It is possible to become so busy with busyness that you become ineffective and your busyness becomes busywork not real ministry.
Burn out is real. For years I’ve been in ministry. I love it and I wouldn’t trade it for the world but like any job you get tired. You have burn outs. There’s discouragement. There’s attacks from the enemy. There’s attacks from people. Sometimes like Jesus in Mark 6:30-32, You must Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.
As I think about burn out, I’m constantly reminded of the revivalist Evan Roberts. He operated around the clock without rest. In the book God’s General it says:
You can live out of your spirit, operate in the anointing, and get the rest you need. If you don’t, disaster is pending. The Holy Spirit will never drive you—He leads you. You can’t follow God and hear Him accurately if your body is exhausted and driven. Pressure and need abound when revival hits because mankind is made aware of his spiritual condition. A revivalist must know how to lead and rest in order to remain a vital instrument of God. I believe one of the main reasons Evan Roberts’ ministry was cut short was because he didn’t learn this principle.
Sad to say many today haven’t learned this principal. I know many in ministry that don’t get the proper rest or even go on vacation. They don’t even realize that if they’d just rest they’d probably hear God a lot more or get new revelations to give to their congregation. They’d also be less cranky and stop rebuking the congregation all the time while preaching in the pulpit. Minister that do this truly need a vacation!
It goes on to say that:
Evan was soon showing many signs of emotional strain. But despite the overload, he continued to go from town to town and pleaded with residents to think of the lost. Whenever friends would encourage him to rest, he reacted strongly against them. Though his body was rapidly wearing down, the power of God continued to feed the hunger of the people. One newspaper reported that while some were shouting with conviction, others were literally shaking.
There’s no doubt that Evan was being used or anointed by God to preach the gospel. But just think how far he would of went if he just rested and not had the attitude of “work was too pressing to take a break or I could not rest away from the field of labor.”
In 1905, Evan Roberts’ mind became confused. A Congregational minister’s published criticisms of the young revivalist unsettled him greatly, but he pushed on. He often said that he wanted to enter into the “sufferings of the Master.” Sometimes, he would start a service in gentleness and joy, then suddenly jump up, wave his arms, and sharply rebuke those who weren’t pure in heart. Then he would threaten to leave the service. He commented to his friend Sidney Evans that he was afraid of speaking words that weren’t of God. He heard many voices, and sometimes he wasn’t sure which was God’s and which was his.
It goes on to say over time he suffered a breakdown. Then, Jezebel entered his life. Lack of rest caused his confusion. He went off the deep end. He started cutting family off. Resisting the doctors advice to rest. He had the attitude that many in ministry have which is people need to be ministered to no matter what. They even have the mindset that if I do take a break or a vacation I could miss a lot of “opportunities”.
Maybe if those in ministry rested more they wouldn’t get caught up with Jezebel. Maybe if they rested more or took a vacation, it would help their churches to grow. What? Yes, because when you’re rested or when you take a vacation, you’re getting away like Jesus did and able to get fresh revelation, revived vision, and come back less grumpy. Many in ministry don’t realize that when they rest, they are more refreshed and able to think clearly. On top of that, they’d get even more opportunities if they’d just take a break.
The Sad Reason Half of Americans don’t take all their paid vacation
It’s sad but it’s not just those in ministry that won’t take a break or take vacations. Millions of Americans give their vacation days back to their employer says a survey done by Glassdoor. The reason they don’t go on vacation is because of fear. They fear losing their jobs, getting behind on work, they are dedicated to their company, etc. These are reasons that are causing many to not take a vacation especially those in ministry too. Those in ministry feel the same way but as the blog Roy’s Covenant Corner wrote:
Truthfully if you so completely immerse yourself in your ministry or vocation that you cannot relax and recharge your batteries you will ‘burn out’ or ‘burn up’ and become so spent that you are not effective or as effective as you could be. The danger I wanted to avoid was swinging the pendulum too far to the other side. I have seen ministers so guard their ‘away time’ that they ignore true emergency situations. Life or death situations whether spiritual or natural cannot be ignored and if you give up your break to address one of those, God will help you find another time to get away and become refreshed.
So, yes it is time to take a break. It is time to go on vacation. In the end, you’ll serve the people better, be more effective instead of ineffective, you’ll be able to go another year doing the will of God and you won’t burn out or burn up. I’ve decided it’s time for a break and vacation and my honeymoon taught me that.
For more information on getting away and finding great vacation spots within your budget email firstname.lastname@example.org. They are helping us with our next vacation which is fast approaching and on the next blog post I’ll share my honeymoon experience and our time away which was refreshing! I’m even working on the travel video.