Burnout is real. 

It can happen to the best of us and can go undetected. 

Right now you might be experiencing burnout and not know it, even with the signs are screaming in your face. 

That’s what happened to my friend, Kevin Richelieu (Rev. Kev for short), and it literally changed his life. It was his ticket to a better life, and it could be yours too. 

Something Was Very Wrong

Having just finished a juice cleanse and only having slept three hours the night before, Rev. Kev felt ready to play in his church’s band for Palm Sunday. It was a big day and he was feeling strong and productive. 

But as he walked down the church hallway after the morning service things didn’t feel right, at all. Something was wrong. 

He thought he could push through but he couldn’t. Instead, he had a total and complete crash! 

He chalked it up to needing a good meal. A few days later and things weren’t any better. Months went by and nothing was helping. 

Lab work came back saying that there was nothing wrong. But something was very wrong. He could barely function. 

It was time to start praying. 

When God Won’t Heal You

Kevin started asking God to heal him. As a Pentecostal minister, he was fully convinced that God could do it. He had faith. 

Recently, he told me that at that time, he began to feel God speaking directly to him about his condition. The message was clear and confusing, “This is for your good.”

What Rev. Kev was learning was that he needed more than healing he needed a lifestyle change. 

In the fitness and health world, we often say that dieting is not the answer to your health problems. A diet mindset wants to change the consequences of habits but not the habits themselves. 

If God had healed him, Kevin would have kept going at a pace that would have eventually destroyed him. Ironically, he was working too hard for the kingdom. So God put a stop to it. 

Are You Burning Out?

Hippocrates was quoted as saying, “Before you heal someone, ask him if he’s willing to give up the things that make him sick.” 

That’s how God can use your burnout: it’s a wake-up call asking you to examine the patterns in your life that are making you sick. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you overproducing and under-rested?
  • Do you ignore the signs that your body gives you that you need food, sleep, and decompression? 
  • Are you unable to rest at night?
  • Are you losing passion for the things you used to love?

If this sounds like you, you may be on the fast track to burnout. 

Listen, I am not a doctor so please don’t take my advice as gospel truth. See a physician and talk to the Great Physician.

But if your story is starting to sound like Kevin’s, then it’s time to take an honest look in the mirror and yourself.

Am I willing to have a lifestyle change? Am I willing to give up the things that are making me sick, even if they are ‘good things’?

This can be particularly hard for pastors. 

Put On Your Oxygen Mask First

Every flight I’ve ever taken starts with the same safety announcement: seatbelts, flotation device under your chair…you know the one.

At some point, without fail, the flight attendant will let an oxygen mask dangle in front of her. You know what they say next: Put your mask on first before assisting others. 

As people who care for others (parents, pastors, doctors, law enforcement, etc.) it can be so easy to think that self-care is selfish. That we should put ourselves last and help everyone else first. 

Think of it this way…

At cruising altitude, you only have a few seconds before you lose the mental awareness to help the person next to you. 

The same goes for our personal well-being. If you are not well, you cannot walk others into wholeness. 

Put your mask on first. Take care of yourself.  And watch God use you to heal others. 

Hurt people hurt people, but healthy people heal.