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Paul C. Edwards
In your comments, Wally, you expressed a bit of what I have been feeling for a while. I often ask myself, “How much longer can I keep doing this?”. I don’t find myself dreading the calls. What I find myself dreading, however, is knowing that another person is hurting, and there is nothing I can do to change that fact, except provide the compassion, empathy and spiritual support that befits the situation. I struggle with wanting to be that person who offers compassionate care, while at the same time feeling that it might be time to leave this ministry to someone who has fresh energy.
My computer hobby takes me away from the stress of over-reflecting on death, poor prognoses and dysfunctional family systems. For some, that seems like work, but, while I “hate” software problems, I get a spark from solving hardware issues.
It also helps to process my thoughts with a few folks that I am close to and with whom we share some history (ministry and non-ministry). Like you, Wally, I engage in an pretty active prayer life. That helps tremendously to maintain the balance, especially when my emotions are raw and I need a quick outlet. Having an office to retreat to is a bonus. I can shut the door and be alone when I need some downtime. (I know some settings don’t allow for that, and I know I am very fortunate with that option).