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When You Feel Burn-out, You Are Not Alone

A way to deal with occupational phenomenon

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

When the pandemic disrupted our lives, everything shifted online. As the health crisis became more and more prevalent — COVID-19 and a mental health crisis — more problems arose and started to keep up with the crisis.

This new normal or a somewhat new way of living raises more problems than solutions.

Another problem that we are now facing is burnout. And tons of articles popped up regarding how to prevent or treat burn-out and how to stay engaged in the workplace before 2020 ends, and still, there’s more in 2021, this one included.

Then, how do you prevent it? Is there a way to navigate or treat it? How can we become engaged in our workplace amidst our new setup that somewhat causes burnout?

First, let’s define what burnout is.

The World Health Organization has provided us a definition in an article titled “Burn-out an ‘occupational phenomenon’: International Classification of Diseases.”

The WHO said that burnout is “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

They also shared three dimensions of it:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  • Reduced professional efficacy.

While this seems to be a new thing, burn-out is an old-age phenomenon. There are biblical figures who have seemingly experienced burnout.

Take the story of Moses

Moses seemed to have experienced this phenomenon.

God called Moses to lead the people of Israel out of slavery and into the promised land. This is amazing, for sure, but Moses is no different from us. He’s a human in the flesh. Leading a nation is a taxing job, especially if those people constantly complain and show unwillingness to obey.

In Numbers 11, people were complaining to Moses about the food that they were eating. They recounted the food they’ve eaten in Egypt. They even said:

“But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (Numbers 11:6, NIV)

Take note. This is not the first time they complained.

Moses heard the weeping of the people, and he was displeased.

He asked the Lord:

“Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors?

“Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me — if I have found favor in your eyes — and do not let me face my own ruin.” (Numbers 11:11–15, NIV).

Yes. You’ve read that right. Moses said that. This was the man who led the people of Israel out of slavery, out of Egypt, a terrifying nation. This was the man God used to part the red sea.

This was the man who intercedes for the wicked people of Israel, the guy who saw God’s glory. But then again, he was not exempted from burnout.

Moses experienced burnout from God’s calling.

What surprised me the most is that God didn’t get mad at Moses for feeling this way. God didn’t even revoke His calling for Moses and deemed Him unworthy for His purpose.

Did that stop Moses from doing what God told them to do? No. After cry out, and being totally open with God, God directed him and guided him on how to navigate his situation.

The Lord said to Moses:

“The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, so that they may stand there with you.

“I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.” (Numbers 11:16–17, NIV).

Moses didn’t accomplish his task alone, with God and people around him, they led a nation out from slavery. Eventually, Moses raised a new passionate leader to lead Israel to the promised land.

Moses knew that only God had the best solution to his unmanageable workload and problem, and God handled his burnout perfectly.

Sometimes, workplace stress that has not been managed successfully becomes a gateway for God’s new instructions and new directions.

Dealing with stress at work on your own won’t give you better success, but all the more bring you down. Who are those people God has placed in your life to carry your burdens with you and help you navigate stress and anxiety from your workplace? Do you have those friends?

Final thoughts

Moses indeed was given a huge task, and it’s reasonable for him to have burnout. But what about stress coming from workloads and unmanageable deadlines?

Know that God doesn’t specify between little corporate stress and a nation-big-stress. He doesn’t differentiate between problems we should handle ourselves and a jaw-dropping miracle kind of need.

The biggest mistake is assuming we can handle our problems ourselves and realize that we can’t. God wants us to turn them all over to Him because He wants us to experience abundance and peace.

I like what Francis Chan said,

“The life God has for us is one of abundance. It is meant to be full, not repetitive. He wants us to do things that have eternal impact. He wants us busy expanding his Kingdom in one way or another, today and every day. This doesn’t mean that every Christian should quit his or her job and move to a foreign country. But it does mean that we need to figure out how to make each day count for his purposes.”

We can still be engaged in our workplace despite our mundane, repetitive, and stressful environment because God called us to make an eternal impact. And you are not alone in that task.

God sees us as His children, not as an employee that needs to work 24/7 or a student that needs to perform to earn high grades. God doesn’t want us to manage the stress that surpasses our capability to handle it; He wants us to focus on the eternal impact of our work and experience abundant life.

Will you allow Him to help you? Will you allow Him to guide you?

God is the King of the universe, but at the same time, there’s no little or big problem to Him. He is still a personal God.

Encouraging, empowering, and entertaining. In Christ.



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