For Those Who Have Experienced Burnout or Breakdown

I have heard those who know nothing about burnout or breakdown criticize those who have been through it. They have all the answers (so they think). The “spiritual” are especially critical and want to cast the first stone, accusing you of some sin(s) that brought you to this point. I would like to share some of my experience with burnout and breakdown and give some of what helped me. This is not a diagnosis or prescription for everyone across the board, but maybe you can identify.


 • Bad boundaries. I was quick to do everything that someone asked of me. I did not use the word “no”. After taking on multiple projects that were outside of my gifting or time allowance, I found myself in a bad place.

 • Bad motivation. First Corinthians 13 says that what we do should be motivated by love. Duty was my motivation. Because I did these things out of a feeling of obligation, I had no joy in doing things. When you lack joy, you burn out.

 • Bad focus. Colossians 3:23 says we should do things as if we were doing them for the Lord. I was doing things to please me or someone else. The Lord had nothing to do with it. 


 • Quality time with Jesus. This involves being still and just listening. Sometimes you’re moved to praise Him. The key is enjoying His presence. 

 • Prioritize your overall health. That is physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Eat right and exercise. Do things that bring you joy and weed out negativity as much as possible. And do not neglect prayer, Bible study, and time with other believers. 

When I hit the brick wall in 2012, I was pushing myself too hard. So much of my life was driven by obligation that I missed the joys of life. If you see yourself heading this way, these things may help. It’s better to address it now rather than later. It’s worth it!

Author: Matthew Winters (The Comeback Pastor)

Born and raised in Portsmouth, VA, I eventually landed in upstate SC because when God calls I move. I gave my life to Christ in 1987 and surrendered to the call to ministry in 1997. I am a three-time graduate from Liberty University and Theological Seminary: BS in Religion (2003), the MA in Religion (Leadership concentration - 2006), and the Master of Divinity (Pastoral Ministries - 2013). I have served as a worship leader and senior pastor in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia since 1996. After experiencing a divorce, God graciously gave me my wife, Jennifer, whom I married in September 2015. Between the two of us, we have 6 children. I am the Lead/Founding Pastor of Overcomers Church in Walhalla, SC, a church plant that is helping those who have been overcome by life to become Overcomers in Christ. Jennifer and I both love people and long to see them enter into a relationship with Christ and walk in the power of His Spirit. I pray that these thoughts I share will challenge and inspire you to greater heights and deeper depths for the glory of Christ.

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