Experiencing Burnout

I am coming out of a season of burnout.

I believe I burned out for 2 reasons:

  1. I did not care for my own soul.  I needed to pause more and rest.  More on that in future posts.
  2. I was operating outside of my strengths.  The majority of my time was not used in areas where I feel strong.  I believe we all have gifts/strengths and when we use them we come alive.  And if we aren’t living in our sweet spots then we feel drained and weary.

I am thankful this season was only a few months but still those months felt longer.  And the crazy thing is that I would still be in my same situation had my wise husband not stepped in.

I had been leading our kids ministry at church.  My intent was to not stay in the position.  My hope was to find someone who is gifted in this area and who has a passion for it.  So this was meant to be a temporary thing.

We began our foster care classes at the same time that I took on this role.  Adopting kids is what I feel called to do.  Preparing kids ministry stuff is NOT what I am called to.  I am always encouraging others to discover their strengths and live in them but I was doing no such thing.

I knew it was a temporary thing but I had no real exit strategy or plan in place.  I can foolishly think that since it is hard and a struggle for me that it will be that way for someone else.  So I hold onto to as to not burden anyone else.  But that is the crazy thing- when someone is gifted and skilled in something- it is not a burden or struggle.  It is a passion and a source of excitement for them.  One example: the thought of creating a spreadsheet gives me hives but I have friends who get giddy over the chance to create one.  So I not only continued to cause unnecessary strife for me but I also robbed someone else of experiencing joy from using their gifts.

So it was late Christmas eve after we wrapped that I came unraveled.  I just started bawling as I admitted to my husband(who is also the lead pastor) that I do not feel like I currently have the capacity to add 2 more children (we hope to adopt siblings) to our lives with me juggling church as well.   He said,”Ok, let’s have you be done with kids ministry. We will find someone else.”

Of course I tried to figure out a way for me to still do it for a while longer because I don’t want him adding one more thing to his plate.  It is clearly not a strength of mine but I want to hold onto it because I fear adding it to anyone else’s plate.  But I forget when we are operating in our strengths- it does not feel like adding to our plate but it is feels invigorating.  It feels more like an exciting opportunity instead of a responsibility.

My husband felt bad that he did not see the weight of it on me sooner.  I am so grateful that he took the choice out of my hands.  He made the choice that I needed to be done.  My soul needed it.  My family needed me to stop.  And our future children needed me to stop.  We joke that this is the second time he has to fire me from doing the kids ministry details.

This next season is for me to prepare my heart to expand our family.  Just like a mom gets 9 months to prepare- I need a gestation period. 😉

P.S- we already had the perfect person volunteering in our kids ministry- the time was now to release her to use her gifts and to become the StoryKids Administrator.  I realized by my leading it- I was getting in the way of someone else leading it.  I was holding her back.  She is the one who cares for all the details and makes the magic happen.


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