‘And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,’ 1 Timothy 1:12 NKJV
Another form of burnout is ‘compassion fatigue’, and people helpers are the most vulnerable. Symptoms include the belief that you’re no longer effective, treating yourself and others with detachment, withdrawing from your responsibilities, avoiding social and interpersonal contact, and feeling ‘beaten’. If you’re a type-A personality to start with, you’re at even greater risk. One counsellor says driven people often ‘suffer from an ‘adrenaline addiction’ and unconsciously look for ways to get little surges, similar to the high people get from alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, except they get their highs from controlling people and making complex decisions. Spiritual causes of stress include sexual temptation, anger, despair, jealousy of other people’s success, and anxiety about finances. Pastors are often placed on pedestals, and these expectations can’t be met. So, in an effort to please, they become too goal-oriented for their people or too accommodating of their spiritual slackness. They become perfectionists, overdeveloping one side of their ministry or identifying so closely with their calling that it falls apart. Your body gives you warning signals; insomnia, digestive problems, headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, teeth grinding, and high blood pressure. Sadly, it seldom slows the victim down – until an ulcer, stroke, or heart attack occurs. Pastors need to spend as much time with the strong as the weak. They give you strength and support, they can be trained for ministry and having more hands on deck enhances the spiritual and emotional health of their church.
SoulFood: 1 Chron 7:20 – 9:44 John 9:1-12 Ps 83:1-8 Pro 26:7-12
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023