"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I was helped; therefore my heart rejoices, and with my song I will thank Him" (Ps. 28:7).
If you are in ministry long enough, there will come a time when you'll feel overwhelmed, overworked or just plain exhausted. All of us have probably been there at one point or another—burned out. In a perfect situation you take a season off from some things to rest and be restored, but what if you're not in a position to be able to do that?
As worship leaders, we often have to find a way to work through the burnout without stepping away from our position. So how do we do this? I believe one main way that God designed for us to combat burnout is through what we do best—worship!
You may be thinking, "What? You want me to do the very thing that is causing me to get burned out?" Yes, but in order to be refreshed and restored we need to approach our worship differently. Here are a few ways to worship your way through burnout.
Return to the First Love
It's easy to get so caught up in the technicalities and performance aspects of leading a worship ministry that we can forget what it was that caused us to fall in love with worshipping to begin with. Now is a good time to just soak in His presence. Don't feel as though you have to be practicing or producing something every time you are worshipping or listening to music.
Think back to when you worshipped God because you just loved Him so much and couldn't wait to be in His presence. What types of feelings did you have then? Choose to remember those feelings whenever you sense the pressure and things get overwhelming.
"One thing I have asked from the Lord, that will I seek after—for me to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to see the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple" (Ps. 27:4).
Use Worship as a Tool
Sometimes the cause of our burnout can be a spiritual battle that we have been facing for a long time. Are there long-term stressors that have been wearing you down? If you have not tried it already, consider using worship as a tool to war against the enemy. God has given each of us the tools we need to be able to fight in the Spirit and contend for our faith. It should come as no surprise that as worshippers, we have been armed with what we do best!
"At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves ... So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped" (2 Chr. 20:22, 24, NLT).
Worship can be a very powerful weapon that can slice right through what the devil is planning, scheming and actively doing to try to take you out. The last thing he wants you to realize is how lethal your voice, your music and your worship are to him and his plans. Find or create music to tear down his strongholds and in the process, you will feel that burnout fade away.
"Blessed be the Lord my strength, who prepares my hands for war, and my fingers to fight" (Ps. 144:1, MEV).
Pass the Baton
One of the greatest things we can do as leaders is to enable others under us and give them the authority to step up in their gifts and calling. What better time to do this than when you need to take a bit of a break, even if it is just for one service? And while you do this, resist the urge to critique the worship you sit under—there will always be time for proper instruction and training later—but allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you through the worship of other people, even if they aren't doing it in the same style or to the same standard that you do.
"Share the things that you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses with faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2).
The enemy will always try to come in and mess up our lives, but we are instructed in the Word of God to raise up a standard against him. So when you feel him pressing in on your life, take up your instrument, lift up your voice and worship your way to victory!
Cathy Sanders has been involved with music for over 27 years. She is an anointed worship leader and psalmist who regularly leads worship for community and church events. She has produced three albums, and her music was played on the radio for over six years in the Northeast. She is also a prolific writer who has authored/co-authored five books. Cathy carries master's and doctorate degrees in Christian education. Cathy and her husband, Andy, reside in New York with their two teenage children.
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