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Nonprofit Leadership Burnout and How To Overcome It

Nonprofit leadership burnout is very common. It happens to us when we take on too much. Those same duties you once enjoyed now feel heavy, hard and overwhelming. The duties themselves have not changed — but you have.

Friend, if this is you, you are tired.

The first step in overcoming burnout is admitting the fact that you are experiencing burnout. There is no shame in recognizing your need for rest!

In fact, you may be experiencing other symptoms such as:

  • Stress

  • Depression

  • Insufficient sleep and rest

  • Spiritual dryness

  • Loss of motivation for ministry

  • Feelings of isolation

  • Susceptibility to temptation

  • Disengaged and a lack of love with those you serve

You are not alone. God has a lot to say about caring for our bodies.

  • Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-201

  • Kings 19:1-8– Elijah feels depression and loneliness. The angel of the Lord tells Elijah, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”

  • “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” – Mark 1:35 NIV

  • “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 1:2 NIV

  • “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” – Mark 6:31-32

You are in need of self-care and you don’t need to feel guilty for acknowledging it!

As a a faith based nonprofit leader for over 14 years, I find myself needing more and more self-care these days. I believe I have always needed it, but my pride kept me from embracing it in many difficult seasons. There were times when the Lord was calling me to rest, but instead I tapped into my own strength and became determined to press on. There was just too much to do to rest. This is a lie and tactic of the enemy. Believing that there is too much to do, never enough time in the day, only you can do it – these are all lies that keep us in bondage.

So, where does the weary soul find rest and relief from its stress?

Yes, it’s great to veg out watching Netflix for hours with a big bowl of ice cream. But that is not the self-care I am talking about. Self-care should always draw us back to God.

Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:30

Self-care can certainly include healthy activities and habits like exercise, eating nutritious meals, taking a nature walk, enjoying a sunset or sitting on a beach, however, I highly encourage you to pursue more of Him while caring for yourself.

Pursue Him like never before.

He is the one that brings true fulfillment, peace and rest.

Great advice...

“The power of effective habits is not in the seclusion, or the silence, or the journal, but in whom you find in the habit. If you only find yourself, then your weaknesses, failures, and stresses can only be amplified and perpetuated. But if you find more of God, you have found resources far beyond yourself to address your deepest, most desperate needs.”

– Marshall Segal, Desiring God Blogger

Remember - You are worth it and He will honor it!


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