Insightful Words on Burnout


This morning, in my daily office reading, was an insightful quote by Parker Palmer about burnout. I am sure that many of you have, at one point or another, experienced burnout. I have always considered burnout simply me giving TOO MUCH but Palmer turns this on end by showing burnout to not be giving too much of ourselves but giving of ourselves from a STATE OF EMPTINESS.  He says it is giving what we do not possess.  We think we are giving a great GIFT but in reality it is a DANGEROUS and LOVELESS act of proving ourselves.  And in turn it is giving TOO LITTLE.

Can you relate?

From Peter Scazzero’s Daily Office reading —

“When I give something I do not possess, I give a false and dangerous gift, a gift that looks like love but is, in reality, loveless — a gift given more from my need to prove myself than from the other’s need to be cared for. . . . One sign that I am violating my own nature in the name of nobility is a condition called burnout. Though usually regarded as the result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess — the ultimate in giving too little! Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have; it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place.” — Parker Palmer

Question to Consider:  What would it look like for you to respect yourself in light of your God-given human limits?

Prayer Jesus, you know my tendency to say yes to more commitments than I can possibly keep. Help me to embrace the gift of my limits physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And may you, Lord Jesus, be glorified in and through me today. In your name, amen.

Scazzero, Peter. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day (p. 50). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.


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