Burnout is an intimidating word. Most pastors think they hold an "Exempt Card"
that makes them impervious to the experience of burnout. Too often, the surprise and resulting shame from burnout leaves the resulting ashes buried deep within the psyche and soul of the victims. The truth is that pastors who tend to be "people pleasers" are very vulnerable to the wiles of burnout and often tend to cover the symptoms with some type of self medication.
Perry Noble ( a well known pastor to thousands) recently fell prey to the impact of burnout and has modeled renewed healing and openness about its cynical and destructive results. He said in a recent interview with Carey Nieuwhof, "Leaders develop really unhealthy patterns and we call it leadership."
As a result of recent reading, listening to pastors/leaders and my own personal experience over forty years ago, I made the following compilation of some warning signs:
1. I could perform for an event then felt so drained I could not function the rest of the day.
2. Sleep did not refresh me for ministry. I awakened tired or at least easily tired.
3. I became humorless and no longer laughed freely.
4. I had a low level of patience and a quick anger over minutiae.
5. I had less energy and was less productive than previously.
6. People frustrated me and dealing with their issues left me drained.
7. My optimism turned to pessimism.
While this is not a scientific nor a complete list, I would suggest that if you see yourself in the mirror of these simple sentences that you begin to look for a spiritual companion to help you. You are not alone in this journey. The worst choice is to isolate yourself from others who could be a resource for you.