How to Overcome Burnout

Joshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers—all Levites—joined together in supervising those working on the house of God….And all the people gave a great should of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

Ezra 3:9, 11b

Have you been overwhelmed? Burnt out?  Tired of being tired?

For me, I find myself in that state during the holidays. For those who work in nonprofits, Christmas is a busy season: fundraising before the calendar year closes, hosting extra parties, feeling compassion fatigue from the extra needs from clients during chilly weather and chilly relationships.

I remember one particularly crispy burned-out season. Yet again, I was tired, agitated, and emotional beyond what was “normal.” It’s the sign that I once again reached burnout. It was Thanksgiving, and all I could do was lie on the bed. And, to boot, I was on a mission trip. I couldn’t get out of bed. How embarrassing for a Christian not to serve on a day aimed to remind us of what we have to be thankful for!

That day, the last time I acknowledged my burnout, was also the turning point on my understanding of my calling. When someone phones-a-friend, and that friend is me, I have no problem saying “sure” in the attitude of servanthood. I had said “sure” to so many things that I was involved in nine different organizations, all doing amazing things and reaching for their missions. How can something so great make you so tired?

While I read today’s passage, Ezra struck me because he could have been burned out and tired before the end of chapter one! Rebuilding the temple is a big job and God handed it to the right person. But God didn’t hand it just to Ezra; He handed it to the Israelites.

Ezra shows us by example how to overcome burnout:

  • He had the backup of leadership (Cyrus)
  • He allowed people to self-select and opt-in on their own
  • He put supervisors into place and made sure they were of one mind and tribe—that they had a singular mission
  • He celebrated the bench marks along the way

Ezra inspires me to empower those on the team already, and to help find new volunteers who are excited to grow.

Burnout is real. That Thanksgiving so many years ago started me on a journey of understanding calling, burnout, and my mission better. I want to offer you two options to help you on your own journey:

  1. Read Burnout by Brad Hambrick. This short book is one of the few books in my life I’ve read more than once.
  2. Discover Your Why (or re-define your why) through a one-hour FREE webinar on January 7 at 5:30 pm PT. It will be a great way to kick off the new year and light your candle for the mission(s) you love.

In the meantime, who is on your team that can lighten the load by growing under your leadership? How will you celebrate the work you do together? Share it on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks: https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this blog post. Some of the links above are “affiliate links.” If you use this link, I receive a small affiliate commission. I recommend books, products, or services that I have enjoyed using and believe you will benefit from as well. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Who Do You Follow?

Author notes: This is a repost from earlier this year. It reminded me of a short fictional story I wrote and thought I would share with you, based on John 7:32-49. Enjoy!
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He stood up. Oh no, I thought, this is going to be a disaster.

A Christmas Eve service is my favorite moment during the Christmas season. It’s the one time that it feels like Christ’s birth is recognized before I am once again covered in consumerism. The feeling is like being wrapped with a hastily bought pre-made bow meant to rouse the receiver to believing a greater value of a re-gift. In other words, the season, apart from the Christmas Eve service, feels like smoke-and-mirrors to me: a bad white elephant gift.

So when the man stood up in the middle of the calm, candle-lit serenade of “Silent Night,” I feared the Christmas magic of a treasured memory would vaporize into another smoke-and-mirrors illusion.

He was the rebel. We all knew it. My small group leader whispered to me earlier that he was from the south side. Someone else asked during last week’s prayer session that we pray for him because she thought he was possessed. I can’t blame them in that assumption. After all, he was socially uncouth, loud, and almost heretical in the claims he randomly declared “truths.” I had not verbalized my own concerns—that he was here to stay in our small congregation, showing up each week with a new odd question that would take too long to answer during Sunday School, veering us from the carefully crafted lesson plan.

When I saw him at the Christmas Eve service, I guided my family to the other side of the sanctuary. No one was going to destroy this one moment. I deserved a holy night.

He stood up. And loudly, over the sound of the piano, bright as the candle that was dripping wax on my cardboard protector, yelled, “I am the light of the world!”

The piano stopped. We all looked at the far corner. We looked at his face that wasn’t anything like the others around us. We looked at his unkempt manners, at his rebellion. We looked. And we stared.

He stood up, interrupted our Christmas Eve service, and now commanded that we acknowledge him as the light of the world. How dare he.

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This fictional scene draws parallel to John 7:32-49. The Scripture tells us Jesus was at the Feast of Tabernacles. Each year, around October, the Jewish community gathered to watch the priest pour water on the altar, while the people chanted a prayer for God to send rains for the winter harvest. On the last day—“the greatest day”—the people walked around the temple seven times (like Jericho). It is this day that “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him’” (John 7:37-38). It would be similar to someone standing up in the middle of “Silent Night” at a Christmas Eve service and proclaim themselves as the light of the world. Which, in fact, Jesus did in John 8:12. He declared himself as light of the world.

Meanwhile, “the Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him” (John 7:32) and were determining how to kick Jesus out of their club. Their conspiracies and overheard mumblings occurs before and after the feast.

And all the while, I wonder, how would I respond to such a rebel? If someone were to go against my traditions that were part of my religious routines, would I lay down those habits and follow his example, or would I shush him and ask him to sit? Am I a Pharisee or a Follower? When have I stood up?

I follow a rebel. Do you? Share your thoughts on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

How Should a Nonprofit Engage in Marketing?

When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all that region.

Matthew 9:23-26

I shared with my friend about a nonprofit called Embrace Washington doing a lot of good for children in foster care. She immediately said, “Oh wow! That’s cool what they are doing, how can I get involved?” I was spreading the word just by being excited about this nonprofit’s programming and the outcomes they created.

Embrace Washington has real impact, and my excitement is enough to encourage others to get involved. I realized in that moment that the nonprofit had an excellent program and I had become a marketer on behalf of the organization.

If you work at a nonprofit, do you shudder when someone says, “marketing?” That word can bring up suspicious feelings. Some may think marketing as being untruthful by “putting spin” on a situation. They might remember someone yammering on about a nonprofit in a self-promoting way. Others remember an event that doesn’t hold substance and has 20 solicitations for money. In addition, some nonprofits tend to not employ marketers or consider their marketing plan as integral for them to reach their mission.

However, marketing is necessary and it can be done with integrity. Think of it this way: Marketing is influence (Kay & Shi). John Maxwell teaches that leadership is influence. Therefore, it is possible to view good marketing as good leadership. A bad leader (influencer) is memorable, and so is bad marketing (influence). Those that influence have an obligation to pursue their mission with consistency in all things at all times. If that seems overwhelming, think about how you talk about nonprofits you care about and how you keep on message about the mission. Staying focused on a positive message is good influence and good marketing.

How is it possible to be a good leader and a good marketer? The Bible shows how Jesus “marketed” the ministry in three steps:

  1. Jesus saw that the situation at hand as positive. Good marketing reveals the vision and mission at every turn.
  2. Jesus stayed on mission. He did what He was sent to do, no matter if people laughed at Him or not.
  3. Jesus continued the work. When your nonprofit has programs of excellence and a track record of consistent outcomes and real change in people’s lives, people notice. Good leadership and solid programing produce excellent marketing.

In the end, the best marketing is your strategic plan of how you will be a positive influence. If you continue to be a nonprofit on a mission, then you will have stellar programs with worthy leaders. Word will spread fast—and that is marketing at its finest.

How have you seen a nonprofit stay on mission and that became what everyone was talking about? Share it on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks. https://www.facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Three Questions to Define Your Passion

So my mouth was opened and I was no longer silent.

Ezekiel 33:22b

During a worship service, each member of the worship team gave their life verse and why they chose it. One woman clearly had a calling. She repeated Proverbs 31:8 which says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Her passion was to use her voice (and boy could she use it to sing!) Before she belted out an old hymn, she said, “Don’t be silent.”

That moment happened eight years ago. I don’t remember what others said, but I remember her because it was clear she could no longer be silent about her passion. It came from depths unknown and was so pure. Her song resonated with me, and started me on the journey to find my own passion.

When you see passion in someone else, it’s obvious and clear as a bird singing in the morning. It cuts through the other noise. How do you know when you’ve found your passion and your voice?

Think through these three questions to define your passion:

  1. When was the last time that you noticed your heart was beating fast because you knew you had to say something or do something? If you can’t remember, be on the lookout for the next time you just can’t stay silent.
  2. When was the last time that you heard someone speak and it stuck with you for years? We hear so much content and voices these days that when you remember a specific example, it’s worth paying attention to. In Becoming a Person of Influence, John Maxwell shares that “most people can recall only 50 percent of what they hear immediately after hearing it. And as time passes, their ability to remember continues to drop. By the next day, their retention is usually down to about 25 percent.” What you remember is critical to…well…remember.
  3. What have you heard in the silence? Sometimes it’s not what you hear, but what you don’t hear. Through prayer, you’ll be able to find the gap. Find where there is a place for you to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8).

When you have found your voice, you are responsible to use it well. When God opens your mouth, don’t be silent. Share your passion and use it to do good in the world for His name’s sake.

What is your passion? Share it on Facebook: facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks

As we head into the new year, it’s a great time to massage your passion by Discovering Your Why. Join me for a one-hour webinar on January 7 at 5:30 pm PT. Learn more and register here.

Photo by Amy Tran on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

How to be the Smartest Person in the Room

Caption: Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly….When Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. Then Esther summoned Hathach, one of the kings’ eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.

Esther 4:1, 4-5

Being the new person on the team is hard and uncomfortable. You don’t know the “norms” and what is acceptable. You want to appear to be smart and successful, so you may choose to cover embarrassing characteristics or history.

I’m experiencing that again as I join a new team. I was listening to a webinar from Dr. Ivan Misner, who said, “If you’re ‘always’ the most successful person in a room – you’re hanging out in the wrong rooms!” That convinced me I am in the “right” room with this new team. Even in my short time on the team, I’ve already said embarrassing things that had people laugh nervously. I’ve already tried to cover up, when instead I needed a new perspective and a new tactic on how to discover the “norms” of this team.

This desire to cover up what could be embarrassing or unwanted is seen in the book of Esther. When Queen Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, heard that everyone from his religious background was to die as part of a genocide, he put on quite a show. Esther heard about it and sent him clothes. She wanted to hide what she thought was wrong.

And then when Mordecai refused, Esther did something very wise. She asked a question. Instead of continuing to push Mordecai to cover up, she upped her curiosity.

To deploy this wisdom and become the smartest and most successful person in the room, do these things:

  • Get into rooms and circles where you are not the most successful or smartest.
  • Resist the initial desire to cover up or ignore the undesirable. Be honest in who you are and what you bring to the group.
  • Most importantly, ask questions.

Here is the challenge that I pass along to you: Spend a full day asking questions only. It’s harder than it may seem, but the growth and understanding will be infinitely more valuable than proving you are the most successful and smartest in the room.

And after you’ve spent a day asking questions, come back and tell me how it went on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks.

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org