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Turning Burnout into Hope
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Turning Burnout into Hope

I approached general conference with a question: “How can I cope with burnout?” As I listened, I realized I’d been viewing my relationship with the gospel wrong.

Star Gazing

Conference was coming up, and I was tired.

I’d been tired for months (years, really), but lately it had all become too much. I felt like I was getting pulled in a hundred directions, and the more I tried to give, the less I had to offer. I was weighed down with guilt by all the ways I felt I was failing—as a sister, a friend, an employee, a grown adult, a world citizen. And above all, as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I was tired, but not the kind that could be cured with an afternoon nap. It was a bone-deep, anchor-heavy weariness that weighed on my soul. I felt like a flame low in the embers, about to die out.

Seeking Guidance at Conference

I approach each general conference with a list of questions. This time, the one at the top was, “How can I cope with burnout?”

When Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles opened his address with the story of the widow’s mites, I could relate. I felt like the widow, with only two little mites to give. (See Mark 12:40–44.)

“Jesus taught that our offering may be large or it may be small,” Elder Uchtdorf said, “but either way, it must be our heartfelt all.”1

My heart sank. Unlike the widow’s, my recent offerings to the Lord were not truly my “heartfelt all.”

Then he went on. “To many of us, such a standard of whole-soul commitment seems out of reach. We are already stretched so thin. How can we balance the many demands of life with our desires to offer our whole souls to the Lord?”2

Just then, I knew that this talk was the answer to my question and my prayers for guidance. I understood that Heavenly Father was aware of my struggles and that He had the power to help me turn my half-a-mite efforts into a “whole-soul commitment.”

Focused on the Savior

As I listened, I realized I’d been viewing the gospel as just another demand on my time and energy—one of many “checklist items” I had to take care of each day. But Elder Uchtdorf taught me that true discipleship would involve a major shift in perspective. To live a balanced life, I must live a consecrated life—fully devoted to the Savior.

I recalled another stressful situation I’d gone through. To distract myself, I had spent almost all my time on hobbies and given only minimal effort to spiritual matters. It was like I was peering through the lens of a telescope, focused on one small star, when there were thousands of stars out there. And the one I should have been focusing on—Jesus Christ—was the one I was almost ignoring.

At the time, I felt guilty and frustrated. How could I look at all the stars at once? And if my telescope had to be constantly focused on spiritual things, did that mean I could never look at the other stars?

Elder Uchtdorf reminded me of the essential perspective I had lost: “Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not just one of many things we do. The Savior is the motivating power behind all that we do.”3

Jesus Christ is not just one point of light to focus on. He is the lens through which I see all light. He’s not a recurring checklist item that I must ensure is always at the top. He’s the pen that gives me the power to write the list at all.

A Consecrated Life

This revelation didn’t automatically cure my burnout. I’m still tired. I still have a lot to do. But my burdens don’t feel quite so heavy now. For the first time in a while, I feel hope.

Elder Uchtdorf explained, “When we look at our lives and see a hundred things to do, we feel overwhelmed. When we see one thing—loving and serving God and His children in a hundred different ways—then we can work on those things with joy.”

I know it will take practice to figure out how to achieve a better balance in my life. But I know I’m not in this alone. If my heart is turned toward the Savior, He’ll take my two small mites and make a miracle. “We are all invited to consecrate our lives to Him,” and today I choose to accept that invitation.

Notes

  1. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Our Heartfelt All,” Liahona, May 2022, 122.

  2. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Our Heartfelt All,” 122.

  3. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Our Heartfelt All,” 123.