I Know My Symptoms, But I've Been Too Afraid To Diagnose the Problem...

This isn't going to be an easy post to write.

Some of you may have noticed that the frequency to which I post things on this blog has become more sporadic over the past few weeks. I would like to be able to provide some type of justifiable explanation as to how this could be, but I can't. Truth be told, over the course of these last few weeks I have occupied the chair in my office for the exact same amount of time as before (when I posted more regularly). I have not gone out of town. Our fall programs are kicking off in the Middle School Ministry, but that hasn't made my schedule that crazy. No, I'm afriad that the answer to this mystery is much deeper, and I'm sorry to say, much more serious than any of these. And the worst part about it is that I haven't even noticed it until today.

I'm burning out...

Those of you who serve in ministry know how serious that statement is. In fact, most of you probably know someone who has become burned out, not known what to do, and given up. They usually end up leaving their post only to do one of two things: 1) They blame their burn out on their church, job, boss, family, etc. As a result, they think a change in the area to which they assign their blame will solve the problem. So, they move. They move jobs. They move churches. They move locations. They try to replace the thing that they assign blame to.2) Their burn out is much deeper than expected. Their dissatisfaction has run so deep, that it now leaks into their relationship with God. This type of burn out usually results in the person leaving the ministry all together. Both of these outcomes are extremely sad. Not just because they hurt the body of Christ, but because they could have been avoided.

I wish that I could pinpoint a day or an event when it started to happen. At least then I could correct whatever choice I made or didn't make to get back on the right path. But unfortunately, unlike a moral failure can be, burn out is never the result of one instance of poor judgement. Unlike a moral failure, a burn out is the result of many small things culminating into one big mess. It's all the times I've stayed in the office until 9pm because I had to get that graphic done tonight. It's all the times that I came into work for half a day on Saturday because I didn't use my weekdays wisely enough. It's all the times I got up in the morning and watched Sportscenter before work instead of spending time with God. And, it's seeping into other parts of my life. It's not as if I took a flying leap off of the path. It's more like I took 1,000 baby steps and suddenly looked up to find out I'm no longer where I thought I was heading.

I love my job. It is the culmination of 6 1/2 years of study and work. It is the realization of a dream. It is the epicenter of the ven diagram of my talents, my passions, my spiritual gifts, my personality, and my experience. It is the path which I know my God has set for me. But I have allowed myself to become tired. I have allowed myself to grow weary of the very thing which has given me so much joy. I have come to a place where I'm not sure if I can keep it up anymore.

Before you read any farther, know this: I'm not quitting. I'm not going to walk away. I'm not going to give up.

Isaiah 40: 27-31 says:
Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening?
God doesn't come and go. God lasts.
He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
they walk and don't lag behind.

I'm going to turn to God. I'm going to lean against Him, hard. I'm going to stop, look up, and bask in the unending, grace-filled, comforting, strengthening, forgiving, and sustaining love of my God who has proven Himself to me time and time again. He didn't have to. But He did.

Please pray for me. The toughest thing in the world for me to do is to ask for help. But I don't want it to get so deep that I want to leave. I want to be filled with the same joy that I had when I first started.

Thanks for reading...


Anonymous said...

pray for me as i pray for you... burning down ain't easy... and i think after reading this post that i'm probably on the same road as you... rise up on the wings of the Savior...

Puddles said...

Hey man,
its great that you recognized this when you did, and its great that you are letting us in on it so we can pray for you. You are the man!

Kurt Johnston said...

I just prayed for you, Josh.
It was GREAT seeing you at the wedding.