One of the conversations that I’ve been in for many years led to the desire to put together the book sacred strides. And one of the conversations that comes up now that the book is out in the world has to do with burnout; you have most likely been around or been privy to or been in a conversation about burnout. One of the pivotal scenes or moments in the book, Sacred Strides is one in which I point out how many folks actually experienced burnout in the ministry field. That’s something along the lines of three out of every five persons who functions as a minister experiences burnout. 60% of the people who work in ministry claimed to admit to experiencing burnout. Usually, with statistics like social stats, the number tends to be a little skewed. Because with something like burnout, there tends to be kind of a shame piece where folks don’t want to say they’re burned out, so they don’t. So if it’s three out of five, and if it’s 60%, by stats, you can assume there might be a few more folks than even that. Psychologically, when we talk about burnout, we’re not just talking about being tired. And I think that’s super important. There’s one thing to be tired of. And there are certain kinds of tiredness that are actually really good for burnout isn’t just about being tired. If you research burnout through the National Institute of Health, you’ll see a definition of something along the lines of that burnout is a psychological syndrome emerging as a prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors on the job. So it’s not just about the hours we put in; it’s not just about the difficulty of those hours or the tasks we’re up to. One way to talk about this is that burnout has as much to do with feeling misplaced and misused in our jobs and now in our lives as it has to do with the amount of time and energy we’re spending. In other words, I can put in the same amount of time, with the same intensity, in a different place and not feel burned out. Another way to get into this conversation is to talk about metrics. Part of our sense of misplacement in our work lives oftentimes has to do with the metrics we’re using for really just success. What makes me successful in this job can be a question that either sets me up for burnout or sets me up for healthy patterns of self-actualization and fulfillment. And so one of the gifts that a regular practice of rest does is it actually gives me altitude, not just to evaluate my experience of my job, but to actually evaluate the metrics I’m using when I think about how the job is going. So a couple of simple examples is I’ll work with church leaders, who were trained in the metrics of numbers, and putting butts in seats, or conversions, or some sort of numbers-oriented metric. And because that’s the metric they’re using to evaluate success, anything that might add joy takes a massive backseat to achieve those numbers. And burnout comes when those numbers don’t show up. Even if other aspects of the job that are truly life-giving to me are actually in place and going well. Same Same. I’ll talk with artists who are bent on selling, and they’re supposed to, or they think they’re supposed to make a living, quote, unquote, make a living in the arts. And this will want to two ways with artists one, it’ll be that they have a part-time job, or maybe even a full-time job, and they’re trying to do their art on the side. And the burnout comes from recognizing, like, I don’t want to try to hold both these pieces. And I need to actually take a season and full-blown invest in just my art for a season. Or at least as often. They recognize that tangling up their passion projects with the propensity or the need for sales is actually stealing joy. And they’re experiencing burnout. because sales are displacing them, it’s the thing they don’t want to associate with their artwork. Again, one of the only ways to get out of the tube in our lives so we can pay attention to those metrics and how those metrics are shaping our experience of our work is to take regular time away to take a look back at what I’m experiencing and why I’m experiencing it on one level. Rest can be a place where I can look back at my life and figure out how to do the life I’m doing better. On another level, rest can be a way to take a step back and look at the life I’m living on a grander scale and actually make more fundamental changes that I don’t want to try to achieve Some of the goals that I’ve been seeking to achieve, that’s why I’m not happy. It’s not like I want to get stronger or better at achieving some of these goals. I need to put some of these goals down, find new ones, and live a more fulfilled, happy, and therefore fruitful life. Friends, success is always, and I mean always, a moving target, and far more often than we allow ourselves. Success is the thing we get to decide on. What target do I want to hit? Well, I get to decide that more often than I’m told, which means it’s really worth the time to figure out what it is I want to be achieving with the time, the talent, with the energy I have while I have it. Rest can provide space to figure that out.

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