused on Christ... placing their trust in God, anew and afresh, the author and finisher of our faith. Pray they would be used of God, in greater capacity as they submit to Him; that it will all come together in the end, as the Refiner's fire purifies and perfects within them, the image of Christ... just as He works to accomplish the same in the life of every believer.
Tried and tested,
Not burnt beyond recognition,
But served ready for His purpose.
For His glory.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.