It seems to me that many leaders are very tired a good deal of the time and, unfortunately, staring into the face of potential burnout. Hardly a month goes by in which a leader I know or coach is on the cusp of burnout. This is a pandemic that doesn’t get enough press time as Covid 19 does.
A number of years ago, I heard a well-known pastor say that most of the people he knew were overwhelmed and over-committed. I’m afraid things have not improved since he said that, but rather have become worse.
There are a myriad of causes for this, but one of them is the inability or unwillingness to create healthy boundaries.
The well-known and well-respected author and counselor Henry Cloud wrote two books on the subject of boundaries:
I have read, studied and found them both to be very insightful and helpful.
I recently memorized a verse dealing with boundaries:
“We will not boast about things done outside our area of authority. We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the work God has given us, which includes our working with you. We are not reaching beyond these boundaries.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:13,14 NLT
I see several things in this simple and straightforward passage:
- The Lord gives people/leaders spiritual authority and oversight over certain areas of work
- The Lord wants us to create boundaries to protect us from overreach
- These boundaries can be set with gifts, calling, vision and capacity in mind.
- We would do well to stay within those God-given areas of authority and the boundaries of the work assigned to us and not reach beyond them.
- When we decide to include something or someone we, by default, exclude something or someone. This is the very essence of establishing boundaries. We can’t be everywhere, do everything and please everyone.
We need to prayerfully and carefully establish boundaries over different areas of life/work/family in order to prevent bone-tiredness and burnout.
Here are a few areas which come to mind for me:
- Time with Jesus
- Our God-given ministry assignment—our calling/vocation
I need to keep learning how to say “no” to a lot of things so I can say “yes” to a few things.
I need to keep learning how to say yes to less.
I need to keep learning how to set appropriate boundaries over the important areas of my life.