Major General (ret) Robert Dees citesDr. Archibald Hart’s research on burnoutin his book, Resilient Leaders:
Burnout is a defense mechanism characterized by disengagement . . . the emotions become blunted . . . The exhaustion of burnout affects motivation and drive . . . Burnout produces demoralization . . . can best be understood as . . . a sense of helplessness and hopelessness . . . paranoia, depersonalization, and detachment . . . Burnout may never kill you, but your long life may not seem worth living.
Exodus 6:9—Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor.
Moses was commanded and led by God to rescue Israel from its bondage to Egypt. After 400 years of living in a land not their own, the Israelites were demoralized tenants. While Moses was a reluctant leader, imagine the sense of anticipation he must have felt in knowing that through the power of God they might actually escape Egypt to experience freedom and blessing. Yet, when he brought God’s message of deliverance to his countrymen, it was as effective as giving steak to a toothless beggar.
Beware of trying to move people to a destination without understanding their condition. They can’t hear you! If the crowd is not cheering the fireworks there is always a reason. They may not be excited because their spirit is broken. Excessive taxation, bullying, unjust laws and toxic leaders can act individually and collectively to wear people down. Any overworked group will slowly wither.
Rest is God’s recipe for renewal. Burnout is Satan’s strategy for control. We best not help his hand by failing to understand the battle. Notice God did not advise Moses to keep talking to the people until they listened. That would not have worked. He sent Moses to Pharaoh and commissioned ten plagues that clearly authenticated His power and solidified the message of His meek messenger. With each plague, the Israelites collectively rose. They saw God cared. They experienced His strength. They witnessed His redemption.
Eventually every one of us burns out. We may think we are impervious to such a fate because we rise above dejection or helplessness. Yet time collaborates with decay. Each of us faces his someday when breath is extinguished. Human effort can no more overcome exhaustion on a planet infused with stress than it can achieve infinite life. Only Jesus, our designing Savior, can treat our condition. The ultimate cure to burnout is His salvation. Something to think about . . . in reveration!
It is not the intensity of energy expenditure that produces burnout, impaired performance and physical breakdown, but rather the duration of expenditure without recovery.—Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement
©2013 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
Dr. Archibald Hart in summer 2006 issue of Enrichment Journal