Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Burn-Out for a Christian
Burn-out is a word we hear often. In Biblelife, a priest with a doctorate in spirituality and now studying counseling writes on the topic. He uses the phrases he found on the Internet to begin the article.
"The burn-out syndrome-- one starts out full of passion why does it end spiritless? How do we break out of the situation? Not only lacking passion but becoming despondent. Three ways of breaking out of the malaise. Test for the symptoms of burnout. It is not easy to cure."
The above words leave one with a very negative feeling about the situation. There are many different ways to judge and cope with the person's burn-out. One of the easiest ways to illustrate the case of burn-out is to use the example of fuel for a car. When the car has fuel, it runs well,without fuel it stops. If you continue trying to move the car, you will harm the engine. When this happens even after you put in the fuel you have problems with the engine. This is also true with burn-out, without finding the reason for the problem, we can do damage to the psyche and even our bodies.
When we are without fuel, we have to understand the situation. 'Why am I having this trouble?' This is not working for myself but for others why so lethargic?' These should not be our thoughts. It is not the time to put more effort into what you are doing but to rest. There is a need for the person to be loved and to receive help from others. The person needs to know his limits and humble enough to accept them, and as a believer to entrust oneself to God.
We have to search for what is missing. When we feel burn-out working in service to others, does that mean we need more prayer in our life? Does that take away our feeling of lethargy? When a person works from morning to evening for others, doesn't eat, is hungry and is utterly exhausted, do we tell such a person to pray, and they will regain strength? What good is that? They need to rest and take care of their health. They have to examine themselves and determine what the problem is. Back to the example of the car, if the engine needs oil, and we think it needs gas the car will not move.
When dealing with a machine, we can solve the problem easily, but we are not machines so the example can go just so far. Finding the cause is not easy, and even if we know the cause not everything goes back to normal once we know it. So what is necessary?
We have to remember our hope is in God. As people of faith, we have to return to God. We have to rest in God. Once we know what we need we have to find out what God wants to give us and ask for that. It is not prayer for a return to a relationship with God: vague and sentimental, but a prayer that is concrete and humble, giving myself to God and asking for help in the relationship we want. We need to surrender to God.
Our trust is in God. When the object of our services are only the persons we want to help we are going to have trouble. When we reflect on the love God has for us and his care for us we will not have burn-out.