How to Avoid Pastoral Burnout

Ask Anna

When you’re zealous for God and eager to please Him in this great calling that He has placed on your life, that’s a wonderful thing. God delights in souls who sincerely care about pleasing Him. But while you’re learning how to juggle the many aspects of shepherding God’s flock, there’s one very important principle which you need to keep a hold of: you matter, too. It’s not just about the little lambs under your care. God didn’t call you into this role just to perpetually give and never receive.

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Relating to God: Recognizing the Trap of Symbolic Pain

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Humans are big on symbolism.  This means that much of what you do and say in life is an attempt to communicate messages that are quite unrelated to the things you’re actually doing and saying.  For example, when Holly hears her boyfriend Todd say he loves blondes, Holly goes out and bleaches her brown hair blonde.  She does this not because she wants to change her hair, but because she wants to keep a secure hold on Todd’s affection.  When she then asks him “Do you like my hair?” what’s she’s really asking is, “Have I gained more of your approval by adjusting myself to be a better match to your preferences?”  For Holly, dyeing her hair was a symbolic act that was meant to communicate to Todd how much his approval means to her and how much she wants him in her life. 

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Understanding the Love of God: The Five Versions of You

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Think about another human you know. In your relationship with that person, you actually have five identities which you are juggling. There’s who you think you are, there’s who you wish you could be, there’s who the other person thinks you are, there’s how you think the other person views you, and there’s who you actually are. This makes for one messy situation.

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The Parable of the Prodigal Son


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In Luke 15, we find Jesus’ famous Parable of the Prodigal Son.  This story is a favorite among Christians, but as is often the case with favorite Scripture passages, this parable is rarely taught in its original context.  Once we strip away context and start treating portions of Scripture as stand alone thoughts, we often start reading meanings into the text that the original author never meant.  This is certainly the case with the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and today you can find Christians squeezing all kinds of absurd lessons and promises out of this parable that aren’t at all valid.  You see, as magnificent as our glorious Lord is, He simply isn’t speaking to any of us in Scriptures. Instead, He’s speaking to folks who lived thousands of years before us—folks whose cultural values, customs, and priorities differed from our own.  Continue reading