Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fixing People Leads to Burnout

Reasons for burnout are varied. Here are some I have observed.

1. Poor boundaries; pleasing others. I heard a great question today in a supervisory group for interns. What, if anything, truly offends you? Become more aware of yourself. Most pastors want to be so liked that they don't think any behavior will offend them. But even Jesus got ticked in a righteous sort of way. Denial of who we are only leads to bad self care.

2. Poor time management. Wasting time only leads to more stress in dealing with deadlines. Because crisis situations requiring our quality presence happen at any time, maintaining and honoring a schedule is a time stewardship issue. We have to manage what is in our power to control. Time is a gift.

3. Comparison thinking, ingratitude. Alot of times, we may feel that we don't fit the needs of the setting. We are unfair to ourselves and others when we engage in comparison thinking. It drains on our energy, keeping us from enjoying and using the gifts we do have.

4. Unprocessed grief- in ourselves and congregations. Think of the volume of grief we encounter. It's incredible. If we don't take time to grieve our losses, personal and congregational, the symptoms will appear down the line. We will eventually pay the cost of not attending to this most powerful human emotion.

5. Lack of peer support. They never told us within the hallowed halls of Duke Divinity School that we cannot make it alone in ministry. If they did, I didn't hear it. Nouwen's book, The Wounded Healer shattered the idea that our lives are somehow untouched by pain and suffering of others. We need others with whom we can be vulnerable.


1 comment:

  1. Great list. I would add one more:

    Assuming the congregation shares the same vision and level of commitment.


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