Burnout is definitely a hazard that often accompanies leadership responsibility. Have you ever been there? For many leaders the constant stream of problems to solve and resources to stretch can be draining and exhausting. The formula is quite simple: When more energy is expended than being renewed, our strength is depleted. Do you ever feel weak, powerless and overwhelmed? Be encouraged by these words of Isaiah:
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 4:29-31 NLT)
Dependence on the Lord is a key factor in staying strong, not in our own strength but in His. For many Christian leaders, we fall into the trap of trying to “make things happen”. I know this trap very well from my own failures in this area. Much of this can be attributed to certain personalities and temperament types; however, no one is exempt from burnout. For the driven personality, they create the burnout scenario for themselves. For the more calculated person, the burnout scenario is often created for them by the driven person!
Note that Isaiah says “even youths will become weak and tired”. Burnout is for everyone! If you don’t plan to intentionally “renew your strength”, you are likely to hit burnout by default. Leadership responsibility is draining because the toughest problems and challenges always rise to the top. As a Christian leader, you must learn to “renew your strength” by trusting in the Lord to guide you and strengthen you. It takes humility to admit we can’t do it all in our own strength. Remember, pride comes before a fall when we fail to acknowledge our own weakness and admit our need for God to strengthen us.
I love the imagery of a soaring eagle. I’ve been to Alaska a few times and have watched eagles glide overhead with great majesty but with little apparent effort. You can watch the eagles being lifted by the wind currents and propelled by simple maneuvers as they dip and rise with ease. Isaiah says we can soar like that too! We just need to rely on the strength of the Lord to lift us and propel us. In short, we need to stop flapping and start soaring.
Be intentional today about relying on the Lord’s strength. Admit you need His strength and then simply ask Him to lift you to new heights today. Soaring leaders are an inspiration to others because they represent the majesty of God’s strength in their lives and leadership.
“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.” ~ Carl Sandburg