Spiritual Burnout and the Church-Life Balance: Are You Overextended in Good Works?

Too Stressed to be Blessed?

Last week, I attended a two-day conference for my job which included an awesome keynote about work-life integration.

It was very inspirational, and it got me to thinking about Christians and our work, life, church integration. We are all so busy nowadays and we have to be very careful to avoid spiritual burn out. This can take on different forms, but spiritual burn out usually presents itself in one of four ways:

  1. Religiosity: Where your heart becomes detached and you are robotically going about your spiritual tasks as you do everything else on your to-do list.
  2. Rebellion: You let the ball drop and allow frustration to make you unfaithful.
  3. Poor attitude: Your responsibilities have embittered you and you are negative, mean, and unpleasant to be around.
  4. Unbalanced: Your home and work life are falling apart and you focus primarily on your duties to ‘the church’.

God does not want us to become weary in our well doing (Galatians 6:9). We have to find a way to do what needs to be done, to the best of our ability, with grace and peace.

I wonder how many of us are overextending ourselves in one or more of these areas and not realizing that the lack of balance makes us ineffective. The Lord is not haphazard. First Corinthians says, “Let all things be done decently and in order”. The Bible also says, “Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and striving after the wind (Ecclesiastes 4:6). We have to allow God to lead us daily so that we can be confident in how we prioritize our lives.

Is it God Works or Just Good Works?

good worksRecently, my pastor taught the leaders saying, “You can desire to do a good thing, but it may not be a God thing”. Too many of us bite off more than we can chew and end up tired and burnt out.

God wants us to enjoy life (Psalm 16:11). Life is about more than tasks to complete, we have to ask ourselves if we can truly enjoy life when we have too much on our plate. We cannot feel guilty about not being able to do everything – we are not called to do everything. Jesus says His yoke is easy, so if your life is hard, are you following His perfect will in the burdens you carry (Matthew 11:30)?

Neil Ihde of Life IQ was the keynote speaker at my work conference last week. He made a valid point saying, “Every yes is a no to something else”. I don’t know about you, Team, but I have never thought about it this way – but it makes perfect sense. We have to really think about what’s most important and put things in godly perspective.

Neil inspired me so much that I actually went and spoke to him after his presentation. I found out that he was a Christian (I could tell, but I still asked – bold I know) and he gave me some advice on balance that I want to share with you.

He told me,

“Don’t be afraid to set boundaries.
Spend time with God in His Word and He’ll bless everything else.”

Simple, but so true. At times we put too much pressure on ourselves to show our leaders that we’re committed. We want them to know how much we love and support them. But, at what expense?

Balance and Priorities are God’s Will

I think every Christian should do their part and serve their local church to the best of their ability. However, we cannot neglect our home life – our spouses, kids, family.

In the Bible, Paul writes Timothy saying that any man who does not rule his house cannot properly take care of God’s church (Timothy 3:5). It’s a requirement to have your house in order. Whether or not you desire a title or position, the Word is clear regarding our need for balance and priorities.

Integrate vs. Compartmentalize

Perhaps the best takeaway from the presentation was the need for integration and not compartmentalization. When we compartmentalize, we work too hard trying to keep every aspect of our lives separate and cause more tension than necessary. Our relationship with God comes first, serving Him shouldn’t have to be a cause for contention in our home life.

Single parents may have more challenges than two parent homes, but the same is true. I am out of the house about twelve hours a day for work and commute time. My daughter is involved in sports, we’re active in church, I have to do chores, and a host of other things to keep life running smoothly.

We have to accept our limitations and not be afraid to set boundaries. Balance is key, we are called to our local assemblies (Hebrews 10:25), but we can’t allow ourselves to become religious or attitudinal. It really is okay to rest!

So, What’s The Play Call?

We live to please God – not man (Galatians 1:10). Don’t overextend yourself in an attempt to prove you’re a “good Christian”. Allow God to lead you and then you will have peace about every decision – even when you have to say NO.

God is specific and detail-oriented. Each person He created was purposed for a unique task. We are not called to try, do, and be everything! Stay in your lane to avoid burnout (Romans 12:6).

Don’t allow burnout to cause you to rebel and sin. The church is made up of people; we are one body (1 Corinthians 12:12) – so we cannot neglect each other when we get frustrated. Communicate! Speak the truth when fatigue has set it. Don’t fake strength when you’re burnt out – this shows maturity.

Be blessed!

 

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