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A Prayer for Perfectionists, Workaholics and the Driven


Psalm 127 teaches us how to live to avoid burnout.  Every person can avoid burnout by praying and living out Psalm 127.

Burnout arises when we fail to live within our limits.  Psalm 127 grounds us in the need to be aware that God is in control and God is watching over the work of our hands. And so we pray Psalm 127 to stay grounded.

“If the LORD does not build a house, then those who build it work in vain. If the LORD does not guard a city, then the watchman stands guard in vain. It is vain for you to rise early, come home late, and work so hard for your food. Yes, he can provide for those whom he loves even when they sleep. Yes, sons are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Sons born during one’s youth are like arrows in a warrior’s hand.  How blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! They will not be put to shame when they confront enemies at the city gate” Psalms 127:1–5 NET

Psalm 127 teaches us

We BUILD
We WATCH
But UNLESS YAHWEH is involved
OUR BUILDING and WATCHING is INEFFECTIVE (vanity, empty)
CHILDREN (as an example)
Are a GIFT (BUILD)
Provide PROTECTION for us (WATCH)
BUT UNLESS YAHWEH IS involved
OUR PLANS FOR CHILDREN ARE INEFFECTIVE (Implied vanity, empty)

What does it mean that Yahweh builds and protects?
* We do the best we can.
* We acknowledge our abilities and resources come from God.
* We submit our plans and activities to God.
* We practice his moment by moment presence.
* We live healthy lives of balance, accepting our limitations.
* We trust God is in control, is committed to help us and his plans for us are only for our good.

Insights into burnout

From Mad Church Disease by Anne Jackson

  • Burnout is a disease nobody talks about until it’s too late. Statistics and stories prove that the health of those serving in ministry is declining—spiritually, physically, emotionally, and relationally. At some point along the road, your heart, your mind, your spirit—maybe even your body—have been damaged while fighting the battles of good and evil.  Loc 166
  • The fear of letting people down, especially in spiritual matters, can often cause us to feel obligated or pressured into meeting unrealistic expectations, or worse, spending more time doing things for God instead of being what God wants us to be. That can lead to serious stress. What’s worse, it’s easy for the resulting attitudes to contaminate a team or even an entire church. Loc 544

From Rework by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson

  • Our culture celebrates the idea of the workaholic.loc 261
  • Not only is this workaholism unnecessary, it’s stupid. Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more. loc 263
  • Workaholics wind up creating more problems than they solve. loc 265

From The Truth About Burnout by Maslach and Leiter

  • Burnout is the index of the dislocation between what people are and what they have to do. It represents an erosion in values, dignity, spirit, and will-an erosion of the human soul. It is a malady that spreads gradually and continuously over time, putting people into a downward spiral from which it’s hard to recover.

Previous posts on burnout

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