Burnout messes with your thinking

By Dave Henning / November 20, 2018

“Burnout .. . messes with your thinking.  Its arena is your thought life, and burnout can be a merciless, savage beast.”-Carey Nieuwhof

In Chapter 11 (“Like Falling off a Cliff”) of Didn’t See It Coming, Carey Nieuwhof explores the topic of burnout.  Pastor Nieuwhof compares being burned out to falling off a cliff.  There’s nothing for you to grab onto anymore.  And when you’re in freefall, no amount of grasping and clamoring helps you.

Also, Carey describes what he calls low-grade burnout.  Here, there’s no joy in life.  Yet, the functions of life go on.  While you’re not dead, you certainly don’t feel alive.  As a result, Carey lists eleven signs and symptoms he experienced as he burned out.

  1. Your passion fades.  Although everyone struggles with occasional lack of passion, burned out people move into a place of sustained motivation loss.
  2. You no longer feel the highs or lows.  God designed you to celebrate when people celebrate and mourn with those who mourn.  If that’s not happening, something’s wrong.
  3. Little things make you disproportionately emotional.  Thus, you treat small things like big things and big things like small things.
  4. Everybody drains you.  Hence, no one energizes you anymore.  When that happens, you’re the problem, not them.
  5. You’re becoming cynical.  As Carey observes, “Cynicism finds a home in a healthy heart.
  6. Nothing satisfies you.
  7. You can’t think straight.  When you burn out, your heart messes with your head.  You lose the ability to think clearly.
  8. Your productivity is dropping. Pay attention, Carey urges, when you work long hours and produce little of value.
  9. You’re self-medicating. Because you need to numb your pain, you choose self-medication over self-care.
  10. You don’t laugh anymore.
  11. Sleep and time off no longer refuel you.

In conclusion, Carey asserts that the very heart of the burnout problem is spiritual.  Therefore, without Jesus, you leave out much of the potential healing.

Today’s question: What symptoms of feeling burned out have arisen in your life?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “In pivotal moments, lean into God”

About the author

Dave Henning

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