Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. (Romans 12:12)
I have a theory that burnout is about resentment. And you beat it by knowing what it is you're giving up that makes you resentful. (Marissa Mayer) Ms. Mayer makes a very good point about 'burnout'. We create this scenario in our minds about having to 'give up' something in order to pursue something else, and it is this 'something else' that is making us feel burned out. Truth be told, it is the 'resentment' we form toward what we perceive as 'given up' that leads to the feelings of burnout. Remember, feelings can be fickle - they can lead us down pathways we don't want to be traveling. The harder we try to not focus on what we perceive we are 'giving up', the more the feelings of resentment grow toward whatever it is we see ourselves pursuing instead. We have to remember there are seasons in each of our lives - sometimes we have to put something on the back burner for a bit because we are being asked to focus on something else. If we are being led by the Spirit of God, we can be assured that anything we are asked to 'put on the back burner' is really going to lead to us achieving something even better because we are pursuing what God intends for this moment.
Resentment isn't always toward someone we are in conflict with - it can also come when we are asked to go a different path than we really wanted to travel. God is good at putting those types of 'change requests' in front of us on occasion, isn't he? We are going one direction, pretty content to just be going that way, then he puts this 'change request' forward in our minds and we are at a crossroads. We sometimes stand there at that crossroad point for what seems like an eternity, pondering what must be put on the 'back burner' and what it is we are now being asked to do. We mull it over repeatedly, almost beginning to come to a 'slow boil' because we form these ideas that we are being asked to 'give up' something in pursuit of something else. Oftentimes, God isn't asking us to 'give up' anything - he just asks us to have a change in our priorities for a period of time. There is no doubt he has something good ahead for us, but we were pretty comfortable right where we were. Why mess with a good thing?
God knows the enemy of spiritual, relational, and emotional growth is comfort. We don't want to have our comfort disturbed. When we are pursuing what seems 'comfortable' to us, we aren't feeling like there is any conflict. When we find our comfort being disturbed so God can bring a little growth within, we get downright obstinate, sometimes even angry because he disturbed our comfort. This is where resentment begins to enter into the equation - we attach feelings to the new thing we are being asked to pursue, and they may not always be positive. Pride and selfishness begin to muster forces within, and we begin to form some pretty 'sour' feelings about moving forward. The sooner we recognize these feelings, the sooner we can confess them, ask God's help to move beyond them, and make the steps down the path he has determined to be best for us today. Just sayin!
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