All of us are busy. Work. Working out. Kids. Errands. Whoever you are, whatever you do, chances are you have a pretty full bill. That’s just how life goes. We accumulate responsibilities and obligations. It is easy to feel invaded by a sense of not having time at all. What can you do to fight burnout and feel better?
Exodus 18 provides us with a very important truth about the dangers of over-committing ourselves and getting burnout. On one side of the extreme, we can be prone to laziness and inactivity, and, at such times, we need some prodding to get more involved in life.
Yet there are other times when we can fall to the other extreme of constant activity and juggling too many responsibilities. This extreme is not any healthier because it leads to high stress for the over-committed individual and an inability on his or her part to be balanced and to give to others what they need.
Three Things To Avoid When Fighting Burnout
1. Trying to do it all by yourself
In Exodus 18, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, visited him. Jethro noticed that Moses spent from morning until evening (v. 13) judging the people of Israel. He asked Moses, “Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?” (v. 14) Moses replied, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws” (v. 15-16).
Moses was filling his day with good things (or so he thought) by teaching the people the commands of God. But Jethro saw a problem, and he responded, “The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone” (v. 17-18 with emphasis added).
Jethro then advised Moses to divide the labor between many other faithful, trustworthy men so that he would only have to decide the most difficult of cases (v. 22). Jethro was right that Moses would never be able to keep his current schedule going because it was too much for one man to do.
His over-commitment was not based on the wisdom of God.
Jethro continued in v. 23, “If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace”(emphasis added). Moses agreed that Jethro’s counsel was indeed wisdom from God, and he made the proper adjustments in how he governed and spent his time.
God’s will is that we do the tasks He has given us to do, not more and not less. Our joy will be full as we do these things, and He will supply our needs accordingly. The one who walks in wisdom will find balance leading to steadfastness and immovability, which, in turn, enables us to endure. So, let us not be over-committed; rather, let us be fully committed to what God has asked us to do.
3. Not setting up your priorities
So today take a minute to ask yourself what you are prioritizing. Is time in prayer and meditation coming first? Or does it only get the leftovers? Are you dictating time for deep work and reflection? Or does your job and your busy work decide if there is extra time for that? What is your true love? What do you value most?
Living according to principles in scripture cannot get our garbage or left-over minutes. Make a priority list of the highlights and musts, following God’s guidance. You will see how those busy, overwhelming days turn into satisfaction and enlightenment instead. Your life will go from burnout to mindfulness.
Have you ever felt burned out or overwhelmed? Me too. Once I was so overwhelmed and anxious that I did not realize I had used one whole bottle of shampoo in one single shower. But I found a way to channel and triumph over anxiety, it’s all summed up in ten simple and effective steps here, in my book