Answers to job burnout

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

Are you tired of your job? You're not alone. Whether it's the day-to-day endeavor of confronting challenges or a lack of stimulating activity, staying employed and maintaining a constructive attitude can be difficult.

Sometimes finding new employment or changing to fresh duties within the same company helps. Other times, even that isn't enough. In today's economy, with talk of recession and job contraction, those shifts might not even be possible.

So what can we do if job burnout seems imminent? We can begin by turning to God, who gives us the spiritual qualities needed to succeed and the opportunities to use them. Determination, patience, and gratitude are part of our permanent God-derived identities, and we can expect to manifest these qualities every day.

The Bible records that even Moses struggled with this issue. He spent 40 years getting a large and sometimes querulous group across the desert toward the Promised Land. The Bible indicates that he wearied of his responsibilities on more than one occasion. However, as he prayed to sustain his effort and as he strengthened his faith in God, he found the answers he needed to keep moving forward.

At one point, Moses' strength was called into question. During an important battle he stood at the top of a hill with his hands raised in the air. When his hands were up, the Hebrews prevailed. When his hands went down, they wavered.

Moses felt accountable for the group's success, yet he lacked the stamina to hold his arms up hour after hour. Even the best job training couldn't have prepared him for this difficulty. But just when he most needed an innovative idea about how to resolve this challenge, Moses got the divine support he needed through the help of Aaron and Hur, who held up his hands. And his people won the battle (see Ex. 17:8-16).

Later, when crowds lined up to speak to Moses to get his guidance regarding their problems, he again faced what could be seen as job burnout. This time it seemed that his leadership skills couldn't stretch far enough to help all those who were leaning on him.

Again, God provided a solution. Moses selected a group of men to assist him, individuals of integrity who also understood that God's word was law. Through this job-sharing process, they settled the important questions the people had (see Ex. 18:13-26).

Moses found that there was more to staying productive than just hanging in there. As the Hebrews continued on their journey to the Promised Land, he discovered the value of divinely inspired innovation that came as the result of prayer. The Bible says that God "spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend" (Ex. 33:11).

Centuries later, Mary Baker Eddy also found that it took a tremendous amount of vigor and organization to start this newspaper, to write and revise her major work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and to found a church. She prayed often and endeavored to let Jesus' unflagging example lead her.

She stated that it's our reliance on Spirit, God, that enables us to live productive and expansive lives. We can do more and do it better when we have love as our basis for action. She wrote, "Human reason becomes tired and calls for rest…. Goodness and benevolence never tire. They maintain themselves and others and never stop from exhaustion" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 165).

If you tire of your work and thoughts of job burnout come your way, you can refuse to let them influence you. Instead, let divine Love lead you. This will enable you to maintain your sincere desire to help others. It will reveal the practical and creative answers God has for each of us. These will open the door to meaningful employment.

Come unto me, all ye
that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

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