Pressure, Stress, Burnout, Compassion Fatigue
Life is filled with pressure and stress. Stress to meet deadlines, stress to get the bills paid, stress in learning a new job, stress to handle the amount of work on your desk, stress caring for a loved one with an illness. Pressure to be liked by your peers, pressure to make the team, pressure to get the next promotion. Sooner or later we come to a boiling point where we feel berried beneath the weight of the stress and pressure. Things are just more than we can handle. At times, we even feel defeated by it. We throw up our hands and cry out, “I don’t know what to do!” or “I can’t go on like this!”
Burnout and Compassion Fatigue are real and we experience these in those moments when we cry out, “I can’t take another step!” In that moment we either experience our greatest tragedy or our greatest victory. It just depends on where turn for help. David turned to his Rock, his Fortress. Where do you go in these moments?
I’m well familiar with pressure, stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue. Not only do I keep up this blog and I’m CEO of this ministry. But this is what I do “part-time.” I also wear the title of Senior Director of Foster Care for a statewide agency and in that role, I oversee thirteen staff in 22 counties. I’m also currently writing two books and mentoring curriculum for an organization in which I serve on the Board of Directors. And if that wasn’t enough, I have a husband with some significant medical needs that keeps me on my toes.
For some they seek relief in alcohol or drugs. Some seek relief in pornography. Some seek relief in sexual relationships. Others seek relief in sports, hobbies, or video games. And in today’s world, it can even be sought in virtual reality. Even if one find distraction in these things for a short while, there is no security or strength found in them to help us through the situation. In fact, most of these things only bring more problems. More tragedy.
Tragedy can also happen when we are overwhelmed when we attempt to make a major decision while we are feeling stress and pressure. Often, when we attempt to make decisions at this time, we make the wrong decision or one that is irreversible. These might be something like the decision to drive a car after drinking or getting high, choosing to cheat on your spouse, choosing to get married or divorce, deciding to buy an expensive item you can’t really afford.
We are not meant to do life in our own power. How do I know when I’m relying on myself? When I begin to feel overwhelmed, discourage, afraid. When I begin to feel like I can’t take another step in the calling God has given me and I’m ready to throw in the white flag. Or when the passion I have for my ministry feels more like a burden. God wants us to depend on Him and live life through His power. When we live in His power, He gets the glory as others see Him at work in our lives. When we have nothing left to give, we need to let go of the reigns and follow David’s example by crying out to God, “Lead me to the Rock!”
Lead Me to the Rock
So then, when we feel overwhelmed, what should we do? David prayed in Psalm 61:2, “I call to You from the ends of the earth when my heart is without strength. Lead me to a rock that is high above me.” In 2 Samuel 22 David said, “The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge. My shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge, and my Savior.”
In the Bible, a rock is a symbol of strength and security and in the moment that David wrote Psalm 61:2, he needed the stability and security of a rock strong enough to stand against the circumstances that caused him to feel overwhelmed. He needed a Rock that is higher than him – a place above his own wisdom and abilities. Jesus is “higher than us” in His deity, knowledge, and power. He is higher in that He is worthy of our praise and worship. He is higher in that He is the only way to salvation.
David also needed God to lead him to that rock. Often when we are feeling overwhelmed, we just are not able to see the path that leads to the Rock because we are too focused on the problem and become blinded to way to get there. He knew he didn’t have the strength on his own to get to the Rock in that moment. Instead he cries out to God to lead him to the Rock.
Making overwhelming moments victorious moments
Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, depressed, fatigued, afraid, uncertain, worried, or have anxiety, we have a Rock that is higher than us. A strong fortress in which we can hide. We have the arms of our Savior waiting to embrace us, strengthen us, love us, encourage us and give us just what we need for one more step forward. When we run to the Rock, take time out to abide there. Spend time in His presence. We can find both strength and security for all of life’s overwhelming moments. So when you are feeling overwhelmed, follow David’s example and ask God to lead you to the rock that is higher than you. When we do, our moments of feeling overwhelmed can become a greatest victories.
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce
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