In case you haven’t had the “pleasure” of experiencing burnout, imagine getting run over by a truck, but still having to get up to go to school or work. It’s a kind of exhaustion that makes it seem as though you are only a body, wandering around incapable of any kind of thought or personality.

Burnout contains elements of exhaustion, depression, and anxiety, all wrapped up in a special mixture for you to endure. How does it happen? Two ways.

First, burnout happens when we overload our schedules and don’t take time for rest. Even Jesus recognized the potential for burnout during busy times of ministry. In Mark 6:31 Jesus tells His disciples, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Your mind and body can only take so much before it collapses. Watch for when you need to take a rest and/or simplify your schedule.

The second, and often ignored, way burnout occurs is when we have nothing to do. When God created Adam He didn’t just leave him to wander listlessly around Eden. The Bible says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15, ESV). People require purpose. When we don’t feel useful it leads to depression and diminished feelings of self-worth.

In such times we need to seek out ways to prayerfully serve others. Check with your parents, pastor, or working friends to see what opportunities they might know of for you to get involved.