Burnout, Stress, and Overwhelm—It’s Not Just You

Burnout, stress, overwhelm pastors  Lynn Baber pixabay

Do frustration, irritation, anxiety, and constant fatigue feel like they’ve become part of your DNA? Has the clear call of the Holy Spirit faded until you sometimes wonder if it was real?

Churches are dying, and leaders are experiencing debilitating stress as more folks define “a good life” in ways that don’t resemble Jesus’s mission. The world, the flesh, and the devil have more access to your flock, family, and friends than you do. The uphill slog is exhausting, with level places to rest as rare as red bananas.

Mental and Physical Exhaustion

Do the concepts of burnout, faith crisis, or imposter syndrome hit too close to home for comfort? Do you identify with a growing number of kingdom-minded leaders who feel emotionally or mentally exhausted?

If you own any part of that, you’re not alone.

It’s not just you.

Following Jesus today is "a war for your soul."

Is Burnout Becoming The Norm?

In his book, Live No Lies, pastor John Mark Comer describes what it feels like to follow Jesus in today’s western culture as “a war for the soul.” If life feels like a battle, you’re not alone.

An increasing sense of panic and lack of control isn’t unique to kingdom leaders. A 2018 study of 7,500 full-time American employees found that 70+ percent of adults in their 20s and 30s are experiencing some level of burnout. In the wake of Covid, those numbers are likely higher today. 1

From January to October 2021, the number of pastors who considered leaving the ministry rose by 31%. Exhausted pastors feel beat up by constant demands, unexpected change, and attacks from every side.

It’s not just pastors and it’s not just you.

Don’t become a statistic.

Before you go down for the second time or lay one more ounce of burden on yourself, remember that:

  • Where you are today isn’t permanent and God’s vision for you is real.
  • Being an effective shepherd is difficult when wolves outnumber sheep. Especially when they look and sound so much alike.
  • There is no spiritual Switzerland.
  • Burnout, stress, and overwhelm are reversible.
  • The promises of Jesus Christ are joy, peace, and power. 

There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.

Challenged By Tasks Beyond Your Calling

Are you challenged by day-to-day tasks that don’t fit your calling or giftings? Social media, digital worship, and the demand for political commentary? Responding to communities and a government that consider Christ followers a potential menace?

The Barna Group calls today’s cultural moment “digital Babylon.”

Maybe you know that something’s not right, but you can’t put your finger on what it is. Since you can’t identify the cause, you may be at a loss to know what steps to take to fix it.

“So, here we are as a culture. Busy is the default. Slammed is normal. Crazy time is all the time. Life has been reduced to going through the motions. Bottom line, this much stress is reality—and it is not okay.”At Your Best, Carey Nieuwhof

It’s not just you.

Don’t Capitulate—Press Into Revival

What you feel is real and demands action, not capitulation. You’re not alone. Many people need a path back to hope, which is why you’re reading this. Sharing that Good News is the heart of your calling, but good stewardship requires that even shepherds care for their own needs.

The power of God is at your disposal through the Holy Spirit when you walk in the light of His vision for you. It’s time to simplify, clear your head, and to return to your first love and soul rest. What’s the most critical challenge you face today?

The answer is revival, either personal or organizational.

What stakes are you fighting for?

  • What’s the reward if you win?
  • What’s the cost if you fail?

Are you ready to exchange failure for success, fatigue for vigor, and burnout for passion?

Move Closer To Mission Accomplished

This is the time because the days are short and the harvest is ripe.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Burdens heavy enough to cause distress require shifting, sharing, or the ruthless elimination of excess baggage.

Transformation begins with awareness. What’s the hottest fire you face today? Your answer to my next question is critical. If you’re still willing to do battle, why?

Don’t preach what you don’t live. If you’re struggling, you’re in good company, but you can’t remain there. 

Revival is doable and begins with you. God provides the plan and the power to make revival possible. Are you willing?

1 Ryan Pendell, “Millennials Are Burning Out,” Gallup, July 19, 2018

Related Post:

5 Disciplines of Personal Revival

Personal revival isn’t once and done, but a continuing commitment to compare progress, habits, and priorities with what you’ve accomplished in the past and the way God’s word tells you to run your race.

I love my life, my husband, my work, and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But last week the progress and lightness of spirit I usually enjoy was weighed down by distractions and a growing volume of to-do items that more resembled an army of marauding octopi than a list.

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Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn is a best-selling author, retired World and National Champion horse breeder and trainer, former business consultant, motivational speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She continues to equip and encourage Christ-followers to enjoy lives of bold, border-free faith.

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber is a best-selling author, retired World and National Champion horse breeder and trainer, former business consultant, motivational speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She continues to equip and encourage Christ-followers to enjoy lives of bold, border-free faith.

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