I was there once upon a time. Feels like a lifetime ago but it’s only been a few years since I walked away from that work. Three years as “volunteer staff” in college & two years as official staff at a church plant of sorts was enough to burn me out.
For a long time, I wanted to blame the church for that. The pastor. The people. It was definitely someone else’s fault that I got burned out. That I walked away feeling defeated, used, mistreated, & ready to jump on the “I love Jesus just not church” bandwagon.
As I find myself two years later already quite involved in church again & enjoying it, I’ve had to own something – it wasn’t church that burned me out, it was my approach to it.
Being my stubborn self I had to be burned to the ground before I could grow back healthier. There was no telling me anything to help me put out the fire before it raged out of control. I needed to learn how to set healthy boundaries. I needed to learn it was okay to say no, to step back. I needed to walk in humility without the mindset of “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.”
In the beauty of the ashes I found those lessons. I found an identity apart from my work. I found a relationship with God that wasn’t based on my doing for Him, but on my being with Him.
I’d be lying if I said I had it all figured out. That I knew how to put into practice those things I’ve learned. But the truth is whether I like not the Martha in me, the taskmaster, still rears it’s ugly head where there are things to get done.
But that’s not the church’s fault. That’s not a pastor’s fault. Volunteers’ fault. A congregation’s fault. No, no one can own that except me.