Thank you for Sharing ? Heavenly Father’s ?? Heartbeat
How I Learned to Beat Burnout
Today I’m flying to the Dominican Republic, a place where I’ve experienced abundant life as a young man pursuing a dream, and also burnout along the way. Let me share the story.
Karen and I arrived in the capital of Santo Domingo in 1981, having flown there from Indonesia. We were new to the country, had had no orientation, no formal language training and no one to help us find a place to live.
My job was to work with a group of national believers to establish a microcredit company. When conflict arose between the group of Dominicans I was there to assist, the home office felt I was too young to try and resolve it.
I was left hung out to dry. They basically said, “suck it up – it’s going to get better.”
So, for the better part of a year, I couldn’t do anything. Over time I felt hurt and wrestled with confusion and bitterness. The situation didn’t improve – I was dealing with a group of unethical people. And when I pointed this out, I was told to ride out the storm.
Every day I’d wake up discouraged and wondering what to do. Burnout.
Perhaps you can identify with my experience. A lot of people are in a bad place right now. We are entering the third year of Covid. We’re tired. A lot of businesses, churches and nonprofits are struggling. The Great Resignation is underway – hundreds of thousands are burned out and leaving their jobs.
Perhaps you have felt a lack of support or been victimized by politics. Stuff happens and when it does, people get hurt, and after the hurt begins to grow numb, it can be replaced by a creeping bitterness and even an anger. We feel victimized and we don’t know how to cope.
Eventually I realized that I had a choice. I needed trust from my boss and could ask for it. And if I didn’t get it, there were other options elsewhere. Seeing that I had a choice pulled me out of my slump and gave me agency.
It’s happened multiple times in my life. I’ve taken it to the Lord. And I’ve heard him say, “Don’t grow weary in doing good.”
I’ve heard God whisper, “Take your dashed expectations and release them. The expectation that you’d be treated fairly. The expectation that someone would understand how you feel and act differently. The expectation that you wouldn’t get hurt.”
Over time, I learned to identify the source of conflict and press in by talking to those who were the source of my pain by asking them questions. I’ve beaten burnout by having tough conversations and discovering the options that were available to me. By recovering that sense of agency.
It hasn’t been easy, but it’s helped me to make it through this season when so many others have checked out or given up.
Feeling discouraged? Ready to give up? Is there a person you could talk to who has the power to change things for you? Find the courage – have that conversation. Press into the hurt and see if your life doesn’t improve.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
A verse that has sustained me many a time.
I know this circuitous journey and the inevitable pitfalls Seth. Thanks for sharing your gift. Love you.
“I’ve heard God whisper, “Take your dashed expectations and release them. The expectation that you’d be treated fairly. The expectation that someone would understand how you feel and act differently. The expectation that you wouldn’t get hurt.
Yes, Butch, not easy. But the path to health.
Thank you Seth.
Our son (39 years old) passed away last year due to covid. It was an immense shock to us. He was working with a group of men that helps kids who were sold and mistreated. He had PTSD like all the others and was burnt out too. God took him home, but we wondered who will now continue the work he did? But God showed me He already has others filling the gap. Thank You God.
My daughter in law is also suffering burnout. She has to raise the two little boys on her own after the last very stressful few years of being in such a ministry, But God is providing wonderfully supportive people in her church. Thank You God.
My husband and I are planning to move to Missouri to be with her and the kids. He is burnt out too, due to his very demanding secular work (his ministry is financial provider). He is retiring soon. Thank You God that You made it possible.
I am the intercessor and I have been burnt out several times over the years. Very tired now too, but God picks us up and carries us every day and every night, moment by moment. Thank You for Your grace and healing Presence, God.
All over the world God’s people are struggling with too heavy loads, exhaustion and suffering of all kinds. Thank You God, that You bring relief and new strength to each one. You are faithful to the end, Lord Jesus. Please bless Seth and his family and ministry. We plead the blood of Jesus Christ over all. Thank You for Your Spirit who enables us to fulfill Your purposes for us and through us and strengthens us day by day. Thank You that Your angels camp around us. Amen.
I’m sorry, Mary. So much pain and adversity. But your response is exactly right – turning to God, seeing his grace and thanking him. Thanks for sharing.
The art of listening prayer. Growing old is tough all friends and family have died. I live with a daughter in beautiful surroundings but at this stage of m life I want to walk read do family history and plant flowers ?? was an operating room nurse for 50 years loved it but I m almost 80 now so not sure what the lord wants me to do
Im a member of the church of Jesus Christ of later day saints. One son died in accident one is estranged due to drugs.
One son texas. Daughter in utah daughter in wa
Eileen – thanks for sharing your life with us. It sounds like a hard place. So I’m asking the Lord to show you how to find purpose at this stage in life. It sounds like you’ve lived a wonderful life. God is not done using you. Ask him to speak to you about one person whose life you could brighten in a tangible way. And then ask him to show you what that might look like. I’ll join you in that prayer.
Very relevant for the season I’m in…
Thanks for sharing!