When burnout looms, turn to God for strength, discernment
I recently read an article with the intro, “I couldn’t figure out why small, straightforward tasks on my to-do list felt so impossible. The answer is both more complex and far simpler than I expected.”
I couldn’t think of anything that resonated more with me. The article talks about why millennials are experiencing burnout, and as someone who is currently working two part- time jobs, getting my masters full time and babysitting in the spare moments I can find … I could definitely relate.
While this article talks about the busy life habits of millennials, it made me think a lot about my faith. In the midst of my busy life I always feel like I should be doing more for my faith. I should establish a set time for prayer, I should go to daily Mass, I should go to confession more often, go to spiritual direction, go on a retreat, etc. Thinking about all the things I could be doing is overwhelming, and the article talks about this saying,
“That’s one of the most ineffable and frustrating expressions of burnout: It takes things that should be enjoyable and flattens them into a list of tasks, intermingled with other obligations that should either be easily or dutifully completed. The end result is that everything, from wedding celebrations to registering to vote, becomes tinged with resentment and anxiety and avoidance. Maybe my inability to get the knives sharpened is less about being lazy and more about being too good, for too long, at being a millennial.”
I felt myself relating to this article, but feeling a bit bad for the author, who had no answer on how to avoid this burnout. I was reminded that God does not call me to do more or be more. God calls me simply to be. Lately, when I get the paralyzing feeling I can’t do something, I have been taking a step back and praying, “I can’t do it God, but I know you can. I have faith you are working through me.”
I can’t do all the things, and I don’t need to add to my list of to do’s to enrich my faith. I know that my relationship with Christ will allow me to discern the things I really need to do and give me the strength to do them. It also may help me to discern the things that aren’t necessary and dump them so I have time for what is really important. Rather than feel like I need to add to my list of ways to live my faith, I feel strengthened that God is with me always.
Piper is the youth/young-adult minister at St. Paul Church in Webster.