Eleven Signs That You Are Near Burnout
by Perry Noble
My counselor shared a statistic with me a few years ago that floored me: 90 percent of those entering ministry do not retire from ministry; they either quit or have some sort of moral or ethical failure that disqualifies them.
I’m not a rocket scientist, but I honestly do not believe that is what Jesus called us to or what He wants for us.
And yet so many of us as church leaders wrestle with wanting to throw in the towel—usually inwardly, because if we said out loud that we’re dying inside, we’d be afraid that people would perceive us as weak.
1. You are beginning to despise people, and your compassion for others is continually decreasing.
2. You often think about doing something other than ministry . . . and your biggest desire isn’t to honor God and reach people but simply to find relief from the pressure that seems to be building daily inside you.
3. You can’t remember the last time you simply had fun with family and friends. Joy is something you talk about but are not experiencing for yourself.
4. You are disconnected at home. When you get there, you don’t want to engage with your spouse or your children; you can’t enjoy being around them. You spend more time online than you do with your family, and you find yourself wanting to sleep all the time.
5. You continually tell yourself and those you love, “This is just a really busy season, and I will slow down soon.” (However, the truth is that you have most likely been singing that same song for years!)
6. You have become obsessed with what others say about you, and one negative comment from someone who doesn’t like you can put you in a deep valley.
7. You begin to make the easy decisions rather than the right ones, because the right ones take too much work.
8. You have thought of death . . . and may have even entertained suicidal thoughts.
9. You are experiencing depression and/or anxiety. You may have panic attacks that you can’t explain.
10. You are becoming increasingly withdrawn from family and friends.
11. You find yourself losing hope.
“How did you come up with this list?” you ask. It’s quite simple. I went back to a three-year period in my life starting in December 2007 and listed the symptoms that were most prominent in my own life. That’s right—my life. I went through a period of depression and anxiety, and the best way I can describe my life during that time would be dark.
But I swallowed my pride and asked for help, and thanks to the support of an incredible wife, great friends, an incredible counselor, and the unbelievable mercy of God, I broke free from my darkness. Sure, I still struggle more often than I wish I did, but I can’t describe the amazing freedom and joy I’ve experienced since then.
That’s why I wrote Overwhelmed—to help restore hope to a world that feels hopeless.
Perry Noble is the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina. God has given him a vision and a passion for helping people meet Jesus, and each week he shares God’s Word and its practical application for everyday life.
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