The Magis: An Ignatian Antidote for Burnout

*The entire post can be found over at Busted Halo.

This summer, I finally got around to cleaning up the tall bookshelf in my office overflowing with books and binders. I soon came across a somewhat dusty binder from my second year of teaching high school. I cracked open the binder, remembering myself as the young, enthusiastic newbie who had all the time in the world. That year was particularly exciting for me, because in addition to a full math teaching load, I was given the opportunity to work in campus ministry. My enthusiasm and passion led to tons of ideas I felt I had to implement right away. If they were even tangentially related to ministry, I wanted to do them and do them well. This particular binder contained details for 11 new events in addition to the other annual ministry offerings. Between retreats, fundraisers, and guiding students through geometry… well, I was exhausted just remembering it!

As I flipped through the binder, another memory from that year came to mind. It was probably mid-March when the director of campus ministry called me into her office. She took a deep breath. “Gretchen, you’ve done good work this year. But I want to invite you to consider slowing down.” Her reflection was that our staff was doing too much. Though each event had value, she was not sure they were all in line with the mission of providing for the spiritual life of the school. “And,” she reminded me, “You are still a full-time math teacher as well!” As a stubborn 23-year-old, I was certain she was wrong. Sure, I had been sick a little more than usual that year and was feeling worn down, but I was getting it all done and done well. I was having success! Wasn’t that the point? 

Find out my answer to this question and my remedy for burnout over at Busted Halo.

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