Burnout occurs when our spiritual energies are totally exhausted, and we have no will or vitality to make relationships, or whatever our task is, work. We are completely worn-out and spent. Thus, if we stay in our position without being refueled, we will just be throwing a monkey wrench into vital components, causing them to break. If you are a leader, your burnout is especially devastating to others because you will be the monkey wrench that sabotages the machine of ministry. We may not desire or be willing to do so, but because of our lack of availability due to the fact that there is nothing left of us, we are of no service, and are, in fact, endangering the vitality and ministry of others.
The stresses of life and the hassles of family will get us down and test our limits; even the best-run family will have this problem from time to time. So, how can we tell if we're just tired or are experiencing burnout? First, we need to ask ourselves the accountability questions. If we are operating in His precepts, it is probably just exhaustion. However, if we find ourselves being apathetic and detached from our families, we have a problem. We have to be on guard against the most destructive force, pride! Pride and arrogance will produce a superiority complex. Then, we become careless towards others and lose our perspective of what God has called us to do. We can hurt our family, our friends, and if we are married, cause intense harm to our spouse. Either the pride, the refusal to set boundaries, the refusal to be accountable, or a combination of the three will cause us to fall into burnout and lead us into sin. We have to be willing to determine if we need an overhaul or just a good night's sleep. A mentor or accountability partner will help us see the warning signs.
Accountability Can Help Prevent Stress
You can expect that people at home, church, and work, in addition to your loved ones, friends, pets, and acquaintances will ask you for favors as in your time, resources, talents, or attention. This is good and you should do what you can, but there will be times when they will deplete you, causing you stress. You cannot be everywhere nor do everything! So, you have to learn how to build a fence that says I love you, but can you leave me alone for now! The most important aspect in preventing stress is saying NO in a firm yet kind way with an explanation of why. That way, you can be better prepared. People deserve a reason; don't just say no! Be honest, even if you just need time alone. Do not feel guilty; you have to take care of yourself first before you can care for others!
Be aware of stress with family outings and projects, especially during holidays. They are stressful for many people, so take a look at why it is that way with you. Why does something cause you stress? Is it your time? Is it fear? Remember, you are not indispensable; if you were, you would need help from a good counselor or pastor! To help prevent many of the stresses of life, learn to plan ahead! For big events, make sure you plan them out ahead of time and delegate! Do not try to do too many things or take on too many projects, especially if they are new to you. If you are a procrastinator (like I am), then force yourself to do it early. Once you figure out that life is easier and less stressful when you do things early, you will make it a habit of it. Do not allow people to force things on you just because you have done them before. They need to respect you and your time. Assertiveness is biblical when it is operated within the parameters of biblical character and the fruit of the Spirit!