Some weeks ago I offered a seminar about Burnout at the Romanian YWAM staff conference. It included a short self test to find out how you are doing in regard to stress. The feedback I got led me to the following conclusion: YWAMers in Central Europe generally are amazingly dedicated and committed, but often work and minister above and beyond their normal capacity both physically and emotionally.
The needs around us are so pressing, the workers are so few, so we try to do it all… ourselves. That works for some time, maybe even years, but inevitably the point will come when you have nothing left to give.
“ You find it hard to get up and go to work in the morning. Work used to be exciting and you used to look forward to what you did with people, but now you are just tired and it takes a great deal of effort to get out of bed. You wonder what is wrong. Could it be that you are suffering from burnout? Could a really committed missionary burn out?…”
This is the introduction of the burnout brochure from www.missionarycare.com
I also noticed that the long term YWAMers often try to keep up with the energetic, young new YWAMers. If you have been in YWAM longer than 5 years and intend to stay, you are like a Marathon runner. If you try to compete with a short distance sprinter, you will very likely not reach your long distance goal!! So if you are in Missions for the ‘long haul’, you need to adjust your pace accordingly.
How? Read the brochure mentioned above. Also the www.headington-institute.org website has some checklists that are helpful, e.g. the Self-care and lifestyle balance inventory
It does not bring glory to God if we have to leave missions prematurely because of burnout! I have been through an experience like this and it cost me and my family 1 ½ years of lost time as well as thousands of Euros in extra expenses. Take it from me, it is better to ‘hit the brakes’ in time, than to ‘hit the wall’ at full speed.
If you want to talk about this or other things with me or Doris, feel free to contact us for some Skype-time! You can contact us on membercare at ywamce.com (replace the ‘at’ with @)
With lots of love from your MemberCare folks,
Hannes and Doris Steets