Making Burnout a Renewing Fire
The Lord has been speaking to me today about burnout and stepping back. Most of us are men who take things to an obscenely dedicated level. No one can keep up a furious pace forever. Eventually you'll start to feel like why aren't the other Bros doing as much as I am? You'll start to resent all the hard work you're doing. You'll stop reading your Bible. You'll get irritable and frustrated. Don't let it get this far! When things are going well, and you sense a little bit of burnout or frustration at the brothers, take a step back. Taking a step back means different things for different people. However here are some ideas.
1. Get off of Facebook. Let everybody know you're going to be seeking the Lord for a while. Stop reading all the posts and responding to all the problems. Spend some time in the word, spend some time around your family.
2. Get some family time. Let the bros know not to call you. Change your voice mail to indicate that you'll be responding to club related inquiries after a certain date. Dedicate some time for letting your family know you love them and doing extra special things for them. Buy your kids a little toy, buy your wife some flowers. Spend a little time showing them that they are more important than the bros and the club. If there's a run, excuse yourself, and let the bros know your takimg some time off.
3. Get away, off by yourself. Spent a little time away from everybody, and rededicate yourself before the Lord. Get off in a field and just speak to God, sit in the grass, and enjoy the silence. Remember that He's the most important thing, you can do nothing without Him. Ask Him to speak to you and then silence yourself and listen.
4. If you find yourself resenting reading the Word of God, then take a week off. No more than 7 days, the number of completion. During that time ask Him to show you why it's important for you to read and what He wants you reading. Begin to hunger and thirst for the Word of God, and feel yourself missing it and wanting it. If He lays certain books on your mind, ask Him for the chapter and verse, ask Him what He wants you to be reading when you get back, and take notes on that.
6. Spend some time on your face before God, asking Him to remind you of what He's brought you out of, what was so terrible that He rescued you from. Ask Him to show you His vision for your mission to give you an assignment, to breathe fresh fire into you.
7. Consider a liturgical schedule for fasting from the club. Maybe every 3 months you take a week off whether you feel like you need it or not, let your family know that you're doing it, so they know how important they are for you. Maybe it's one weekend a month where you fast from all electronic devices and the club, and spend time with your wife and family. They need to know that they come before anything else.
Depending on what's going on in your life, this could be as little as a weekend off, a month off or maybe 3 months off. but you need to communicate to the bros so they know what you're going through and can be praying for you. Don't just fall off the radar. You may find that if you chose to take a week off, that after five days you're desperate to get back to the club. But don't, continue your fast. The fire to accomplish things will only burn brighter.
The mission that God has given us is all life long commitment to ministry. Taking a week or a month or three months off doesn't change your mission, it just changes your level of focus. You'll come back renewed, with a new sense of what God wants from you, and what you're supposed to do. You'll be more effective for the Kingdom, and more loving toward your brothers. It happens to the best of us. If you're in any kind of leadership in this club I guarantee you're going to hit the burn out ring. So when it comes, just step back!
James Disciple Johnson
Natl President and Founder
Disciple Christian Motorcycle Club