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December 22, 2020

I often reflect back to my start in full-time ministry. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I found myself springing into action with enthusiasm working to bring the world to Jesus. Fast forward only a short time after all that energy and I can remember experiencing the desolate corner of ministry, commonly referred to as “burnout”. Worn down from my many commitments, I couldn’t quite place where it had all gone wrong. How could I, someone that began my ministry calling with passion, now be looking at such a bleak future? Since when did I struggle with anxiety? Exhaustion? Resentment?

Looking back on that season of burnout I can’t help but be very grateful for the valley I found myself in. Valleys are very low places but there’s always the hope of a climb back to the top. You may feel burnt out right now but be encouraged that God hasn’t forgotten you. When you find yourself in a season of exhaustion here are three steps toward restoration:


Denying that you’re feeling burnt out unfortunately doesn’t fix the situation. Pretending that you’re okay when you’re not okay doesn’t set you up to last. Rather, acknowledge the exhaustion, confusion and anxiety often associated with burnout. If trusted voices in your ministry community are trying to communicate that they’re concerned about you, listen without automatically filtering it through accusation. Spend time in prayer asking the Lord to guide you in wisdom and peace as you navigate your next steps.


Recognizing the issue of burnout is the first step but it’s the second step that is going to push you in the direction of change. Ministry doesn’t stop. If you wait until you have a slow season of ministry to get rest, it’s possible that you’ll wait forever. Rather, with prayerful counsel, come up with a plan focused on health. Burnout affects all different facets of life—spiritual, physical, emotional and social. Address these areas and devise a plan that elevates rest and replenishment. Reach out to others in ministry that have experienced burnout. Community is key. The enemy often works to hold us in isolation during difficult seasons and burnout is no different. Maintaining healthy communication with ministry leaders that have had similar experiences creates trust and binds shame.


As you walk in the direction of rest and replenishment, you will begin to feel different. Burnout doesn’t relent overnight. It’s a process. It’s the small daily choices that you make; healthy delegation of projects, allowing yourself adequate time off and spending time with your family that help you recover. Instead of automatically accepting commitments out of obligation take time to prayerfully consider before responding. God loves the people you are serving even more than you do and He is sovereign in every situation. Ask Him to help you set and keep the right priorities. He’s good and you can trust Him.

Most importantly, remind yourself of the faithfulness of God and His presence in your life. God sees you and He still has plans for you. In Matthew 11:28 (NIV) Jesus instructed, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” That rest is available to you. The calling of ministry is a difficult one but it is also a fulfilling one. Allow God to fill you, to replenish you and give you rest. And get ready for the killer comeback you’re about to make!

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