Are YOU in Burnout? (Pt. 3)



There are many causes of BURNOUT. Anyone who feels overworked and undervalued is at risk for BURNOUT—from the hardworking office worker who hasn’t had a vacation or a raise in years, to the ambitious entrepreneur hungering for a breakthrough, to the over-caring minister who steps beyond his boundaries, to the frazzled stay-at-home mom struggling with the heavy responsibility of taking care of three kids, and her aging parents.

But, BURNOUT is not caused solely as a result of a stressful job or overwhelming responsibilities.

Another core contributor to BURNOUT is often the lack of clarity and intention related to one’s contribution. When contribution remains unclear, well-meaning people take on too much, find it hard to say “NO,” and become “jack of all trades, but master of none.” Slowly, passion fades, questions of value surface, and they become consumed with the too much, that plays too little, into how God has shaped their lives.


In the early years of our development, the topic is mission and calling. But as the journey continues, things shift from issues of life direction and vision, to issues of role and choices required to live into one’s unique, Kingdom contribution. In the early years it’s about seizing opportunity and saying YES to what God is authoring. As one progresses, it’s about learning to say “NO” to the good in order to say “YES” to the best. It’s about the few things that God has called a Christ-follower to contribute.

In Luke 9:51, things changed for Jesus. His focused shifted from his early foundational ministry to making his unique contribution. Intentional choices needed to be made to in order to take on the role that He, the Father and the Spirit agreed upon, and authored, before time began. Scripture says that with an “iron will” Jesus set his face to go do that which only He could do. Jesus said NO to the many things, in order to say yes to the cross, the one thing he must do. It is the same for us.

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.’ — Luke 9:51, NIV            “As the time drew near for his return to heaven, he moved steadily onward toward Jerusalem with an iron will. ”                   —Luke 9:52, The Living Bible

Choices are required to move from calling onto contribution. Contribution is about unique influence and is clarified best in the context of community. But how does one even begin the process of clarifying his/her unique contribution?

Two-Ways: Examine your unique wiring (Three Categories of Passion), and work to better integrate the ways God has gifted you to influence others (Three Influence Elements).

Counteract the potential of BURNOUT by seeking to clarify THREE CATEGORIES OF PASSION; the godly-drivers that God has shaped into your personality and wiring. Clarifying passion helps you to move toward those things God has wired you to do.

Category 1: People – Who are the people, individuals, or groups you most passionate to influence or help? The WHO. Leaders, influencers, the under-helped, kids in need, the almost believer, etc.?

Category 2: Cause – What’s the cause or issue that must be addressed, answered or changed? The WHY.  Communities change, poverty addressed, kids given shoes, influence leaders resources, etc.?

Category 3: Function – What is the core function you could you do all day if we would just let you? The WHAT. What do you love to do? Serve, write, administrate, catalyze, innovate, strategize, etc.

Counteract the potential of BURNOUT by taking your first steps to integrate your THREE INFLUENCE ELEMENTS; the unique ways God has gifted you to influence others.

Influence Element 1: Natural Abilities – What are your innate abilities? What are you good at, naturally, and sometimes conclude that “anyone” can do this, or what you do is “no big deal.”  Ex.: Organizing, speaking, synthesizing, encouraging, etc.

Influence Element 2: Spiritual Gifts – What do you believe, and what have others affirmed, to be the grace-gifts God has given to you. How does he often work through your life? Ex.: Teaching, helping, serving, words of wisdom, knowledge, etc.

Influence Element 3: Acquired Skills – What have you learned along the way? What have you been trained to do? What skills do you use to lead and influence others?  Ex.: Facilitation, administrating, coaching, computers/technology, etc.

POINT:  BURNOUT can be averted through a series choices related to moving toward your unique contribution.

Contribution (role) = Passion + Influence  – Weave together your influence elements with your core passion, into a 1-2 sentence description of what you do.  (Example: I resource and coach breakthrough in the lives of risk-taking Kingdom leaders.)

The more you work to clarify your contribution, the greater the decision-making grif you will have to decide what you to focus on, and what not to be involved in, as you go into the future. The more you orient (when possible) your time, efforts and investments around contribution, the greater the fulfillment and the knowing of God’s intended purposes. If you don’t learn to say NO, you won’t be able to say YES to that which God has created you to do, And that inability is another recipe for BURNOUT.

Next Up: FINAL BLOG IN THIS SERIES: BURNOUT, Pt. 4 – Lifelong Development

© Terry Walling / 2013


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