Paul Matsushima

Finding Peace in the Midst of Burnout

By Paul Matsushima | Published on July 26, 2022

When I was in seminary and pastoral ministry in my mid-twenties, I was burnt out. The mismatching of my pastoral role doing community outreach and building local partnerships with my lack of job experience and personality as an introvert led to feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

This article was originally written for the Faith.Work.Leadership newsletter of Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership.

When I was in seminary and pastoral ministry in my mid-twenties, I was burnt out. The mismatching of my pastoral role doing community outreach and building local partnerships with my lack of job experience and personality as an introvert led to feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. As the to-dos and relational complexities piled up, so did the belief that I was a failure, which only exacerbated my burnout.

At the time, people’s encouragements to unplug, rest, or go running didn’t work. Those platitudes only added more “shoulds” or “musts” onto my already overstuffed plate. And it made me feel even more guilty for not taking proper care of myself.

What did help was hearing other people’s stories of burnout and struggle. One such story was Barbara Brown Taylor’s, in her book, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith. In it, she says, “The call to serve God is first and foremost the call to be fully human…that my humanity was God’s chief gift to me…It means worrying less about being perfect and being concerned more with being authentic or real with other people…The holiest thing I could be was the flawed human being God had made me to be.”

For me, burnout was not just about being over-worked and under-resourced. Burnout was connected to my value as a human being. And by hearing Barbara’s words–that one of God’s greatest gifts to me is my humanity, to be the flawed human being God made me to be–was the beginnings towards finding not only rest, but peace.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.