Avoid burnout: Introduce uncertainty

Burnout sets in when two conditions prevail:
Certainties start to characterize the workday,
and demands of the job make workers lose a sense of control.
~ ELLEN LANGER, Mindfulness

yawnIt’s another Sunday morning.

  • Get up at the same time
  • Park in the same spot at church
  • Sit in the same seats for worship
  • Talk to the same friends
  • Sing the same songs
  • Hear a sermon from the same chapter
  • Eat lunch at the same restaurant

Routine is good. Structure is good. “Decently and in order” is good.

But when it’s no longer Spirit-breathed, it can also be boring.

Introduce uncertainty.
Not as a psychological trick, but as an act of faith. God is not boring. Neither should our worship of Him be.

When we plan room for spontaneity or the non-routine, then worship and relationship and gratitude might awaken and grow.

Even though it’s a little risky (wonder what the new guy will say?) or it might fail the first time (so the new song flopped) or it might make us a tad uncomfortable (what’s next?), it can be healthy. It can be God-glorifying.

Structure doesn’t have to equal rigidity.
Plans shouldn’t rule out inspiration.

If an organization is characterized by rigid rules,
problems that arise feel insurmountable
because creative problem-solving seems too risky.
When bureaucratic work settings are of
the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality,
burnout is no stranger.

We don’t have to be afraid of uncertainty. Even though it seems a little adventurous. So is our God. Be open to options. Play with ideas. Encourage questions. Look for better ways to honor the Father.

If your church has been operating the same way for years and years, it may be time to ask yourself why.

The Word never changes. God never changes.

But He wants the Word to change us.

Do our gatherings reflect that desire and that actuality? Are we growing in love for the Lord and in love for others (Mark 12:29-31)?

If so, maintain.
If not, then what?

* * * 

We’re discussing chapter 8—Mindfulness on the Job—of Langer’s book Mindfulness today at The High Calling. Please join us.


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