By bro Paul Lim
It is undeniable that we live in a fast-paced world with many responsibilities. Perhaps, some of us have even heard of the term "VUCA" to describe the environment we live in – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Indeed, we cannot but admit that our secular lives are somewhat intertwined with our spiritual lives. With so much on our platter, can we cope with the many conflicting demands? Does this make you tired? Are you weary?
As Christians, there are times when we feel discouraged while working in His vineyard. If left unchecked, what results is spiritual Burnout. It may be somewhat similar to the words echoed in Jonah 2:5. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. Well, the apostle Paul exhorts the saints in Galatia through these words in Gal 6:9. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
We see that one way to prevent spiritual burnout is to keep our eyes set on the reward that we shall reap. Granted, there are several reasons that contribute to burnout. However, in this article, I’d like to zoom in on some simple steps that we can take to help ourselves steer away from being weary in the Lord’s kingdom. These steps are learned through an article called “Beating Burnout” online, and I feel that some spiritual applications can be made as well.
1. Prioritise Self-Care
Interestingly, the idea of self-care is slowly gaining traction in the world of work. More employers appreciate how self-care helps their employees perform better, or at least sustain their performance. Self-care aims to improve one’s mood and replenish his or her energy. Can we apply self-care to our spiritual lives? For instance, we can start to weave in pockets of time each day to re-charge ourselves spiritually. This can be accomplished through personal prayer to God or by reading His word. Jesus Himself is the bread of life (Jn 6:48). We need to nourish ourselves with the spiritual meat of His word. Do you find it difficult to read a chapter a day? Don’t worry. Start with something easy, say, 3 to 5 verses. Read and think about them, and you are well on your way to a well-invigorated inner man.
2. Shift your perspective
Shifting our perspective does require us to question our assumptions and mindsets. What happens if your responsibilities both in the Lord’s kingdom and at work remain unchanged? If so, then it’s worth taking a step back and reconsidering. It may be the case that we are taking up so many responsibilities in our secular life that, mentally and emotionally, we are not ready to do God’s work. What then is left for us to do is to learn to say "no" sometimes to our jobs and hold on to our work for God. While some worry that saying "no" to additional job responsibilities is a sign of weakness, is that true? We should always remember that God has a way for all of us and will be there to help!
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
3. Reduce exposure to job stressors
Have you received a text message about work late at night, way past working hours? Did it make you feel upset? We need to manage such stressors to avoid burnout. This involves us setting and communicating expectations for work. You will find that when others start to respect your way of working (and vice versa), you will be less likely to encounter stressful circumstances. Also, remember to stay focused on the goal(s) and find satisfaction in knowing that all glory belongs to God (1 Cor 15:58). While it is good to get feedback, evaluate it with caution, as taking heart from over-critical comments may serve to demoralize a worker.
4. Seek Out Connections
Last but not least, let’s not underestimate the power of personal relationships and working together towards a common goal. As fellow labourers in God’s house, work certainly becomes lighter when more hands get to it. If you are working in a particular ministry and work is piling up, look around for like-minded brethren who are keen to journey with you. In this way, we can support one another in the Lord’s work, and this will also add to a greater level of satisfaction and purpose in doing His work
Rom 15:5-6 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: (6) That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, I hope that these simple pointers help us to draw ourselves nearer to God. I hope that all of us continue to uphold our Eastside identity and, together, make it a unique one that we can truly be proud of!