Have you ever been burnt out on something you love? Whether it’s an activity, hobby, or job, the knowledge that you’ve lost the passion for that special thing sucks. I recently had an encounter with this type of situation and it was a rough patch to go through.
I’m pretty heavily involved in my church and have been for a while now – today actually marks my 3 year serve-aversary. I started volunteering in our kids department and now I help lead the kids team at our second campus. Since that day 3 years ago, I’ve been at church nearly every Sunday in my volunteer shirt ready to invest in my group of kids.
While the level of consistency I’ve shown has many great qualities, doing anything for that long without pause always leads to trouble.
The beginning of this year had some rough spots for my personal life. In addition to that, school just started back and I work full-time. Combine all that with the general fatigue from serving so much for so long, and you get a volunteer near the breaking point.
The last Sunday in January wasn’t particularly bad, but something in me finally snapped. I just couldn’t do it anymore. Between our worship experiences, I talked to my church-boss and decided to take the month of February off. For the first time ever, I was going on a hiatus.
That break might have saved my volunteer “career”.
The next 4 weeks consisted of doing the bare minimum on Sundays and it was absolutely fantastic. That extra time gave me the opportunity to not only recharge my batteries but also to reflect on the state of life I’m in right now. This break was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Once my month of freedom ended, I had to decided what to do next. I’d like to say I instantly perked up at the idea of serving. But I had the thought “nope, I’m done. Never going back,” go through my mind once or twice. I ultimately decided to go back and served for the first time again today.
Honestly, this Sunday was one of the best in recent memory from a volunteering perspective. With my passion renewed, I actually enjoyed serving my role – it didn’t feel like a “have to” thing as much as a “get to”.
What made the experience even better was the people. The kids I work with every week, as well as the other volunteers I serve alongside, all seemed glad to see me again. Quite a few asked where I had been. That sense of community has always been one of my favorite things about serving and it definitely came out today. I don’t care for being the center of attention often, but knowing that so many missed me over my break really helped me make the decision to come back and to make it through today.
Like I said, I don’t know how much longer I could have served before burning out entirely, but I think the point of no return wasn’t too far away. And, sure, my passion for serving on our kids team can run high, but we all need a break at some point.
There’s nothing shameful about that need, either. We only have so much we can do before we snap. Maybe the best thing you can do for your passion is to take a break from it and come back later with a revitalized enthusiasm for it.