Monday, June 16, 2014

Burnout: The High Cost of a Broken Life.

We have all experienced days filled with a multitude of tasks infused with incredible stress and tension laced time pressures.  All too often we find ourselves increasingly weary with a core numbing fatigue. We race to return phone calls and e-mails on our Smartphones while grabbing dinner from a fast food restaurant for the third time this week.

Running The Rat Race

Like a long distance runner, we can see the finish line to meet new deadlines, but fail to recognize that each and every task that we commit ourselves to has its own separate finish line, time frame, and a deadline. We can be competing in a dozen time pressured, stress producing races at the very same time. 

Very slowly, if we are not careful, our lives can become over committed and driven to complete a myriad of responsibilities and commitments. The demand of multitasking is a critical necessity in the business world today, however, a continuous life of multitasking, isn’t God’s will for our lives. It can be the certain pathway to complete mental, emotion, physical and spiritual burnout. 

Not long ago  I realized that on several separate occasions, I had either spoken to, sent texts, or e-mailed my co-workers, friends, and family the often using the acronym: 

ASAP- As Soon As Possible. I was adding the phrase to my time pressurized responsibilities, “I will get back to you ASAP”, “Let me check on that and get an answer to you ASAP”, or “I will be home ASAP.” We can increasingly we find ourselves never on time, and always running late.
Characteristics of Burn-Out
Burnout is a slow and insidious process whereby our lives get farther and farther out of balance. Like the gymnast walking the  balance beam, who is wobbling and gyrating to find center-point and stay balanced, so we too can be living on that precarious edge.

Many professionals who work in the medical field or as mental health practitioners, note several characteristics that are most often seen in the profile of someone who is on the high edge of burning out:

Exhaustion and Extreme Fatigue:Reserves are Depleted

Emotional Exhaustion: Flat emotions or erratic outbursts

Increase in Illness vulnerability: Lowered Immune System

Withdrawal from relationships: Contact Avoidance

Negative mind-set: Increasingly pessimistic

During a very intense, heavy workload period in my professional life, I came very close to complete and total burnout. Somehow, I had to slow down and get my life back in balance. I began to list the many tasks and responsibilities that were on my plate every day and as often happens, I discovered a pattern:  

My life was slowly slipping away from me, while I was allowing myself to be a resource asset for those who had needs or requests for my help or professional advice. I was beginning to live the lives of others and was failing to live my own life. 

Irregular Devotional Worship

The Quiet Place can slip away from us so subtly that sadly we don’t even realize that it is gone. The very nature of God is peace.  He desires us to develop a life that has quietness as a norm and not an occasional moment that is grasped desperately during times of stress and overload.

Biblical Balance in our Lives

Too many of us find ourselves mirroring the despair of the Patriarch Job as our lives grind down with excessively overloaded schedules and commitments,  

"I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil."  Job 3:26 

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you.” I Thessalonians 4:11

“That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” I Timothy 2:2

Be Teachable - Practice the pathway to Quietness  

It is crucial to quiet our spirit, and slow down our lives to regain the inner peace and calmness that God is pleased to see radiate through each of us. 

"Teach me, and I will be quiet” Job 6:24 

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, "Come with me to a Quiet Place and get some rest." Mark 6:21

Be Obedient - Ask God to lead you into Quietness

“He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters,” Psalm 23:2

In the still moments of personal solitude, we can pause to worship God and renew our strength. Inner peace is often hurriedly prayed for during times of stress like it is quick fix to ease our personal pressures and mounting tensions. There is certainly nothing wrong with praying for God to give inner peace when all is chaotic around us. However, God desires that we display and radiate an inner peace that has already been cultivated from our times in the Quiet Place, so that we can stay calm in the midst of the storm.

Be Committed - Cultivate an inner Quiet Place

Take responsibility to take yourself in check and find a Quiet Place. No one else will stop your spinning world except the hospital or the morgue. 

“But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.   Psalm 131:2

Spiritual maturity is measured by cultivating “a gentle and Quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.”  I Peter 3:4    

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: in Quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 

(See also Zephaniah 3:17, Mark 4:39, Mark 6:31)

Listen to this worshipful song by Michael W Smith The Heart of Worship Video with Lyrics

1 comment:

  1. Thank you do much John for your up lifting words. They are a wonderful reminder that our brokenness and deep loneliness though numbed by various tasks still persists for the purpose of drawing us near to Him. Only God satisfies us. Thank you again!