Today I feel to write on this very important topic. Actually, I have not even thought of or used this word for many years since experiencing a few times of unimaginable hardship. So if you are experiencing relentless pressure, hardship or trauma, there is always someone else in a boat next to you (with the same or similar) it's just that you can't see them for the fog.
Being compassionate in nature, I have also experienced 'burn-out' from excessive exposure to people's problems when I got through those difficult years and have been restored by Jesus. The burn-out state is where you become physically exhausted from too much pressure (overload). So in this post I will help those who have burdens and those who are affected by someone else's.
During that time, which can last from a few months to a few years, you cannot experience pressure of any kind - especially in communications - so people's problems of any kind are off limits. Also, when I experienced this, I could not feel emotion of any kind. That is disturbing and distressing. No joy or happiness, no inclination to help anyone, no feeling in prayer - you cannot express your love and praise to God or sense His Grace and Love.
Many people have left the ministry, counseling and psychology after burn-out and very few can return to those vocations - they are advised not to or affected permanently in some way. And if you attempt to do so too early (before the healing process is complete or you have not had sufficient respite) it can come back. I have to be careful of that because I have had two re-occurrences. I know what to watch for, what I can handle and what I should not attempt, after that, I can assure you!
When is Enough, Enough?
I will address those who are weighed down with other people's problems first because I have to write the negative about that to help some of you. Then I will address those with traumas or relentless situations, so I can leave your thoughts on the positive. Is that OK with you? By the way, some of you who are experiencing traumas are better skipping this part of my post because you may take something to heart that could upset you.
I can assure you that none of this is meant for you to take personally.
You will find part of my story in the previous post. A New Year - Word of Wisdom.
What I did not say there is I had one friend who was wanting her elderly husband to die because she did not have the courage to place him in a nursing home. She thought she was being kind but always verbalizing her discontents. Every so often she would say to me "I don't know why God has'nt taken him and what He wants of me".
The answer was obvious. She would not hear it and somehow preferred to complain to me, over and over again.
I had another friend in an unhappy marriage and missing her family overseas terribly. Almost every time I saw her she would say things like "No-one knows how I feel, no-one can help me.....the government does'nt care if we get a house or not....... believe it or not something else happened and I'm so upset.....my husband does'nt care and the kids won't help me......I'm going crazy......the government worker made me sick". And she was always getting more of what she spoke into her life by confessing these things all the time. A few times she said she wanted to take her life. At the same time, I had a good friend with a serious condition who was battling for his life and almost died 3 times but would not give up cigarettes that was the cause of the problem.
With the exception of the 3rd friend, these friends made known their problems to me repeatedly as if they had not told me before and allowed me no mercy. It was maddening. They knew I was a compassionate person and took advantage of it to the best of their ability. That is the only way I can explain it. They seemed to get some relief for the moment but needed another fix when next I was available. Really, although they asked for my advice "what can I do?" they never appreciated it.
Something else you must remember is this: by listening too often to someone's problems, you can be helping them dig a grave for themselves (so to speak). In other words, making matters worse because the more they tell you, the more negative they get entrenched and this can impact you if you're not careful.
There was an answer to the marriage situation too but neither spouse would make the first step - they expected the other one to. Then their kids would be happier too and the house situation would be less stressful with love in the family - they both kept directing what love they had to their kids. That is a form of avoidance and is actually not healthy for children. Remember, they are sensitive and smarter than you may realize. Instead, draw on God's strength, fill yourself up with all His Love you can take and share that with each-other. That way you provide a covering for your children instead of signals of insecurity. They will thank you for that when they grow up.
So often for many of us, people with problems show no mercy (unintentionally most times) they are not happy unless they get you down. In fact, just recently when I visited a friend who likes the way I cheer her up, insisted on making me suffer with her and got very unhappy with me - she acted terribly and it took 4 days to shake it off.
Some people act very poorly when under pressure. She was determined to make me feel guilty for being happy.
Many people have a false sense of security when they have a listening ear, so the more the better. But wait a minute, are they better for confiding in you last time or the time before that? Be careful when people share their problems that you don't end up sharing them with them. In other words, their load becomes your load. Some people don't know when enough is enough.
When it comes to friends, so often we think "what will they do without my help, atleast I can give a listening ear. It brings them some relief. This is getting stressful but how will they cope if I don't?" Friend, as long as God is around, you are not indispensible. He is there for everyone 24 hours a day and most people make Him a last resort as long as you're there for them every time. Learn how to direct them to Him by having your own personal acquaintance with Him. Truly that is the best kindness you can show anyone.
What can I do with this Burden?
I'm glad you asked. Just recently, I was conversing over the phone with a lovely Christian friend, she changed the topic and said I just had a word for you (from The Lord) "We are not supposed to carry our burdens, Jesus is our burden-bearer". 30 minutes after that conversation I had an alarming phone call.
In the natural, it would seem that He had rejected my prayers of faith and was facing me with a situation instead. Acting on that word, I chose to trust Him and things turned around to praise and thanksgiving.
He says to us all "I am your burden-bearer" because David and others have proved Him as such time and time again and Jesus Himself invites us to "Come to Me for I am gentle and lowly and you will find Rest for your souls". Notice He said Come to Me? That is where we find our REST my friend, in the Arms of Jesus or sitting at His feet.
He continues to say in that verse "for My yoke is easy and My burden is light".
To do this sometimes, you need to remember to "trust Him with all your heart and not to rely on your own understanding". I don't say I'm perfect at this but that's what I did in that situation when I think about it and other situations in recent years. Don't try to work it out - let it rest with Him and in doing that, you will find rest. Don't take it back when you've finished your prayer time and say "I must worry about this some more" because in effect, that's what we often do, is'nt it? For more encouragement like this please go to
Worry and Anxiety, Find Answers in these Scriptures!