17Twenty

E158 || Live Recording, Part 1 || Burnout and Overcoming Exhaustion (with Special Guest Wes Butler)

November 27, 2023 Season 4 Episode 42
E158 || Live Recording, Part 1 || Burnout and Overcoming Exhaustion (with Special Guest Wes Butler)
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17Twenty
E158 || Live Recording, Part 1 || Burnout and Overcoming Exhaustion (with Special Guest Wes Butler)
Nov 27, 2023 Season 4 Episode 42

Burnout and exhaustion are terms that most of us have become all too acquainted with, especially after the trials of 2020. We know the signs too well; irritability, sleeplessness, loss of vision - but do we know how to effectively address them? And more importantly, do we know when we need to pause and seek help? 

This episode is a candid exploration of these questions, with insights from our special guest, Wes Butler.  Together, we unpack the importance of self-awareness and holistic evaluation, using the metaphor of an EKG (Evaluate Everything, Kill What's Killing You, and Grow What's Good). We delve into the concept of 'vampire power' - those sneaky energy-drainers that lurk in our daily lives - and how identifying these is the stepping-stone to implementing necessary changes. 

But it's not all about the negatives. Wes shares how to grow what's good in our lives and find time for things that bring us joy and health.  And finally, we shed light on the often-overlooked spiritual dimension of burnout. We explore biblical principles of confession and repentance, illuminating how these can pave the path to healing and freedom.

Keep Moving Mountains!  

We'd love to hear from you! Send us a text message here!

|| Connect with Us ||

Check out all our episodes on all major streaming platforms, and further engagement with the 17Twenty crew on social media at:

https://17twenty.buzzsprout.com/
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https://www.instagram.com/17twentypodcast

Grab your copy of the Mountain Mover Manual: How to Live Intentionally, Lead with Purpose, and Achieve Your Greatest Potential, by Kevin Carey

Originally in print:
https://amzn.to/441OPeH

And now available on Audible:
https://adbl.co/45YIKB2

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Burnout and exhaustion are terms that most of us have become all too acquainted with, especially after the trials of 2020. We know the signs too well; irritability, sleeplessness, loss of vision - but do we know how to effectively address them? And more importantly, do we know when we need to pause and seek help? 

This episode is a candid exploration of these questions, with insights from our special guest, Wes Butler.  Together, we unpack the importance of self-awareness and holistic evaluation, using the metaphor of an EKG (Evaluate Everything, Kill What's Killing You, and Grow What's Good). We delve into the concept of 'vampire power' - those sneaky energy-drainers that lurk in our daily lives - and how identifying these is the stepping-stone to implementing necessary changes. 

But it's not all about the negatives. Wes shares how to grow what's good in our lives and find time for things that bring us joy and health.  And finally, we shed light on the often-overlooked spiritual dimension of burnout. We explore biblical principles of confession and repentance, illuminating how these can pave the path to healing and freedom.

Keep Moving Mountains!  

We'd love to hear from you! Send us a text message here!

|| Connect with Us ||

Check out all our episodes on all major streaming platforms, and further engagement with the 17Twenty crew on social media at:

https://17twenty.buzzsprout.com/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/17twenty
https://www.instagram.com/17twentypodcast

Grab your copy of the Mountain Mover Manual: How to Live Intentionally, Lead with Purpose, and Achieve Your Greatest Potential, by Kevin Carey

Originally in print:
https://amzn.to/441OPeH

And now available on Audible:
https://adbl.co/45YIKB2

Wes Butler:

There's this moment in Jesus' ministry where he's gathering with his guys who are basically, when you think about it, he's talking to 12 future pastors, right, 12 guys who are about to go into full-time ministry. And he's looking at them and he says, guys, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and he loses his soul?

Stewart Shurtleff:

Every single individual has a story to tell, and they're great stories that need to be heard.

Kevin Carey:

I want every listener to know they have the ability to change the world.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Welcome to the 1720 Podcast.

Kevin Carey:

What's up? Mountain movers. My name's Kevin. We have Wes here. That's our special guest for session one, and then we got Stuart Shirtlift.

Kevin Carey:

This is our first ever live recording of a podcast. We're 150 plus episodes deep at this point and this is a very unique opportunity for us. We want to thank the Ruiz family for having us, trinity Church and wherever Priscilla is. She's just an all-star at setting up these events. We're super thrilled to be here. And a little context on 1720, it comes from Matthew 1720, have faith to move mountains. So no better place than to have our first live recording inside God's house. So we're super excited about this. Just to give you a game plan of what we have in store, we have two sessions. We're gonna have a 30-ish minute session here, followed by some Q&A. We'll have a lunch break. We're gonna hear from Wes a little bit of testimony on burnout and exhaustion, and then session two we're gonna challenge you to look in the mirror and take some notes and try to leave here better than when you came in. That's the whole goal of our podcast. That's the whole goal of our mission and our purpose in life, and so, without further ado, let them take it off.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Well, yeah, before we do that though, I mean, kevin, you should probably intro yourself, unless we want to, unless you want me to do it, and then I'll give Wes an intro here, just just like who we are. Yeah, am I doing you? Yeah, okay, this is my buddy Kevin. We've known each other for a long time. In the middle of COVID we decided we'd start a podcast. That was a great idea and we've been doing it for a while. Kevin's in the glass and glazing business and has been a great friend of mine from an industry perspective and then in mentorship groups and whatnot together for the last few years, and this podcast journey has been it's been something we could have never expected. It's been really, really cool for us.

Stewart Shurtleff:

So that's my buddy Kevin. This is my buddy Wes. Wes and I are in a small group together at church. We met this morning for a couple of hours actually. So when I saw him here I was like hey, I haven't seen you in a minute. He's also on staff at Watermark Community Church as the director of care ministries, which encompasses a lot of things. So this is my friend Wes, and we've been hanging out together for about three years, also started during COVID. So we were meeting as a small group, just men in the mornings. Every meet every Friday morning at plus or minus six o'clock, depending. And oh hey, here's the table.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Was that always there. You're just in the zone, bro, you're in the zone.

Stewart Shurtleff:

I'm in the zone.

Stewart Shurtleff:

So, in any event, wes and I and the other gentlemen from our small group just started meeting in my backyard around a fire pit because we couldn't go to the church and all this and so both of these kind of opportunities out of the middle of, well, you know, covid.

Stewart Shurtleff:

So I think that's a decent place to start because, from a burnout perspective, I feel like a lot of us boy, 2020 was hard and we leaned in hard and we started grinding hard for whatever we were doing in a new, like insanely challenging environment and, at least from my perspective, that's when my frankly, my burnout story started. But as we're sitting in the backyard at my house during 2020, talking about it, you know Wes started sharing some of his story around a burnout issue as well, and so we probably kind of jointly tell this story a little bit, but eventually leading to Wes having a presentation, a topic that was presented at Watermarks Church Leadership Conference the other day. So when we had the opportunity to speak on this, I was like Wes, you're my dude and so I'll kick it to you to kind of get us kicked off. But that's contextually. You know who we are, why we're here and what we're gonna talk about, but kick it to you to tell a little story and then I'll tell a little story and then we'll walk through some access stuff.

Wes Butler:

Yeah, so I am honored to be here first of all. So thank you guys for having us and thank you to you guys for inviting me to be on the first ever live episode. So, as Stuart mentioned, I'm on staff at Watermark Community Church. I've been there for now 20 years just about. So I started as an intern in November of 2004,. So or 2003 rather, and so I just crossed kind of that 20 year threshold, which is kind of crazy.

Wes Butler:

Didn't know that's what the Lord was gonna have for me, and I've gotten to play a lot of different roles and so, as it kind of pertains to this story, watermark has been just a thriving, growing church for a long time. We were there when it was meeting at a high school and we were kind of nomads in the city, trying to find places to meet on Sundays, trying to find office space and kind of all the way from that to where we are now, kind of firmly planted there in North Dallas and with ministries that are spreading out here in South Dallas and other places, and so I've kind of been along the journey for that for a long time. The midst of that, I've been married for 26 years To my wife, brandi. We have four kiddos. Adoption is a part of our story, fertility is a part of our story, so there's a lot of that that kind of plays into some of what I'll share here in a little bit, and so just kind of journeying through life, journeying through ministry, opportunities for leadership, growing and expanding, and all that kind of hit 2019.

Wes Butler:

So, before all the world shut down, I felt like my world was shutting down, just started feeling some things just kind of mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, like all the above, where I was just kind of scratching my head a little bit trying to figure out, man, what is going on. I don't feel like I feel like myself, I feel like I'm having a hard time thinking, I feel like I'm having a hard time leading, I feel like I'm struggling to sleep, to take care of myself physically. I mean, just all sorts of stuff was going on there at 2019 and started kind of raising my hand to some of my leaders and my bosses and just saying, hey, I don't know what's happening, but I'd like to figure it out because I'm just not sure I can continue to go on. And so that was about the time that, as Stuart mentioned, that we kind of synced up in a community group was kind of the not the tail end, but really right in the middle of all that.

Wes Butler:

For me personally and I mean it was quite a journey and it was as maybe some of you have experienced if you've ever walked through a season like that can be really disorienting, really confusing, can be depressing, frankly, because you're wondering, gosh, why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? Am I in the wrong place? Am I the wrong person? Does anybody like me? I mean just all the questions that I think come naturally and season like that and so I think that's why we wanted to kind of talk about that with you today is whether you've experienced that or maybe are experiencing that or might experience it in the future, just some of the things that I feel like the Lord showed me and taught me through that season that I can share today.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Yeah. So one of the first things I thought was important to talk about is like, what are the markers of it? Like, what are? Is burnout just like a buzzword these days? Is it like quiet quitting and it's just something that everybody's burned out, or they're, like you, distinct, unique markers associated with that? So I snuck into the church leadership conference, took notes and these are some of the things you said that I wrote down that I was like man, those are great markers, and you hit some of them Sinusism, lack of vision and clarity, critical towards others, critical towards myself, irritable, short-tempered, short-tempered, melancholy, sleepless, overweight, lacking energy and, like mine, were like just lack of direction, cloudy mind, couldn't figure out where I was going, what I was supposed to be focused on, how I was gonna get there, all of those things.

Stewart Shurtleff:

And so I won't ask you to do it. But I suspect if I said, hey, raise your hand. If you've ever felt like any of that, the overwhelming majority of us would, at least through 2020, have been like yeah, me too. So that's cool, right, like okay, now we've all sort of this is what it is, this is what we're talking about. And then the question starts to become what do you do about it? Because I have a good friend, tyler Burns, says to me all the time he says what you're not changing, you're choosing.

Stewart Shurtleff:

And so the question is like okay, I see the markers, that might be something that I'm doing right now or something I'm experiencing right now or something I'm wrestling with. So what, like? What do we do Right? And so there's lots of resources on this, there's lots of books you can read, et cetera, and I think we hit some of those at the end.

Stewart Shurtleff:

But when I sat in as Wes and I sort of processed through that season around a fire pit in the backyard, he was very helpful in saying here's some things you need to be thinking about, here's some things you need to be, you know, wrestling with chewing on thinking about, and I don't know if you had synergized them all together for your talk at that point or not, but Wes did a really good job putting them together to say like here's a mechanism or some thought process behind. If you were checking the first box and saying, yes, I'm in that season answering the question or assessing and evaluating and correcting what we do about it, and so jump in anytime like we're questioning stuff, but like that's the not to steal your thunder, but that's the EKG mechanism. So walk us through that and we can pepper in and out of some ideas around that.

Wes Butler:

Yeah, yeah, I think one of the things that just meant, as a Christian, as a follower of Christ and having a Christian worldview, we have to understand that we are created beings and that we are not God.

Wes Butler:

Frankly, our world wants to tell us that we are, we can do anything, we can do everything, that we don't have limits. Technology wants to tell us that right, Like, technology is just constantly like hey, you don't have to have limits, we can help you do anything and everything that you want to. And yet, frankly, that is where I think a lot of people get themselves into trouble, just as step one is that we begin to operate in such a way that, whether we say it out loud which most of the time we don't or whether we just kind of practically live it out, we are living as people who don't have limitations, and then we're kind of beating ourselves up for being limited, like we start to criticize ourselves for, man, I should be able to do that, I should be able to tackle that next project, or I should be able to deal with that next person, and yet will we understand? Oh, sorry.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Or what's wrong with me Because I can't, like I should be able to do it as one thing. But then I think there's the next self-deprecating thought of like because I can't, why am I so broken? Like what's wrong with me? Yes, and so that wrestling through and chewing on that is like a big deal. Yeah absolutely.

Wes Butler:

And so what we have to understand is that God actually created us with rhythms, right. So you see it in Genesis 1. There was day one, there's day two, there's day three, four, five and six, and then what happens on day seven, and then the Lord rested. And what we understand in that just kind of implicit in that narrative, is this understanding that that is the way that God has created things. And so, you know, in ministry, for me one of the things that was really helpful as a kid who grew up in the church and grew up in ministry, sometimes people put this label on a pastor, right, and they go I mean, you're a pastor, so you're kind of a super Christian. And one of the things that was really freeing for me early in my ministry days at Watermark specifically, was there was a pretty strong narrative around our church that was like hey, just because you're a pastor doesn't mean you're not still a Christian, meaning that pastors struggle and pastors sin and pastors need community and they need to confess sin and they need to deal with the things and they need to grow spiritually, and that's a really good thing. But then I think sometimes the inverse of that can be that oftentimes, because we're Christians, we minimize the fact that we're human. Right, we kind of go. Well, I'm a Christian, therefore I shouldn't have to be affected by these limitations, and that's just a lie from the pit of hell, frankly, and it gets us in trouble a lot of times. And so step one, frankly, is just to kind of step back and to recognize that you are a limited creature and you have been created with rhythms.

Wes Butler:

And so Stuart mentioned the acronym EKG. So we all know, or at least most of us that are my age, if you're going to the doctor on a regular basis, you're probably getting an EKG. What does that do, right? Well, it measures rhythms in your heart. It measures to see if there's anything out of whack or out of rhythm. And so, for the sake of burnout, I really kind of took that and started thinking that that's part of what I've got to do proactively, as Stuart was just saying, is that, on a regular basis, not only at the crisis point, but on a regular basis, that I am kind of doing an EKG of the rhythms that are in my life and are they healthy rhythms, and is there anything out of whack? And so that EKG just stands for these three things.

Wes Butler:

I'll say the first one. We can talk about that, but the first one is just evaluate everything. That's the first one evaluate everything. And that feels like well, kind of duh a little bit. But here's what I find to be true in this is that oftentimes there is a presenting issue or crisis that we can kind of put our finger on and say I think this is why I'm so tired, right and so, whether it's man work has been overwhelming, or that relationship has been especially hard, or man, that disease that I was just diagnosed with we can kind of identify those types of things and go well, that's it.

Wes Butler:

And yet the reality is that is one thing in the spectrum of everything, and so acknowledging in our finiteness, in our limitedness, that everything affects everything. So I just had back surgery a week ago. We were kind of wondering if I was even going to be able to be up here and thank God for tall stools and all that kind of stuff. Because the reality is, man, when you have back pain, my back pain affected my leg, so I still can't feel my right toes right now. That's pretty cool, but for a long time it was a lot of pain shooting up and down my leg, and so this pain up here in my back is affecting my leg, but guess what else it's affecting? It's affecting my heart, it's affecting my emotions.

Wes Butler:

I had surgery last week and you know what this past week has been? It's been a lot of like okay, hang on, I got to muster some energy to like function and be kind to my family, you know, in the midst of this, and so we kind of can understand that. But we have to understand that, in the context of burnout, that mean everything that you are dealing with is something that you need to take some time to examine and to consider. How is this impacting me?

Kevin Carey:

I think that evaluated everything. It was one of the things when you were starting to share your testimony of being self-aware versus learning in hindsight. So, like my story is much different. I wasn't self-aware and then I hit a brick wall. That's something you all heard in the testimony from our last planning retreat. But how do you process that in the moment with that daily evaluation Like what is the benefit of that? So you don't hit that brick wall? You know being self-aware in the moment. Are these the evaluations that you're talking about, rather than looking in the past, understanding where you're at presently? So then the next day you could show up better.

Wes Butler:

Yeah. So a really helpful book for me personally was a book called Reset by David Murray. It's written specifically to men and specifically kind of has a focus on men in ministry. He and his wife wrote a companion book called Refresh. That is for women as well, and the analogy that he uses in that book the chapters are called Repair Bay, so he kind of has Repair Bay one, repair Bay two and all it was was just kind of a categorization of things that you ought to be examining.

Wes Butler:

So physical health was one. Oftentimes when guys come to me and they're like man, I feel like I'm burned out and one of the very first questions I asked is hey, have you been to the doctor lately? Because I had a really good friend who went through a significant drop of just severe depression and he went to the doctor and found out that, hey, you know, at the age of 40, sometimes men's bodies just stop producing testosterone and his had quit completely and he had no idea. But that was a huge factor for him in the depression that he was experiencing. And so some of those categories so physical health, spiritual health, mental health, relational health you know your relationship with technology, I mean those are some of the Repair Bays that I had to kind of go through and examine.

Wes Butler:

Go, okay, how am I doing in that area? How's my diet? How's exercise right? How is sleep patterns? You know, as we talked about sleeplessness, I ended up doing a sleep study just to go, hey, is there anything that I need to be paying attention to there that might be affecting? So again, you can do that reactively to the crisis or you can do it more proactively and just go, hey, this is something I just wanna make sure I'm taking time to evaluate on a regular basis that might be affecting how I'm doing.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Yeah, part of that evaluation, at least for me personally, was actually in a spreadsheet. That surprises the people who know me, none that I was like, well, I'm just gonna log this, all right. And so I started this spreadsheet where I started writing down all the things I was doing and then I processed through like hey, these are things I'm doing, and I tried to like force rank them to say like these are important things, these are less important things, to really create a holistic overview of the things that were draining my power, so to speak. And one of the things I think is important in processing the things that are draining your power is assessing those things that are like vampire power too.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Think about, like at home you have like your toaster state is plugged in all the time. You don't really think about it, but that light's always on and it's drawing power. Like if you were thinking about, like if I said, name the top 10 things in your house that are drawing power, your toaster wouldn't hit the list, right. But really assessing like what are those things that are drawing vampire power for me too? And I don't mean that like in the what's that vampire book that was so popular a few years ago. Twilight, twilight. I don't mean that like in the Twilight sense, I mean that like in the sense of things that are just I'm so ashamed that I know that, but that's my wife's fault.

Wes Butler:

I think that's my wife's fault.

Stewart Shurtleff:

I looked directly at you. I was like oh no, wes will know this.

Kevin Carey:

I'm so glad you could have bailed him out. I would have left him hanging, no idea.

Stewart Shurtleff:

By the way, thanks for asking that question for me earlier too. I was just you got it, man, I'm so embarrassed to ask. In any event, think about those things too. Like I feel like that process of assessing. You know you don't want to do a surface evaluation and say, oh well, here's my top five. Like I worked on that list for months. I don't think that's a joke. I worked on that list for months assessing what are all the things and where are they taking power and what's healthy and where's the energy going, so that I could begin the process. And at the time it wasn't the EKG, I was just reading the book along with you. After you, I was reading the book, thinking through these repair bays. But any event, the point I'm making is that evaluation, this EKG evaluation, needs to be thorough so that you make sure you're not missing something that's down there in the weeds you know you're not even real, as it's actually causing trouble or trauma.

Wes Butler:

So that's the E. Okay, again, this isn't earth shattering, but it's just kill what's killing you. So that was after you do the evaluation. Again back to something Stuart said earlier. You have to go okay, what do I do about this? And the very first thing is to examine and go hey, what are the things that are really sucking that energy out of me in such a way that it really is impacting, you know just, my ability to function, my ability to lead, my ability to serve others, and so, again, I would say there's kind of a pretty broad spectrum of what that can look like Most of the time and again, because oftentimes there's a presenting problem that we can kind of put our finger on we start looking at that thing and typically here's the hard part Typically that thing is a pretty major thing.

Wes Butler:

So, man, my work is killing me and so I just need to quit my job. Well, maybe, maybe, right, but you don't have to start with the biggest monster in the box, because it could be that, man, all these other smaller paper cuts, as it were, are the things that are really kind of impacting you so that even your evaluation of your workplace and of your job and your abilities to do that job is impacted by that fact. So, like simple things for me personally, I started reading a lot about technology and specifically about my relationship with that little glowing rectangle called a phone that we carry around all the time. Guys, I just want to tell you something your phone is trying to kill you, if you didn't know that it really is, and studies have proven that in the sense that, like man, high school students were measured cortisol levels when they had their phone on their desk at school versus when it was not with them at school, and the cortisol levels shoot up in their brain and in their body because just the very presence of a phone that might text or buzz at any point in time could impact that.

Wes Butler:

For me personally, I had to make a decision. Hey, I can't sleep with this device in my room. The fact that it was on my bedside table sitting there, and then I could wake up in the middle of the night and roll over and check another email or see what was happening on whatever social media feed or whatever, that was like sucking the life out of me. It was really hurting me, and so I had to make an arrangement with my wife. I go hey babe, I'm putting my phone downstairs and I'm assuming we've been married 26 years. We've never gotten like the middle of the night. You know, emergency, the world is burning down phone call. I'm going to just go out on a limb and assume that's not going to happen again for the next 26 years, and my phone doesn't have to be right next to my head to alert me at 3 o'clock in the morning if it is.

Stewart Shurtleff:

And we had this conversation sitting in my backyard, to which I said well, how am I going to wake up in the morning if I don't have my phone as the alarm? And to which Wes said get a different alarm.

Wes Butler:

And like as soon as $10 on Amazon to get one of those things that beep, beep, beep, beep.

Stewart Shurtleff:

As soon as he said that all of you guys thought that's a good point and then immediately started making excuses as to why it wouldn't work right. So, and I'll interject this and then give it back to you. But the other day a friend of mine his name is Jason, we've been, for instance, we're in high school. I pulled up the text. He texted me and said silly Lee, is that a word? Silly Lee In a very silly fashion.

Kevin Carey:

You're the worst guy in stores.

Stewart Shurtleff:

He said do you even like the internet anymore? I was like I don't even know what that means and 30 minutes passed and I said no, I feel like it has taken much more from us than we ever hoped it would give us, and that's it right. Like you're addicted to this thing, that's giving you nothing right Except X is, I would say, tweets, but I don't think I can say that anymore. But whatever they are is just like put it away, like sticking it in a drawer, put it on silent. Buy it $10. Alarm. You'll thank us later.

Wes Butler:

And that again that goes to some of the rhythms, right. So evaluating times of fasting and of Sabbath from devices, so whether that's a daily Sabbath from devices, andy Crouch has a great book called the Techwise Family which I highly commend to you. And Andy Crouch just talks about, hey, our rhythms with our devices are we put it away for an hour a day, a day a week and two weeks a year. He's just like we go device free for two weeks a year and that's part of the rhythm that he has of just fasting with his family or alongside of his family from those devices. So again, that's just an example. I'm not trying to make everything about technology in the phone, but that's a substantial one that we're facing in our culture and our lives today.

Wes Butler:

Our kids I'm giving this talk actually next week at our parenting conference at Watermark just, our kids are in a 24-7 popularity contest. You and I when we went to school, right, you went into school at 9 AM, you walked out at 3 PM or whatever, and you were in that popularity contest. For those, what is Math? Six hours nine?

Kevin Carey:

hours Too close.

Wes Butler:

You were in that popularity contest and then you went home and you took a big deep breath and you didn't have to do that. Our kids don't actually get that. If we give them Instagram and Snapchat and all those things at the age of 12, which, by the way, spoiler alert, don't do that, but that's just hot sports opinion here. But when we do that, what are we doing? We're creating these mechanisms that are creating stress in our own lives, and so, look, we're not immune. That's not a 13-year-old problem exclusively, that's a 46-year-old man's problem as well, that, if I'm not careful, that thing is just constantly in the background and it's sucking energy. And so those were some of the things I had to think about, and those are some of those smaller things. That didn't cost me a ton, guys.

Wes Butler:

If I had gone to my employer and said I need to quit my job, that would have cost me a ton, and yet, thankfully, that wasn't the first step. Now I still needed time to evaluate all those things too, to figure out is that a right next step? Because for some people it is. It ends up being that. But to take time to evaluate all those little categories and just to say, ok, is there anything here that's just kind of so. My diet was not in a good place. I needed to cut out some ice cream. I needed to add some veggies that was substantial. I needed to actually exercise. Just do it, not do it. Well, I just needed to actually do it, and that was important. And those things began to chip away at some of the things that ultimately, that laziness, apathy, carelessness was really killing me.

Kevin Carey:

That's what I want to highlight with the K from this EKG example. You just have to start. It might have been a swing and a miss that the first thing you tried wasn't the answer, but what you find out is it's the first layer of the onion that you peel back, because maybe that phone is distracting you from working on you and that's an easy cop out to just get distracted so you don't see what the heck's going on. Why am I showing this anger, this fear, whatever the emotions are? That's a great first step and we'll 2.0 that probably in session two. If you do do the alarm clock, you're ripping the snooze button off. That's going to be another one for session two.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Well, and this speaks to probably a session two issue, or topic two, which is the discipline and the consistency, Because one of the things you said when I was there taking notes one day was a walk turned into a jog, turned into a run, turned into a long run and, before you knew it, the consistency of just taking a step to stop choosing this and start changing it. Well, you could have never you, I think specifically, but generally the general as you couldn't have gone for a long run out of the shoot. It took a literal baby step of just walking around the block and then twice around the block and then jogging to get to that spot where you had effectively killed what was killing you. But it's not going to happen overnight. You didn't get to this spot overnight, you didn't get all burned out overnight, and you're not going to kill all the things and get out of this season overnight either. It is a long process that is going to require discipline and consistency to get there.

Wes Butler:

Yeah, let me just add one more thing on the Cape before we move on. But most of the things we've just mentioned, they're not sin areas. This isn't a right or wrong thing that you could morally do or morally examine and say, hey, that was right, that was wrong. It was just something that was wrong for me. That said, we can't pass over the fact that there may be things that are in our lives that are sin, that are morally wrong, that are a part of what's killing us. And so John Owen, great Puritan pastor from hundreds of years ago, said look, kill sin, be killing sin, or sin will be killing you. And it's that biblical principle of put to death the deeds of the flesh, to clothe ourselves with humility and kindness and patience and gentleness and to put on the armor of God, and so just to acknowledge that there might be sin.

Wes Butler:

There have been seasons in my life where sin was the main thing that was killing me, whether it was an addiction to pornography or whether it was anger that was out of control or just taking over my life, and I had to come to a place where I needed to confess that sin. So James 516 talks about this idea of confess your sins to one another and be healed. Pray for one another so that you may be healed, is what he says. And so, man, that healing started to come, as in a previous season of life, as I began to share those things with humility, to acknowledge and to seek forgiveness from those who I was hurting with that sin, and so that's a big part of this. You can't just overlook that and go well, it's just kind of these morally neutral things.

Wes Butler:

A lot of times it is. Those are some of the minor things. But if you're going to those things while you're avoiding the Bible says that adultery is a sin and you're invested right now in an adulterous affair, well, that's going to kill you. It's going to kill you. And here's what I want you to know in the midst of saying that and God loves you and he doesn't want you to die, he wants to give you life, and that's why he's given us the ability to confess, why he's given us his spirit to convict us of sin, so that we can confess it to others, so that we can experience healing and freedom from those things. And so I just don't wanna pass that by too quickly and not acknowledge hey, there might be sin that is creating burnout and you have to be in a place of humility to go. Okay, that is sin and I need to confess that and I need to forsake that and to put that to death.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Yeah, that goes to the kind of goes to the first issue, which was evaluate everything. Yeah, okay, so we evaluated everything. We are killing, what's killing us? Get us to the G? Yeah, so the.

Wes Butler:

G is just grow what's good. So now you've evaluated and you go, I mean these are the things that are draining me of life, and then here are the things that are contributing to joy and to health and all those things. And so you know, for me, like one of the silly things for me was I actually was a music major in college, I was a choral singer all through kind of high school and college and all that kind of stuff, I'm not doing it. This is not a prove it moment.

Stewart Shurtleff:

It goes up to the face. Skinny pants guitar.

Wes Butler:

No, no, no. I can't do the skinny pants and guitar. I wish I could. That was not. That actually got me out of music ministry. Skinny pants, skinny jeans.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Whatever Pants, long pants.

Wes Butler:

Yeah, but anyway, I love music and frankly I love classical music.

Wes Butler:

And yet I started to examine and evaluate, like my Spotify playlist, right, and I was like man, it's been a long time since I've listened to some Mahler or some Beethoven, or it's been a long time since I went to the symphony, or it's been a long time since I went to a great acapella concert of some sort, and so I started going. You know, I need to infuse that back into some of the rhythms of my life because I think there's some beauty and some goodness there that the Lord intends for me to experience and I'm not taking full advantage of it. So again, guys, you can kind of see this is not like earth shattering, you know, overhaul of life. It was just kind of oh, that's a really simple thing, and so, on some of those walks, instead of just putting a podcast in my ear, which is my natural bent is like I just want more information and all that. I needed to kind of take a break from just the overload of information and just soak in the beauty of art, and specifically music in that case.

Stewart Shurtleff:

So yeah, and the G really stood out to me in this instance because one of the markers to me, to kind of take it back to the beginning, was things I loved doing. I either didn't love doing anymore or oftentimes it turned to like hating doing them. And so this for people who listen to our podcasts all it's two of you, like it's back. I think Gerald appreciate you. Man, yeah, there you go. Shout out to Gerald. Basketball is like my love language. I love basketball. I love basketball Like I love basketball In this season.

Stewart Shurtleff:

I hated the gym, I hated being around my kids playing. I hated going to the gym, I hated being anywhere near it. It caused anxiety, it was frustration and it was not exciting at all. I didn't want to play, I didn't want to watch, I didn't want to see, I didn't want to be. That was a marker for me. I had lost interest in doing things I love doing. And so, as I'm sitting there at the church listening to you and talking through and get to the G, where it's like grow what is good, I started thinking like I've lost the love for things I used to love. How do I go find that to like, bring those things back that are joyful and grow those things that are good. So to me, check the box on the bingo card. Basketball was one of those things. Like I got to bring it back, I got to find that joy again and so it's to your classical music point is like it's in there. Why did it?

Wes Butler:

go away. Yeah, and I would just say so again, that's kind of the silly side of things, like it's just the simple everyday enjoyments of life. But I also had to evaluate my spiritual disciplines. Hey, I need to grow my Bible intake. I need to make sure that I am spending time in God's word. I need to grow the discipline of prayer. I need to grow the discipline of fasting. I need to grow the discipline of journaling. I need to grow the discipline of gathering together with the saints, like those are all good habits that the Lord has provided for us and even called us to you, and so those things also needed to be evaluated. Hey, is there anything I need to do differently about the way I'm spending time with the Lord so that those things can grow in me as well?

Wes Butler:

So, again, there's a broad spectrum here of kind of major overhauls of life and some really simple and kind of silly things that we just go. Man, all these things can be simple levers that I can start to pull. That might be a good thing for me. So I read up on the importance of standing versus sitting, which if I had done sooner maybe I wouldn't have had to have back surgery. But I was like, hey, can I get a standing desk at work? Because I'm reading this stuff that's telling me that's actually really good for me, for my physical health, and so got a standing desk at work and people walk in my office. If they ever see me sitting in my office, they think something's wrong with me, which probably is, because I just I'm like this is actually better for me and I feel like I'm working better in that way. So it could be something as small as that and something as big as man.

Wes Butler:

You know what? Our family isn't going to church. We haven't made that a part of our life. We're not a local, a member of a local body, and it feels like that's what the Lord has called me to do, and so I need to take that step. And that's gonna be maybe hard conversations with my wife and kids to say, hey, will you please forgive me, I haven't led us well in that, and maybe disrupting rhythms where, like man, we really enjoyed our Sunday morning sleep in, and now dad's trying to get us up and going to church on a Sunday morning. Okay, those are really important and crucial things that we have to make sure. Am I growing that in my own life? Am I growing that in the life of my family in such a way that it's producing health and that it's helping me to either avoid seasons of burnout or to come out of it?

Kevin Carey:

You said a question that reminded me of a burning question from the very beginning, about asking hey, can I get a sit stand desk? And in my journey I'm a retreater when things are going bad. I don't want to tell Stuart, I don't want to tell my good buddies that are in the back there, I want to figure it out myself and that's a lie of the enemy that I realized what gave you permission when you saw that wall come and to put your hand up and say I don't know what it is, but something's wrong and I need to pull away. What did that look like? How did you get there?

Wes Butler:

Yeah, well, look, I think that speaks to a couple of different levels. One, there has to be some personal courage there just to go Like I don't care what this costs me, I just know I'm about to die if something doesn't change. And so help and, depending on then, the health of the organization that you're a part of or the community that you belong to, that can be, frankly, really scary and really costly. Thankfully, the organization and the church family that I was a part of, I had just immense trust in the men and women that were around me. I had immense trust in my wife and how she would respond to that, and so just that security that I had certainly opened me up to, feeling like I could do that safely, and even if it meant that I needed to step away from that job and leave that particular responsibility, I was really okay with that because I trusted that there were others around me that were going to care for me, care for my family, and so I say that there's probably two sides to that coin.

Wes Butler:

Many of you are leading companies and leading organizations and so, and what kind of culture are you breeding with your employees and do they feel that same sense of freedom and safety and security with you, that they could raise their hand and say hey, man, things are not good at home or hey, man, things are not good Am I, you know, feel like I'm about to have a heart attack or a panic attack every day, or whatever. Do they feel that safety with you, or does that feel really scary if they were to walk into your office and have that? And so that's kind of. Does that help answer that question?

Kevin Carey:

Oh yeah, and I think, just to extend on that the safety of putting yourself out there, I think it gets in our heads that we're alone and our issues and our deep valleys. And then if I tell you two that my drug addiction and rehab and all that sort of stuff, you're never gonna be my friend again and what I've experienced through sharing that testimony, I've had several people say I've always considered you right here. Now that I know this, you're right here and so in my head I'm like they're never gonna hang out with me again. And it's the exact opposite. When you do build up that courage and say I'm about to tap out, I need help.

Stewart Shurtleff:

I was. I don't know if we actually talked about this, but in that season, for me a little. I don't know if jealous is the right word. I'll just say it here as a placeholder, because you did work in an environment that you knew was gonna be safe when you said that. And not everybody has that experience. And so the idea that I'm not diminishing the courage that it took for you to raise your hand and say that, but the amount of courage it would take for others in a different situation is exponentially or at least theoretically, exponentially greater, because you really don't know if you have that safety to say I'm about to hit a wall, going 500 miles an hour and I need some help. You don't really know what that's going to result in or what that conversation that's a subsequent to that means. So I just wanna acknowledge that that, like the idea of raising your hand and saying that at work, is that's scary. So I acknowledge that. And then the other thing and I just wanna double down on the point you're making is that you made earlier, which is, if you are responsible for leading a culture at your office, make it safe.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Like there was a Harvard Business Review article right before the pandemic. It was in like the summer of 19 that talked about burnout. This was before ever. It became the big buzzword, but the basic gist of it was that the burnout was not about your people being burned out. The burnout is about the workplace and the culture that you're creating there, and so that's two different prongs, right. That's whether or not you're creating this high pressure environment that is burning people out. And the other prong is the one that was submission, which is creating that environment where someone can say, hey, I've been doing this for a long time and I'm about to hit the wall at 500 miles an hour. How can we intercept this trajectory so that it doesn't happen? That's incumbent on you, as someone whose your name is on the door I'll use my air quotes there but responsible for leading teams and organizations and groups of people.

Wes Butler:

Yeah, one of the verses that comes to mind, related to that question, is there's this moment in Jesus' ministry where he's gathering with his guys who are basically, when we think about it, he's talking to 12 future pastors, right, 12 guys who are about to go into full-time ministry, and he's looking at them and he says, guys, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and he loses his soul? Now a bunch of pastors typically preach that to a room full of people who are in kind of industry and corporate world and all that, and they're like hey guys, don't go chasing after the billions and the millions and all the things in such a way that you would forfeit your soul. But the reality is that that is a reality not just for the CEO, it is a reality for the administrative assistant at the church at that nonprofit and everybody in between, that it is possible for any and all of us to begin to make decisions in our world where we make compromises big, small, moral or morally neutral compromises that begin to chip away at our soul. And that was a question that I really had to wrestle with. That was kind of what forced my hand up. It was kind of the Holy Spirit, lifting your elbow and go. No, you do need to raise your hand.

Wes Butler:

It's like I am not willing to forfeit my soul just so I can stay in a ministry position here at Watermark Community Church and lead in the ways that I'm doing. I'm just not willing to do that and I don't want to give up my integrity, give up my family, give up my health, all for the sake of man he really ran a great kids ministry, which is what I happened to be doing at the time. Or man he really was a great teacher every Sunday. Or man he was really running a fantastic organization. Or he was the best attorney in the land kind of deal.

Wes Butler:

Like it's just not worth it, guys. At the end of the day, all of this will burn up. All of this will burn up and the things that will stand for all of eternity. That's why the scriptures tell us to hey, don't put your eyes on the things that are seen, but on the things that are unseen, because the things that are unseen are temporary, the things that are unseen are eternal. And so that, ultimately, was the thing that forced me to go. I've got to raise my hand because I think I'm about to make even worse decisions as I go through this life if I'm not careful.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Let me double down on a recap, a couple of resources, and then Wes asked you to pray for us as we wrap up. We got three minutes to go here. We're gonna have nailed that. So, ekg, evaluate everything, kill what's killing. You, grow what's good If you're in that space and you're like some of those markers that we just talked about. Man, I checked a bunch of those boxes and this is a format that you can work through to try to begin getting rid of those things and growing what's good.

Stewart Shurtleff:

Wes is a prolific reader and threw out a bunch of books as we were talking through here. The one that I wanna go back to is reset. There's a couple of books. If you Google reset or you go on Amazon, look for reset, there's like four hits before the right one. This one is by David Murray. It's an orange front book and I think it has like a trumpet on it or like it has an orange front with like a little logo right in the middle. Maybe it's a lighthouse or something. In any event, so reset.

Stewart Shurtleff:

And the thing to me that personally, for my season, has been just instrumental is journaling a ton. Get a piece of paper, get a journal. Kevin has. I do mine on my iPad. Sometimes I type, sometimes I write, but it has been like one of the best mechanisms for me to get all of that stuff that's in my head that I couldn't figure out what to do with, out on paper. And then, once I saw it on paper, I could see the repeating rhythms of something, or I could say you know what, I wrote that down yesterday. But now, with the benefit of hindsight, I can see that that's not what that was. That was actually this and begin drawing patterns and figuring out the things that were killing me, and once I could assess them, then I could begin the process of trying to eliminate them. So a couple of books, a couple of books and just my generalized recommendation to just start journaling through this, because it will be immensely helpful.

Wes Butler:

So anything else before yeah, the only other book that might be. So there's another book by a guy named Kerry Newhoff. If you've never heard of Kerry Newhoff his name isn't possible to spell, but I believe it's N-I-E-U-W-H-O-F. Kerry Newhoff, and he wrote a book that is entitled I Didn't See it Coming talking about his own burnout journey. I would say just kind of, the perspective is a little bit more of the business leader. He is a pastor as well, but was coming at it more from a business side of things.

Wes Butler:

That book also was really helpful and kind of identifying A lot of the freedom that I found was just like oh, I thought I was the freak, I thought it was just me. And then you start listening to other people and talks like this, or you start reading other things that are like oh wait, I'm not only not alone, but like there's a whole bunch of us out there who've experienced really similar things. Kerry's book was one that was really helpful for me in that. So, and then last thing I'll say, and then I'll pray yeah, that'd be great I love that.

Wes Butler:

So Matthew 11, 28 through 30, is this great invitation from Jesus where he says come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. And then he says look, take my yoke upon you and learn from me. And so that yoke is that idea of two oxen being kind of, you know, strapped together to go and to plow that field. And so just to imagine that Jesus is inviting us, hey, I'm on one side of this plow and if you'd like to join me, I'd love for you to join me in this. It's not that we don't have any work, that's part of the EKG. Like, I do need to take time, I do need to discipline myself for godliness, I do need to take steps towards health, but I wanna do that alongside of Jesus who's inviting me into rest, because he says when you take my yoke upon you, you'll learn from me and you'll find that he is gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your soul. And so that's the invitation. It is a free invitation from our savior to say, hey, join me, and he's not mad at you. That was the I think the title of my episode when I was on Y'all's podcast before. The Lord is not mad at you just because you're in the midst of burnout. He actually loves you and he wants to set you free, he wants to give you rest, and so that's the invitation that we have. So let me pray and then we'll wrap up.

Wes Butler:

So, father in heaven, thank you for that invitation, thank you for an amazing savior who entered into this broken world full of all the thorns and the thistles that work and life and everything throws at us. And, lord, that you sympathized with us in our weakness, you were patient with us in our sufferings, and that you extended this invitation to us to come to you and to find rest. We thank you, ultimately, jesus, that the greatest rest we can find is found at the foot of the cross, where we see our savior, who took all of our sin and all of our shame and all of our brokenness on himself and exchanged it, offered it as an exchange for your perfection and your righteousness. And so, lord, we thank you for that rest. And, lord, we thank you that you, by the power of your spirit, are still here with us, lord, that you say that, lo, I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.

Wes Butler:

And so, lord, I pray for anyone who's here will be listening to this podcast later who feels like they're alone or feels like they don't have anyone. Father, they would know that you are here, that you love them and that you want to set them free and to give them life. And so, lord, I pray that you would help us to be wise, help us to be humble, help us to raise our hands when we need to. And, lord, we ask all of that ultimately so that we might be drawn closer to you, that our lives might glorify you, and that others around us our family, our friends, our coworkers and neighbors, lord, that they might be blessed as a result of the life that you give to us. We pray all this in Christ's name, amen. Music.

Live Podcast Recording on Overcoming Burnout
Understanding and Addressing Burnout
Proactive Evaluation for Preventing Burnout
Holistic Evaluation and Making Changes
Sin, Confession, and Finding Joy
Rediscovering Joy, Spiritual Disciplines
Seek Help, Create Safe Environment
Rest in Jesus' Love