Burnout has been defined as “ ”
Productivity, achievement, and success are much a part of our lives, placing undo stress upon each of us. In his short book, Zeal Without Burnout – Seven keys to a lifelong ministry of sustainable sacrifice, Christopher Ash shares from personal experience and counseling others, how to understand and protect oneself.
In the USA it is is estimated that some 1500 people leave pastoral ministry each month due to burnout, conflict or moral failure. The causes are diverse, but they show the intense pressure that many in Christian ministry find themselves under. (page 16)
The statistics are staggering, pointing us to the truth that we are in need of learning how to better protect ourselves from becoming a number.
It is worth remembering that none of us thinks we are on the path to burnout until we are nearly burnt out; it is precisely those of us who are sure we are safe, who are most in danger. (page 19)
The book is short and easy to read in one sitting. I found the book most interesting as it is filled with needed wisdom. The author also shared stories from those he has encountered over the years who struggled with the effects of burnout, which I found eye opening as burnout does not always present itself in the same manner.
The author shares seven keys to preventing needless burnout:
- We need sleep. We neglect sleep thinking it admirable to burn the candle from both ends. Ash reminds us even Christ needed to sleep. Sleep is a gift from God we all need to embrace.
- We need Sabbath rests. We need to discipline ourselves to take a day off each week from our work.
- We need friends. We need good, strong, and healthy relationships to share our thoughts, struggles, and joys.
- We need inward renewal. We need to find space in our lives to enjoy those things which refresh our minds and creativity. Without so doing, there will be nothing in us to share with others.
- Beware of celebrity. May we be careful not to put others on a pedestal. But more so, may we not put ourselves on a pedestal. In a time in society, when everyone seeks praise, may we search our hearts. May our desire be for Him to be greater and us to be less. May we care more about what Jesus thinks of us than what people think of us.
- Be totally dependent upon God. Stay encouraged knowing that anything we do for the Lord is never done in vain.
- Find delight in Him. May joy in Christ motivate us in all that we do.
This book was an enjoyable read, refreshing my soul and bringing focus. This will be a book I pick up time and time again, when discouragement threatens to settle in my life. This is a book sure to encourage many to serve God and others with wisdom. May we join the author in this prayer:
Lord, make my life of service worth something; make it sure.
May it be that, at the end of time, this collection of dust, this temporary mortal frail feeble sinful Christian may have achieved something by your grace that will last to eternity. (page 98)
*I would like to thank Cross Focused Reviews and the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book. I was not obligated to provide a positive review.