Why do our compulsions exhaust us? The core problem which drives our compulsions is our struggle to deal with three exaggerated emotions—fear, shame, and guilt.
We fear we won’t measure up. We fear we are not competent enough. We fear losing face. We fear being compared to someone else. We fear we will miss out on something good and important. We fear we won’t be able to maintain the success we have enjoyed. We fear our kids won’t turn out the way we hoped.
And whatever our fear is, it becomes exaggerated to the point of fueling our compulsions to do more and more. Eventually, we find ourselves tired and burned out.
We live holding deep within us that we are not quite adequate. Something deep within us is defective. We believe God has accepted us in Christ. We embrace a righteousness that comes by faith. We believe it is all about grace, but deep within us is an inordinate level of shame—that we don’t have what it takes. So we are driven by our compulsion to prove to ourselves we are really o.k.
We have a belief system that speaks to our guilt. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. But we still act as if enough is never enough. We are addicted to thinking, and feeling that we have to do more.
The compulsion driving us is the demanding voice of false guilt. The truth is the demands of life never end. There is always more to do and a holy reason for doing more. However, exaggerated guilt means we cannot rest in what we have done even if it was enough.
In other words, the most important thing you bring to life is your transformed and transforming presence. What you are doing is not as important as who you are and who you are becoming.
If you resonated with more than three signs of burnout you may consider slowing down enough to reflect on how you got there.
The compulsions which have left you exhausted are fueled by exaggerated fear, shame, and guilt then ask God to give you an awareness of your soul. Be still and sit at the feet of Jesus so you may see what is happening deep within your soul.
Part 3 of this series on burnout will offer a couple of suggestions and next steps for renewal.