Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Burnout

I got an invitation to attend a three-day retreat for women based on the Liturgy of the Hours.

Something right up my alley. Something I'd love to attend.

Trouble is -- two of the days are work days. On top of the work days I need to take off for my regular retreats, plus some personal days I need for my life maintenance activities, plus a number of Saturday classes that I'm supposed to attend. Had I had more advance notice I could possibly have juggled my schedule to accomodate a two-day absence, but this came up too fast for me to deal with.

So I've had to take a pass on this opportunity.

This makes me sad, and frustrated. But I'm thinking that if I somehow finagled the two days off, I'd wind up needing an extra two days off just for a post-retreat wind-down. I have so much to do just in terms of maintaining my house and my life, and so much I want to do, for myself and with Fellow Traveler. But I'm just tired...so tired...bone tired. There just isn't enough time. I'm physically run down and cranky and anxious.

As you may be picking up, I'm feeling some major church burnout. What's my motivation here? Especially after my last training retreat experience, I'm finding myself questioning why I'm making such an investment of time and money in service to an organization that would appear not to want me in the end. Actually, I feel like I've had my motivation stolen from me.

I wish I had it back.

14 comments:

Ross said...

I hear you on the burnout. Sometimes it just happens. We need to work our way through it.

I say that like it's easy to do. I'm still working on it.

Callas4Ever said...

Hang in there. Go back to Jesus and get refreshed--it's amazing what even a few mintues of "HELP ME" prayer will do. Sometimes I just say to Jesus, "Look. You have to hold tightly to my hand and get me through this." He won't fail you. The Spirit blesses and sustains.

We are fighting the good fight here--so that gay disciples coming after us won't have to go through a lot of the angst, soul-searching and exclusion that we have. That is much of what keeps me going in this. It's never easy for pioneers, my friend ;-) But it is God's work.

You are in my prayers.

Trish said...

If it means anything to you at all, I want you in our church. I enjoy the insights, the knowledge, and the wisdom you share with your readers. You have much worth in the eyes of God. In my humble opinion, this is something we all need to remember more often. I hope you feel better. Peace to you.

Pastor David Hansen said...

I think we all get that way from time to time. I was just saying to someone that I am just in a funk this week. I think I overdid it this weekend (Services, plus visits, meetings and more) and never really recovered from that. Solution: slug through this week, try to get some rest, and pray.

I always remind myself that this will happen from time to time, but it seems like I get more upset with myself when I do get into one of these slumps, just making the problem worse. Oh well, back to sermon prep, trying to make this weekend a little more restful.

Mata H said...

It is the nature of our brokenness that whenever we try to form an institution around a principle, we seem to end up corrupting the principle in some way.

The church, as an institution, lets all of us down when it hurts any of us. The ministry still has places and times where it resembles a straight, white, male, middle-class fraternity. The reality is brokenness. And that hurts.

My heart and prayers are with you and all of us who love the church, prayers that healing happens so that the church can be what it can be. Do what you need to do to strengthen your reserves. Lots of this battle continues to be uphill.

Grace said...

Lutheranchik

I'm a member of the ELCA, and I want you so much to know that I appreciate, and also thank God for your witness in our church. I think the body of Christ needs you very much, and all of it's faithful GLBT members. I personally have been blessed just by your blogging, here.

Sometimes only God can know the real difference we're making in each other's lives, and in the whole body of Christ. But, He only asks that we be faithful. All the results are ultimately up to Him.

I know when ever I'm feeling down or discouraged, Scripture like Is.
40:27-31 always speaks to my heart.

Why do you say...My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God? ...The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

You're in my thoughts and prayers. Please take care of yourself. God bless!

Verdugo said...

I think you're on track with your connection between your current burn-out and your recent devastating experience at your training retreat. It also might be related to your recent bereavement. As you know, grief works it's way through our system in various ways, waxing and waning. It may subside for awhile, then resurface in another setting. I wonder if the two experiences, while very different, are coming together for you simply along the lines of loss and disappointment. Maybe something to journal and pray about.

In either event, perhaps time to simply let yourself grieve. I find a lot of wisdom in some of the Jewish grieving customs (ever read Linda Richmond's advice on grieving-- real gems!). Something about allowing yourself time-- just vegging away and giving yourself permission to be sad, to be disappointed, to be angry... to just feel. Then, at a certain point, you get up, you wash your face, and you move forward.

Maybe time for a weekend of just vegging out.

Rainbow Pastor said...

LC

I am with you in the burnout department--had a bit of a vent session with DP the other night when I unexpectedly found I had another meeting to go to, when I thought I had a free evening.

As out wise friends have said, be patient with yourself--grief expresses itself in so many ways, and you have indeed experienced a great deal of loss recently, as well as some sudden ups.

It's disconcerting to the soul, these changes, whether good or bad.

Take time for LC, whatever that means for you--sleep late (or maybe go back to bed after letting Codeman out and back in), veg with a good escapist movie or book, cook up a storm--whatever it takes to spoil yourself.

You're in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I second the comments about grief possibly rearing its head in an unexpected way. I'll throw in some practical advice too: months ago you wrote about having iron deficiency. Have you been taking your iron supplements, and have you had a blood test and physical check-up? I know when I neglect my iron, and it runs low, it takes me a while to say "Duh, maybe the reason I feel so crappy is I'm anemic!"

toujoursdan said...

Can I just say that I generally hate anything with the label "Christian" on it, am burned out on church, tired of all the fighting inside the church and religious based hate outside it, would give up on the faith if I could? The problem is, I have tried to walk away from the faith several times and can't. I just don't know if it is God or sick codependency that keeps me in.

RuthRE said...

Matthew 6:34

Anyhoo...rent thyself Mary Poppins or The Sound of Music and get thyself a nice bottle of wine and share with F.T.

LutheranChik said...

Thanks, everyone for the great suggestions. It's interesting that anemia was mentioned as an issue, because that's a particular concern of mine right now. (Ever since Mom died my...erm...X-chromosomal biorhythms have not been the same...I never know what's going on from day to day. And that's probably much more than you ever wanted to know about me.)

Dan -- I hear you. I'm not sure if it's a codependent relationship with the Church, but I'm pretty sure it's a codependent relationship with Beliefnet. I have to constantly remind myself of the distinction between Christ and Christians, and between my own faith and my own parish and The Church, Inc. I'm afraid that I'm not going to be a Company Gal for the latter, ever. Nice that they're educating me, though.;-)

Lorna said...

Rest in Him. It' sthe only answer

Bea said...

you can't do everything <-- my life motto