This is a guest post by David Murray, author of Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture. The post first appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission.
Good Intentions Can’t Save You From Burnout
I love energetic, ambitious, zealous young Christian men. What a gift to the church they are! And I want them to do whatever their vocation leads them to do—go for it. However, there are dangers if you make unwise choices.
What we don’t realize when we’re young is that we all have a limited amount of life fuel. And we can either expend all of it in the first decade of our working life and and then suffer for the rest of it, or we can pace ourselves, being refueled along the way as well. It’s something I wish I’d learned when I was younger that if you pace yourself, it’s not that you’re being lazy, it’s that you’re being wise.
Don’t Spend All Your Life Fuel in One Place
I think that the first thing is: You recognize that you’ve got a limited amount of fuel, and either you spend it all quickly or you spread it out and you have a much longer life of usefulness.
You Can’t Rewind
The second thing is, if you choose to go down the first path of going for it 110 percent, you are damaging yourself. I damaged myself physically—I ended up in the ER twice with blood clots in my lungs due to the many years of living in the midst of far too much, far too long and far too fast. There are some things you can’t rewind when you’ve damaged yourself.
Set Healthy Patterns Early
And the third thing is that you’re setting patterns. Even though I know that I can no longer live at that pace, I’ve had decades now of living at that pace setting a default for my life that I keep going back to. It’s such a battle to resist.
You must trust God. You may think, “Oh, well, if I don’t do this, then so-and-so will get ahead of me!” or “l want to do this.” Live within God-ordained limits and trust God to bless your life and your career and to open the doors without you having to charge them down.
Be sure to take a look at Crossway’s burnout infographic for more statistics related to this important (yet neglected) issue.