I’d like to share a small section of Wayne Cordeiro’s book Leading on Empty with you. It impacted me. It’s lengthy, but worth it. Here’s what he writes:
Nearing the time of a possible second burnout, I had a poignant dream of a man and his family who ran a small farm. In this dream, people were buying various products: one bought a gallon of milk, another ripe tomatoes, another cheese, others eggs or corn. A lady came and asked for something they didn’t have, but the farmer simply said, “Come back tomorrow, and I’ll have more.” The irate woman gave the farmer a sour look, but it didn’t bother him. He just went back to work. That was how it was on the farm. The chickens can lay only so many eggs a day, cows have just so much fresh milk, and a few more tomatoes will ripen tomorrow. Yet people still came, standing in line for the products, buying up everything until the farmer sold out for the day. This happened every day because this particular farm’s goods were the freshest and finest anywhere. And when they ran out (as they inevitably did), the farmer would say, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll have more.” I woke up from that dream with a new view of life and ministry. I don’t have to tie myself to an imaginary, unrelenting cycle to produce more, make more, or try to outdo last weeks’ numbers. I have just so much time in the day, and I want to do what I can with all my heart involved. When the clock runs out, then I say, “Come back tomorrow, and I’ll have more.”All I have to say is wow. That makes so much sense to me. I give way too much of myself to others because I feel some sort of ridiculous responsibility to help the world and every marriage in it. While I certainly believe God has called me to walk such a journey, I can only do so much. I am only one woman. And at the end of the day, if there is a toss up between ministry getting the best of me or my family getting the best of me, my family will always win. Always. I highly encourage you to read this book. We’ll all experience burnout at some point in our life. This book will help you before that happens. It might even prevent it.