If you have served in any capacity for a lengthy period of time, you have most likely experienced burnout. Webster defines burnout as “the condition of someone who has become very physically and emotionally tired after doing a difficult job for a long time.”
Today, instead of a Pinterest inspiration or an outfit post, I am going to just speak from my heart. I have been a pastor’s daughter for almost fifteen years. We started with very few people in our church and have essentially had to build a church from absolutely nothing. If you’re a PK or have any experience with ministry, you would know that whenever a role becomes vacant, it becomes your job to fill that role, regardless of inexperience or age. In many larger more established churches, a member will come to the pastor and ask if they can serve in a certain capacity, but when you are building a church you are placed where you are needed. You do not necessarily get to choose where you are placed or how you want to serve.
About four years ago, our music team moved and we were left without a music director, praise team and musicians. We basically had to start from scratch. My parents desperately needed a piano player, so I began taking lessons again and learning to play with chords. At about 17 years of age, I began leading worship and playing the piano at the same time. My brother also began singing with a headset while playing the drums because we needed a strong tenor. Then a little over a year ago, our youth pastor got a new job that required him to work on Wednesday nights. This meant that he couldn’t teach youth class anymore. My dad approached me and asked if I would teach the class. To be honest, I was terrified. I have had anxiety about public speaking for years, and to top it off, I had absolutely no experience teaching. I have been teaching for over a year now though, and I absolutely love it.
However, in all of this, I experienced burnout.
And to be honest with you, even typing that seems like a defeated response. I try so hard to be superwoman and not complain and just serve despite my self-imposed inadequacies, but to be completely transparent, I felt emotionally exhausted. If something were to go wrong, I would place the blame entirely on my shoulders. I found that it is difficult to have passion for music ministry and youth ministry when you experience burnout. You have no energy to continue, and your stress level is at an all-time high. I was envious of those PKs who seemingly had life served to them on a silver platter. They didn’t stay up at night worrying about the future of the music department.
Then the questioning ensued, God why couldn’t I have things a little easier? How come they don’t have to work as hard as I do? God, I’m just really not cut out for this job.
Yet, it was during these times of immense burnout and stress that I drew closer to God.
Instead of complaining and asking why, I began to pray for the anointing. I began to pray that when I sang and played and taught that people would see Him and not me. I do not claim to be the greatest piano player or the greatest teacher, but above all else, I wanted to play and teach with anointing.
To be honest with you, I still experience burnout on a fairly regular basis, actually. But what I have learned is that in times of great stress and massive burnout, you draw closer to Him. I’ve learned that there is a work that God wants to do that is greater than me. I’ve learned that when you completely surrender your will and let Him take full control, he will do things through you that you never thought were possible. I’ve learned that God is not concerned with ability but instead availability.
I promise you that your labor is not in vain. And I promise you that God will bless you exceedingly, abundantly, above all you could ask or even think. Despite the time and massive effort and the un-glamourous behind the scenes work that I do on a weekly basis, I never grow tired of watching God completely transform someone’s life. All the work that I do for Him, all the burnout that I experience, all the times that I feel inadequate, it all becomes worth it when someone’s life is made whole and given meaning and hope.
To quote the lyrics of a song written by my dear friend Farrah Newton, “It’s gonna be worth it. It’s gonna be worth it. It’s gonna be worth it all. I believe that.”
Your efforts are not in vain. It’s all going to be worth it when you hear Him say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
I promise you this.