Burn out-the "I can't take anymore, how am I going to make it through the day, the magic is gone, I'm just not feeling it anymore" feeling, is something that everyone, at some point, will have to deal with. "Wait, even pastors?" Yes. Most definitely, yes.
Here are a few questions that will help you identify where your burned out feelings may be coming from:
1. Am I doing too much?
Sometimes, we just take too much on our shoulders. Ask yourself "What, in my day, could be delegated to someone else?"
2. Am I compromising what I believe?
Integrity, or lack of it, can be a contributing factor to feeling burned out. Are you being faithful to keep your prayer/quiet time? Are you making small compromises in other areas that weigh on you mentally and spiritually?
3. Am I being true to myself?
You know yourself better than anyone else. Are you taking on tasks that drain you emotionally? Are you spending most of your time working in an area that you're strong in? Or, are you expected to function mostly in areas that are stretching you beyond what you can handle?
4. Am I taking time to recharge?
Are you consistently on the go, or do you take time to be quiet and relax? Too much stress on a continuous basis will lead to burn out or worse. Try to build time in to each day to disconnect, read a book, listen to music, or do whatever recharges your batteries.
5. Am I making healthy decisions?
Are you getting enough sleep? Are you getting some form of consistent exercise for your body? What are you eating? Sometimes we sabotage ourselves by continuing in unhealthy habits in the name of productivity. Take the time you need to make healthy decisions and take care of yourself.
6. Do I have proper support around me?
The "Lone Wolf" mentality will lead to isolation and disconnectedness. We all need people who can speak the truth to us when they see issues or problems. We need someone to talk to, to bounce ideas off of, to just listen. Who are the people in your life that are mentoring you or coaching you? Sometimes seeing a counselor is the single best thing you can do for your mental and emotional health. Pastors/people who work in ministry should be required to have a few sessions with a trained counselor each year. Take time to evaluate your relationships and figure out if there is one or two people that could mentor you on a regular basis.
Pastor/leader/ministry volunteer, your work is important! You are leading people to greater knowledge of Jesus, and the truth of the gospel. Everyone will deal with burn out, but let's take time to evaluate our lives, and make changes to avoid being sidelined in our work for the kingdom.