Reverend Howard-John Wesley

I Am Tired In My Soul!

Reverend Howard-John Wesley

Last week, I read an article in the Washington Post about a Virginia Pastor who announced that he was taking a four month sabbatical from the ministry due to burnout.

His words are and I quote “I am tired in my soul.”

“There’s not been a day in these past 11 years that I have not woken up and knew that there’s something I had to do for the church…” said Reverend Howard-John Wesley, Pastor of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.

Here you have a Pastor of a large church who has all the appearances of being successful. Yet, he’s burned out and needs to take a multiple month break.

Some people would say things like “Oh, he must not be called to the ministry. If he were truly called, he wouldn’t be burned out.” Or if you look at it from the personal development crowd, some might say “He must not love what he does. For if you love what you do and do what you love, you never work a day in your life.”

Newsflash. You can be called to the ministry and still experience burnout. You can love what you do for a living and still experience burnout. According to the World Health Organization burnout is the result of unresolved stress.

Whether we are a Pastor, a Chief Executive Officer, a Teacher or a Truck Driver, each of us has been given a gift. We have been given the gift of 86,400.

So what is the gift of 86,400? 86,400 is how many seconds there are in a day. No matter what we do for a living, we all have the same 86,400 seconds to work with in a day.

We don’t own these seconds though. At any point, we can stop breathing and our 86,400 seconds comes to an end. However, we are stewards over the 86,400 seconds that have been allotted to us. As stewards, it is our responsibility to manage what we do with those seconds.

To combat his burnout, Pastor Wesley is changing how he spends his 86,400 seconds. Instead of being on call to the church, he’s only going to be on call to his teenage sons.

Instead of reading the Bible to prepare a sermon he is only going to read the Bible for his own personal edification.

Instead of attending four worship services every Sunday, he is only going to attend one worship service every Sunday.

By changing how he stewards his 86,400 seconds, that is his plan for combating burnout.

I think it’s a good plan. I’m happy for him that he came to this realization and he is doing something about it. As a new Minister myself, what I actually want to do is position myself so that I don’t ever experience overwhelming burnout at the level that he is experiencing.

So if Pastor Wesley’s plan to change the way he spends his 86,400 seconds is a good plan, isn’t it reasonable to conclude that we can make changes to the way we spend our 86,400 seconds? This way we don’t ever have to get to that point of overwhelming burnout?

I think that is a reasonable conclusion. 

So the first area that we will focus on here at The10Talents is being stewards over our time. How do we manage our time in such a way that we can get done the things that we need to get done? That we can enjoy ourselves while doing it? That we can avoid or at least limit overwhelming burnout experiences?

Stay tuned to learn more.

Roosevelt Cooper –

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