leader burnout


How do we know if we’re on the way to burnout? Ministry to Parents asked Tim and Tasha Levert, from Broom Tree Counseling, to share their wisdom and they identified one contributing factor: hurry. We hope “Hurry Hurts: A Look at the Relationship between Hurry and Burnout” reveals the power of rest, which is a real possibility with the COVID-19 Quarantine. 

Hurry Hurts: A Look at the Relationship Between Hurry and Burnout

An exhausted and close-to-burn-out, John Ortberg asked Dallas Willard to name one thing that could revive his soul. Willard looked Ortberg in the eyes and said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life, for hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our world today.”

Ann Voskamp echoed Willard’s words when she wrote, “The hurry makes us hurt,” in her book, One Thousand Gifts.

Willard and Voskamp are right; hurry is our enemy, and hurry hurts.

Hurry hurts our soul.

Hurry hurts our body.

Hurry hurts our mind.

Hurry hurts our relationships.

Hurry hurts our dreams.

Hurry hurts our ministry.

Hurry hurts.

I crave the hurry. Too often I confuse busyness with worth as I jam-pack ordained moments with guilt-driven yeses, social media dives, and designer coffee hoping to build a life that matters. Comparison, fear, and caffeine are my motivators. This pushing and striving serves me well as it provides a path for me to exchange stillness for a sense of list-checking-accomplishment, boasting, “I got so much accomplished today!” 

Hurry betrays us every time. Hurry is the alarm that interrupts our rest. Hurry is the thief that steals our joy. Hurry is the distraction that hides our purpose. Hurry is the accuser that shames us for “having no life” when schedules are light. Hurry is the clanging gong that drowns out the message of our ministries. Hurry is the enemy.

We were not created for hurry, and the people we serve aren’t built for it either. We were created to be still with the One who creates. God never calls us to race around in a hurried mess, yet we sprint toward an ever-shifting finish line hoping to find worth. We convince ourselves that if we just keep moving, just keep striving, the machine of ministry will grind kinder and lighter . . . but Sunday’s comin’, so we pick up the pace.

Hurry does not have to be our choice. God chose to rest on the seventh day. Jesus chose to be still in the wilderness, and neither God nor Jesus felt guilty for doing so!

“Be still” is God’s holy whisper throughout Scripture. When we choose to be still with God, healing from the hurry happens and restoration continues.

Where is stillness in ministry? Where is Sabbath on Sunday? It’s everywhere. Rejecting hurry and embracing stillness happens when a quiet moment with the Father is chosen. Revival breaks the back of burn-out when:

A song is sung.

A prayer is said.

A boundary is set.

A dream is chased.

A letter is written.

A book is read.

A voice is heard.

A wound is healed.

A life is valued.

A smile is given.

A day is made.

A cheek is kissed.

A game is played.

A nap is taken.

A breath is exhaled.

A soul is rested.

The hurry makes us hurt. Stillness brings healing.

Hurry is the great enemy. Rest, sweet rest, is our trusted friend.

Today, I will listen to the longings of my soul and choose to be still. What about you? Are you ready to take a break from busyness? How will you choose stillness today?


Tim and Tasha Levert (pronounced “love air”) have been married for over 25 years. Tim has his PhD in adolescent spiritual formation, and Tasha has her PhD in marriage and family counseling. Tim is currently the High School Pastor at Hope Community Church in Apex, NC. Tasha is a licensed professional counselor, and is in private practice where she provides face-to-face and online counseling at Broom Tree Counseling. Tim and Tasha are speakers, worship leaders, and authors, but most of all they enjoy hanging out with their three beautiful daughters and grumpy schnauzer named Tabasco.


Another post on our Burnout Series:

How to Prevent, Treat, and Recover from Ministry Burnout

Other posts on Care for the Soul:

How to Care for Your Wounds and Hurts in Ministry

How to Set Boundaries in Ministry

6 Ways to Care for Yourself While Caring for Others


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