Overcoming Depression and Burnout
Dear friends in Christ. I know that many of you reading this are pastors and at some point you have suffered from depression, exhaustion, and burnout. These insidious forces are the silent killers of those whom God has called to proclaim the gospel. Many good pastors walk away from their calling because of depression, yet we do not hear of it because many of us are afraid to admit this is a problem. You are not alone in your struggles. I felt the Lord leading me to offer encouragement to you today. If you have suffered from depression or are going through it right now, please know there is hope. I trust the following thoughts will be beneficial.
Know that recovery from depression takes time, commitment, dedication, and determination. Do not give up. Allow yourself time to heal and to learn to cope with these dark forces. Depression leaves us feeling trapped and hopeless. Before you surrender to your struggles, resolve to give it more time. See your doctor, a therapist, or take some time off. All three of these might be advantageous.
Consider the power of attitude. Resolve with God’s help to take back control of your life. Make a conscious decision to be positive and to make the best of your situation. A proper diet and vigorous exercise are essential to overcoming depression and burnout. Few of my pastor colleagues engage in any form of exercise. Many of them are overweight, lethargic, and discouraged. A healthy diet and regular exercise are wonderful confidence boosters. When we exercise, we begin to feel better about ourselves and thus our outlook improves. We think less about running away and more about standing firm where God has placed us. Keep moving, stay up, stay awake, and do whatever it takes to get yourself physically active again. I have battled depression for years and I summarize what works for me in three steps: routine, routine, and routine. Find a daily routine of prayer, exercise, healthy eating habits, and daily schedule and stick to it. Go to bed earlier and then get up earlier each day for prayer and meditation on the Scriptures. This will make a profound difference in your life.
Think in terms of managing depression rather than recovering. I have faced the hard truth that I may never be completely free of the dark forces of depression. Therefore, it is up to me to manage it each day. My brothers, God will empower us to accomplish this so we can enjoy life again.
The days may look dark, but with God’s help, a brighter day is just around the corner.
I welcome your thoughts on the subject and perhaps I can be of further encouragement.