picture courtesy of punditandpundatte.com

picture courtesy of punditandpundatte.com

After reading yesterday’s post your response might have been one of defeat.

The schedule we keep is daunting.  Perhaps you are great at having “boundaries” but your leadership doesn’t have any.  If you are like me the struggle is you can tend to be more driven than called.   Either way it can translate into days off that are actually “on,” living on an IV of caffeine, and racing through life.  One youth pastor friend once told me,  ”I never thought that I could get burnt out doing what I love for whom I love.”

You know, but what are some practical steps you can take to get off this lunatic merry-go-round?

Remember How YOU Love Jesus:

I connect with Christ through music. Some days, I put in my headphones, close my eyes and sing along.  It refreshes me. For me being outside in His creation, talking with Him, soaking in His power is vital.  I have to put aside time for this.  Our  love affair with the Savior must last a lifetime.  What do you do that reminds you, you are connected to the Lord? When is the last time you took the time just for HIM?

The Rule Of 3:

Part of our problem becomes isolationism.  Perhaps we told someone our dirty secret and they told us something like a former pastor told me.  If I just understood that the Sabbath wasn’t a day off it was a lifestyle I would be fine.  ”Jesus never took a day off,  he simply stole away for a moment,”  was what he said.  So I would take the time and sit with God and my mind was everywhere else.  I didn’t change. I just stopped telling people about it. That was the problem. I needed others to keep me focused on Jesus.

Who are 3 people you can be honest with?   Let them check in with you. I suggest this combo: One person who has known you forever, that you trust, one person who does what you do but in another church or ministry and one person who is NOT in ministry but local. This may take some work but find them.  Then listen to their advice.  If they tell you to take a day off then do it.   Truth only sounds trite because it is simple.  Make the effort.

Do something you like to do- but don’t have to do.

Through a series of events I have taken up running this year.  It has become an outlet for stress release.  Nope I don’t have time to do it, but I need it.   I like it, and the way it makes me feel like I accomplished something on days when everything else feels out of control.  What do you enjoy?  Reading, writing, skeet shooting, watching Duck Dynasty?  This is a vital step to coming out of the spiral. Put aside something for a moment and just do something you LIKE to do.

Scheduling is a post all on it’s own, and that we will tackle tomorrow. This is not an exhaustive list,  it is merely some starting steps to come out of this season of life.  Remember you are NOT ALONE.  Many of us have been there and just might be there at this moment in time.

What are you doing to practically conquer your burn out?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

I was working with a student who had decided to make one of the stupidest choices in his life so far. It was tough to see him get hurt the way he did because we had such a good relationship. I felt like I had failed, trying to be a good role model and him not following in that path. But I was determined to work with him again and help him grow.

  • I know that teens sometimes do not make the best decisions simply because they did not know better, he knew better.
  • I know that sometimes students are raised in crappy situations, he is not one of them.
  • I know that many people his age do not know what God wants for them and so live their life-like the world, he knows some stuff better than I do.

So for six months, I was extra intentional with him, to show him Christ’s love and talk with his parents about what is going on. Then, one day I get the phone call from the father that his son would not be coming with us to the ski retreat because he had done something even more dumb than last time. I put on a good face for the phone call that lasted for thirty minutes, but I was deeply hurting.

“How could he do this? What was going on in his mind? Was he even listening to me?”

I spent several hours in prayer, for his parents, for him, for those around him, and myself. At the end of my time with God, He spoke something deeply into my heart, “Let me do this. Ask him the tough questions and listen to what he has to say, but let Me be the one to fix the situation.”

The idea is not theologically revolutionary, but in this context for me, I was blown away. My heart was filled with joy, it was not my job to fix the situation and make sure the student does the right thing. I let go of the crisis and gave it up to God and my heart rejoiced for His wisdom and power.

So what are you holding on to? What is the worst thing that could happen if you let go and let God be God?

Jeremy Smith is a 26-year old youth pastor at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Master”s of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years – check out his blog at Seventy8Productions.