The word “burnout” is frequently used, but what comes to your mind when you hear this term? I know I often think of reaching the point where I can’t go on, when everything seems tough, impassable, and just really hard. Recently, I asked a group of people what they believed symptoms of burnout were, and here are their responses:
- Negative attitude and pessimistic
- Fuzzy brain
- Lack of joy in things one used to enjoy
- Tiredness and exhaustion
- Lack of connection and withdrawal from others
- Feeling defeated
- Defensiveness and short fuse
Most of us have probably experienced at least one or two of these feelings. When I am feeling this way, I have found that it usually comes from one of the following reasons:
- Trying to do things that I was never called or equipped to do
- Trying to do too many things at once
- Neglecting to immerse myself in God’s word and spend time with Him
I am often reminded of the first chapter in the book of Psalms. It is a short chapter with only six verses. In this Psalm, the author compares man to a tree.It says that if we meditate on God’s word day and night, we will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water. When I read this passage, it gives me such comfort and peace about what I was created to experience. When I read or meditate on His word, I am focused on Christ and I am reminded of who He is and who I am in Him.
John 15:5 makes it clear that my purpose is to be connected to Jesus; He is the vine and I am the branch. It states that we can do nothing without Him and that He wants to produce fruit within us. When I yield myself to Him, He will guide me and show me where I should be planted and where and how I should be working. His word is the nourishment that I need just like streams of water nourish a tree. The Holy Spirit will produce fruit within me, and I will not wither.
In contrast, when I am leaning on my own understanding and not spending time in His word, I lack nourishment. Just like a leaf on a tree withers without nourishment, my body and mind will wither without God. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that we are not to lean on our own understanding but to trust in Him.
God’s word is living and active. It is powerful and transforms our thinking. It produces peace apart from the circumstances around us. In the midst of the stress and the storms, we will be like trees firmly planted because our roots are in Christ and He is our foundation. From this foundation, He will direct our every step.
In contrast, when I am not connected to Jesus, I may experience exhaustion and tiredness. This can lead to withdrawal from others and a lack of connection, which may lead to a negative attitude because I am not experiencing the fruits of the Spirit.
May we be constantly reminded of the power we have through the Holy Spirit to stay connected to the Giver of life and all that He has for us. He desires for us to flourish and have joy even in very difficult and stressful seasons.
How are you handling your stress? Do you have any symptoms of burnout? Are you trying to press on and press through them? I challenge you to protect yourself and to take some time away and rest with Jesus. Ask Him to give you the desire to delight in Him and to meditate day and night so you will be like a tree that flourishes. Listen to what He has to say to you. You matter to Him!
P.S. I am about to embark on a six-week journey of rest with Jesus. I am excited to hear from God during this time that I have set aside to be intentional with Him. I will report back and let you know how it goes.