Finding Hope in the Midst of Darkness

Depression as a Christian seems contradictory since the Bible promises us peace and joy. Peace and joy are very different feelings when compared to a depressed mood. We can have peace in our hearts about the future and our current situation. We can have the joy of the Lord through our salvation. However, our mood may tell us that we are sad even though there is no identifiable reason to be sad.

This is where I like to implement distractions. I may know in my mind that there is nothing to be sad about. I may have a wonderful life, a great spouse, successful children who are walking with the Lord, but I still don’t feel good, and I lack the desire to participate in things I once found interesting. The enemy tries to discourage a person and pressure them to feel guilty about these feelings. Naturally, we tend to look inward for the reason.

The goal is to immediately use Scripture to fight those automatic negative thoughts (fiery darts) that the enemy shoots into our minds. Find certain Scriptures that speak to you in the specific area in which you are struggling. Write these down on a small piece of paper to carry with you until you memorize them.

Do not allow these darts to enter your long-term memory. Short-term memory is anything under thirty seconds. If you rehearse something, a telephone number, a name, a time, or a phrase using certain rehearsal techniques they will convert to long-term memory. The trick here is to get to those fiery darts immediately with Scripture you have previously memorized.

Repeat God’s word to yourself and get his promises into your long-term memory. Carry your Bible around with you wherever you go. Put it in your purse, carry a small Gideon’s Bible in your back pocket so you can get used to using your sword. Keep seeking, keep knocking. Don’t grow weary.

Another reason we may continue to be affected by feelings of sadness is that we may have conditioned ourselves to be in this state. People find it comfortable to sit in darkness, wallowing in self-defeating thoughts. Though it’s not necessarily a desire to feel depressed, we may experience a physiological response (physical response throughout the body) to a depressed mood.

When we feel tired, we prefer to lay in bed to get some additional sleep. We feel hungry so we find something to nourish our bodies. Working through depression feels unnatural because our emotions or our bodies may prompt us to do things that will keep us remaining depressed:

  • Loss of interest
  • Excessive sleep
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Excessive Guilt
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death

Depression has many faces and many different presentations, and the sufferer may experience a variety of symptoms. As Christians, we may think that the Lord would relieve us from these feelings if we were in His good graces. This is false. There are instances where we may be experiencing guilt, shame, sad mood, and difficulty sleeping due to unconfessed sin. If we continue to live in a specific sin, the Holy Spirit will convict us and prompt us in this way.

Do not mistake this for condemnation, however. Christ sent his Holy Spirit to us to encourage us and to convict us of sin. Conviction is meant to prompt us to repent, not to condemn us. The Bible says that His goodness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Out of love, we turn back to Christ knowing that his plans for our lives are far better than our own.

The enemy has effective methods of making us feel as though we will never measure up, leading us to feel beaten down by the world and our sin. Don’t grow weary of doing good, “At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up (Galatians 6:9).”

A thorn is a struggle or an ailment that the Lord has not freed us from so that He may be glorified through us. This is not to be confused with a stronghold. A stronghold stems from a certain sin we continuously fall into (i.e., binge-eating, sexual sin, continuous anger outbursts, slander/gossip, pride, lying, or substance use.)

Jacob experienced a thorn following his wrestling with God. Paul had a thorn that he was forced to live with, the nature of which the Bible does not reveal (however, many Biblical scholars think it may have had something to do with his eyes). A thorn may also be the loss of a child, the death of a spouse at a young age, a physical ailment, cancer, and even mental illness. The propensity to experience depression may also be a thorn.

It may keep us clinging to Jesus, running back to Him for continual support because we realize that during periods of intense depression, He is the only way we can make it through the day. Ultimately, Jesus wants us to be close to Him. He wants us to spend time in His word and rely on Him.

This does not mean that the Lord is devious and crafty, but He permits these ailments so that we will cling to Him. We live in a fallen world and as fallen creatures we do not fully understand His methods. We may not know why He would allow a young child to die prematurely, but we trust in His essential goodness and love. We constantly fight a spiritual battle with an enemy who is much smarter than we are, so we reach to Jesus to guide and strengthen us moment by moment during times of depression.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:17-18

One biblical truth you can hold fast to is that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Don’t lose faith or become discouraged when the storm rages between your ears. Cling to the hope that though you may be sitting in darkness, the Lord is your light (Micah 7:7b).

If you are in grip of mental health difficulties such as these depressive symptoms and would like to speak with someone to help identify the problem in a more clear and identifiable way, please reach out to a counselor for guidance and encouragement. We have a team of mental health professionals that will provide a hand to help you walk through your spiritual wilderness. You don’t have to go through this alone.

“A Walk in the Woods”, Courtesy of Geran de Klerk,, CC0 License; “Skeleton Keys on Book”, Courtesy of Carolyn V,, CC0 License; “Chains”, Courtesy of Zulmaury Saavedra,, CC0 License; “Victory!”, Courtesy of Svyatoslav Romanov,, CC0 License

What Does the Bible Say About Anger?

Have you ever wondered, “What does the Bible say about anger?” If so, this article is for you.

Anger is an emotion that everyone experiences, but it’s also an emotion that is viewed quite negatively. There seems to be a consensus in society that anger is straight up wrong but this is a misguided perception. To classify anger as inherently wrong is like saying that everyone who struggles with anger issues is “bad” or even “evil.”

That’s just not the case. Most people don’t get out of bed and “decide” to get angry for no reason. Anger is an emotion, and like all emotions, it’s usually provoked by something.

So, what does the Bible say about anger? The Bible talks about two kinds of anger: righteous anger and unrighteous anger. It’s important to remember that God expresses anger in the Bible and if anger is an emotion that God expresses, then it’s impossible for it to be evil.

God’s anger is in response to injustice, which makes it righteous anger. Christians can also become righteously angry about injustices. God’s anger is justified because it’s a demonstration of His love and the pain that He experiences when His children are hurting themselves and others.

It is unrighteous anger that is sinful. Flying into a rage over something that is not injustice is when anger issues become more serious. This kind of anger can lead to a lot of problems in relationships, employment, and school and can also lead to legal action.

What Does the Bible Say about Anger?

If you’re struggling with anger issues, then the Bible is a great place to turn for help and advice. We’re going to look at five verses about anger the Bible, to get God’s perspective on how anger should be handled.

Don’t Let Anger Control You

And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil . . . Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:26-27, 31-32 (NLT)

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul is really direct about the consequences of being controlled by your anger. When your anger issues are in control of you, you’re opening yourself up to attacks from the enemy, Satan, who is always looking out for weak spots that he can exploit.

What does it mean to not “let the sun go down while you are still angry”? Well, this part of the verse is talking about how you can settle into a state of constant, bubbling anger that rapidly becomes feelings of bitterness and resentment. As we discussed earlier, anger in itself isn’t a sin, but holding onto it and allowing your anger to fester is not healthy.

Paul goes on to give some practical advice (although in practice it’s not quite as simple as it sounds) about getting rid of “bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander.” I don’t think there’s an expectation that as a Christian you will never get angry, but this verse exhorts you to take control of your anger by practicing kindness and forgiveness just as God practices kindness and forgiveness towards us.

Don’t Be Quick to Respond in Anger

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.James 1:19-20 (NLT)

In the heat of the moment, getting excessively angry can cause a whole heap of trouble. If you’re naturally quick-tempered, you’ll know how easy it is to say something in anger and immediately regret it. The trouble is, once you’ve said it, you can’t take it back, and hurtful things said as an angry outburst can tear relationships apart.

If you’re prone to flashes of temper, then heeding the advice in this Scripture on anger can help you to manage your anger issues. When we respond in anger, we’re often foregoing the “quick to listen” part of these verses. Taking the time to listen to the other person’s perspective instead of immediately flying into a rage can allow you space to consider a more godly reaction.

You don’t have to agree with someone else’s views, but nor do you have to become angry. When you’re slow to speak, you have a better chance to choose the right words that can convey your views without causing a massive argument. Unrighteous anger is almost always a knee-jerk reaction. Practice righteousness by carefully considering your response, instead.

Follow Jesus’ Example

It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area, he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” – John 2:13-17 (NLT)

Jesus’ anger in the Temple is a great insight into what righteous anger looks like. It’s easy to justify your own anger issues as being righteous, but this passage of Scriptures about anger might cause you to reconsider whether your anger really is righteous.

Getting angry about injustice and wrongdoing in the way that Jesus did is okay. Jesus was consumed by anger because of the disrespectful way that the people were behaving in the Temple court. It was God’s house and they were using it as a marketplace. By doing that, they were insulting God and Jesus had every right to fly into a rage, given that He was preparing to die for them.

If you find yourself trying to justify your anger as being righteous, you need to search your heart to see whether this is really the case or if you are looking for an excuse to be angry. Jesus was angry on behalf of His Father, and his response was to berate the people for turning the Temple into a den of thieves.

Getting angry on behalf of someone else can be righteous but it’s not an excuse to behave inappropriately. Notice that Jesus wasn’t angry about something that was done to Him. You may feel that it’s justified to be angry if you’ve experienced an injustice, but the Bible really talks about righteous anger being about injustices that happen to others. It’s hard to have a righteous perspective when you’re the victim.

God’s Approach to Anger

The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected – even children in the third and fourth generations.Numbers 14:18 (NLT)

As Christians, our ultimate goal is to be more like God (or Christlike), so it makes sense that we should follow God’s example when it comes to anger. This passage in Numbers reminds us that although God does get angry, it takes a lot to make Him angry.

If you have anger issues and find yourself becoming very easily angry, you might want to spend some time thinking about how God would react in your situation. Or, even more poignantly, what the world would be like if God was more hot-tempered.

This passage also takes into account that although God doesn’t get angry easily and He is filled to overflowing with love for his children, and He forgives our transgressions, He is just in dealing with those who are unrepentant. This leads to the next verse.

Revenge is for God to Take

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19 (NLT)

When you hold onto anger, it quickly becomes resentment and bitterness and can lead to a desire for revenge. If someone has hurt you deliberately, then it’s natural to feel that you deserve some kind of recompense, in the form of revenge. However, the Bible is firm in reminding us that it is not for us to take revenge.

It can be tough to surrender your desire for revenge and trust that God will ensure that ultimately justice is served. No matter how difficult it is to let go of your anger and resentment, not doing so will only hurt you more. Holding onto anger can cause depression and anxiety not to mention giving the devil a hold over you.

Christian Counseling for Anger Issues

When you’re struggling with anger issues, it’s helpful to explore what the Bible says about anger, but you may also benefit from getting in touch with a Christian counselor. Christian counseling gives you the opportunity to discuss your problems with anger with a trained professional who will bring a Biblical perspective (not only a psychological one) to each session.

Working with a Christian counselor, you can explore more Scriptures about anger and discuss your feelings about the Biblical understanding of good and bad types of anger. You’ll learn tools to help manage your anger in a more godly way and have a safe space to discuss the underlying issues that may be affecting your anger issues.

Featured photo:
“Wandering,” courtesy of Priscilla du Preez,, CC0 License

How to Reach Your Leadership Development Goals

If you’re a leader or a manager in your company, you might be discouraged by this statistic: 50% of managers eventually fail in their position. How can you avoid becoming part of this statistic?

You might start by setting goals for success, so you don’t end up losing your job or getting burned out and quitting.

If you look at the New York Times bestseller list, you’ll see an entire section of books about business and professional success. Books by successful people are often favorites because we want to find out how to replicate their success in our professional lives.

But, maybe there’s an alternative. Perhaps we can learn more from failure than success.

When you read a book by someone like Bill Gates, you’re reading a very rare story about someone who made it to the top, but we can learn valuable lessons from leaders who failed. When a senior executive flounders, an organization can lose millions of dollars, and both the individual and the organization experience impact to morale.

Principles for Achieving Leadership Development Goals

So, what are some of the fundamental principles for achieving leadership development goals—ideas we can see in success stories and failures? Let’s discuss three of them.

1. Good Relationship Skills

Leadership isn’t about a single-minded drive to the top. Instead, it involves successfully managing your relationships with superiors, colleagues, and staff. Being a good leader also includes strategic networking, effective conflict resolution, and consideration of other people’s needs.

As believers in Christ, we can see that he was the ultimate servant leader and set the example for us. We should strive to be servant leaders, even in our secular careers. Although we should want our organizations to succeed, people always come first. Strong relationships and caring actions can make a lifelong difference, whether or not you experience dazzling financial success.

2. Self-Awareness

Robert Hogan and Rodney Warrenfeltz are organizational scientists who studied factors that influence self-concept. Self-concept is defined as “an idea of the self-constructed from the beliefs one holds about oneself and the responses of others.” How you see yourself can really impact the way you do your job and lead others.

Here are the three influencing factors Hogan and Warrenfeltz identified:

  • Healthy self-esteem. Self-esteem is related to resilience; when you have inner confidence, you’re more likely to learn from failure than remain in defeat. This is partly why people with healthy self-esteem can bounce back when faced with setbacks. They also tend to exude positive energy and are not easily irritated.
  • A positive attitude towards authority. These individuals are compliant, easily managed, and have excellent social skills.
  • Self-discipline. A self-disciplined person can control his or her impulses and appetites, focus on the task at hand, and go along with accepted procedures.

As you consider these factors, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses, and how you can improve to be a better leader and asset to your organization.

Sometimes leaders don’t consider that the way they act on a personal level within their company needs to be congruent with the way the organization presents itself to the public. Both internal and external values should be aligned for your organization to be trustworthy, and to keep you as a leader in sync with your company’s identity and goals.

3. Humble Confidence

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

There are several characteristics in a leader that increase the likelihood that they will end up failing. Many of these characteristics can be strengths if they are balanced and not extreme, while others are inherently unhealthy.

Here are some examples:

  • Excessive self-confidence, self-esteem, or boldness
  • Habitual risk-taking
  • Being exploitative
  • Wanting to be the center of attention
  • Acting out in strange or unusual ways

Yi Zhang and N. Anand Chandrasekar research organizations in Asia surveyed leaders and found that when asked to rate characteristics that they would need to lead others effectively, these individuals said that every single trait should be strong.

However, the researchers found that it’s not helpful to try to be too strong in every area as a leader; that perspective is correlated with leadership failure. They concluded that leaders who have less of a particular strength can actually be more effective in the long run.

Sometimes, leadership abilities that seem to be assets in the short term end up becoming liabilities in the long run. For example, having high self-confidence and overestimating your skills can make you seem brave, confident, and charismatic in the beginning.

But, eventually, others might see that you are entitled and have trouble acknowledging your mistakes. There are traps inherent in a prideful attitude. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

5 Practical Steps to Achieve your Leadership Development Goals

1. Learn Your Strengths and Weaknesses

What areas of leadership strength and weakness are you aware of in yourself? Once you’ve made a list, talk it over with your colleagues, supervisor, and/or customers. This kind of feedback is known as 360 feedback. It allows you to identify and eliminate weaknesses that are personal blind spots in your work habits and performance.

How do you address your weaknesses?

Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Make a concrete plan for how to solve the weak areas daily.
  • Keep a record or journal of your progress.
  • Check in for more 360 feedback in three months.

Asking for possible negative feedback is never enjoyable, and you’ll probably feel vulnerable, but it can help your team connect with you on a more human level and improve your relationships.

When an organization has strong ties, this fosters a climate of empathy and forgiveness of mistakes. This type of atmosphere improves morale, provides a sense of safety, and can lead to personal and organizational growth.

360 feedback is not without its dangers or limitations. Sometimes organizations already have a built-in negative group-think despite your job performance, and there’s not much you can do to overcome it by inviting personal feedback. Sometimes requesting feedback may lead to workers ganging up on you, hurting your chance at a promotion. If the climate at your work does not allow for objective feedback, asking for it won’t accelerate your growth.

If you’re not sure whether 360 feedback would be helpful in your situation, make sure you provide a confidential avenue to receive requested feedback, and that is not used during performance reviews. It should also be constructive, focused on solutions, and a regular part of office culture rather than an unusual, one-time event.

2. Consider the Company Culture

How do you adopt the culture of your organization while being yourself? This doesn’t mean that you just allow the company to influence you; it says you reflect on your part in the culture and how you can be an authentic and cooperative influence in your company.

Take a moral inventory of your workplace behavior. Does it reflect your values as a Christian? Do you act in ways that do not line up with your faith or corporate values and procedures?

As you think about this topic, discuss it with your close peers. Can you work together to improve? As a leader, make sure you regularly communicate values with your team, and how those values align with your organization’s standards. You might meet periodically with other departments, or invite performance evaluations from superiors.

3. Meet with a Christian Coach

Sometimes leaders are motivated by personal gain, rather than a good work ethic and a desire for success. What are some wrong motives/behaviors in leadership?

  • Exploiting others
  • Wielding power
  • Desiring personal recognition
  • Wanting to get ahead at all costs

These motivators might be subtle in the beginning, and then start to grow out of control. If you realize that your motives are sinful, it’s time to step back and evaluate where you are and how you can get to a healthier place.

If you’ve discerned that you need to have healthier motives, consider working with a Christian coach who can hold you accountable and help you reach positive leadership goals.

4. Take Charge of Stress

Stress is the enemy of success. Maybe you have an image in your mind of a successful CEO burning the midnight oil and being a workaholic. But the truth is, this will just lead to burnout.

Sometimes stress is linked with feeling competitive and individualistic. Instead of that mentality, focus on collaboration. Work not only as a team but expand to include other departments if your job allows.

When work is inevitably stressful at times, try to see the big picture and implement healthy coping mechanisms, possibly with the help of your Christian leadership coach.

All the good ideas don’t have to come from you. Cultivating gratitude and humility goes a long way towards stress reduction. Does your company have stress management resources? Again, Christian counseling can not only help you meet your leadership goals but help you manage stress and stay emotionally healthy.

5. Share Authority and Equip your Team

Organizational psychologists Chappelow and Leslie offer valuable suggestions on how to equip your team for success:

  • Use your to-do list to create individualized job responsibilities for members of your team.
  • Rotate those responsibilities as often as you can, based on individual skill levels. This means that each team member will learn new skills and have the opportunity to overcome challenges.
  • Set team goals and monitor them on an ongoing basis. Do your personal leadership goals align with those of your department and the organization as a whole?
  • Use rewards to boost morale. These can be both tangible, such as pay raises and bonuses, or intangible, such as praise and recognition.

As you focus on your personal leadership development and organizational health and achievement, you will find yourself accomplishing goals and moving towards success.

“Lifeguard Training”, Courtesy of Margarida CSilva,; CC0 License; “Humility”, Courtesy of Matthew Henry,, CC0 License; “Masai Mara,” courtesy of Pawan Sharma,, CC0 License; “Teamwork,” courtesy of,, CC0 License

How the Enneagram Personality Test Can Encourage Personal Development

Personality tests can mesmerize you with the possibility of understanding yourself – or someone else – better than you do now.

The Enneagram has been used for hundreds of years and remains one of the most popular personality typing systems. In ancient times this system was shrouded in secrecy, but today anyone can have access to it.

One version of the Enneagram is often used in spiritual formation programs. It consists of an exploration of personality types through the grid of Christian growth. It is sometimes implemented in the Christian counseling setting and has proved to be a valuable tool for self-understanding in the clinical context.

The word personality relates to the word for mask in Latin. As children, our personality develops as we learn to interact with our world, as we connect with others, and as we try to avoid pain.

As we get older, our behavior becomes so habitual that we think it defines us. We might think the personality is who we really are, but our identity actually resides under the mask. Unlike the way we present ourselves to the world, our true identity is revealed when we let our guard down.

When we work through the Enneagram personality test, we can start to figure out the patterns to our personality type and the perspective we have on life. This way, we can connect with our inner self.

If you’re familiar with the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, you’ll know that system specifies 16 types of personalities. By contrast, the Enneagram describes 9 types, each of which can be compared to a characteristic of God himself, since we are created in His image.

The book, The Road Back to You, was written by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile to be a Christian primer on the Enneagram. The authors share how this system can help us get to know ourselves better:

“What we don’t know about ourselves can and will hurt us, not to mention others. As long as we stay in the dark about how we see the world and the wounds and beliefs that have shaped who we are, we’re prisoners of our history.

We’ll continue going through life on autopilot doing things that hurt and confuse ourselves and everyone around us. Eventually, we become so accustomed to making the same mistakes over and over in our lives that they lull us to sleep. We need to wake up.”

Waking Up to Who You Really Are

How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?Proverbs 6:9

The famous theologian John Calvin said, “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”

To really get to know ourselves in the context of the world around us, we have to understand:

  • The perspective we have on the world,
  • What experiences and influences have shaped our perspective,
  • And how our worldview is different from others’.

When a child is born, their identity remains brand-new and untarnished. As that child grows and develops, her experience in her family of origin will strongly influence her perspective on life and the world around her.

As that child grows older, the first step in understanding herself happens when she realizes other people have different perspectives than hers, mostly based on their own family environment.

Since we are all sinners, all family relationships involve some level of brokenness and pain. Some people experience this brokenness much earlier or more intensely than others do, but it is there at some level for everyone.

So how do we cope with the inevitable pain of living in a fallen world? Each of us develops our own ways of responding. Eventually, our responses become habitual and so deeply ingrained we think they define us.

However, our response to a broken world doesn’t fully describe our core self, but our provisional self. We might manage just fine with these patterns of relating, but eventually, we start to uncover the ways in which our coping mechanisms are failing us, usually in our late twenties or even later. At that point, we can start the journey of discovering our true self underneath our ingrained patterns of relating to the world.

“Your True Self is who you objectively are from the beginning, in the mind and heart of God, “the face you had before you were born,” as the Zen masters say. It is your substantial self, your absolute identity, which can never be gained nor lost by any technique, group affiliation, morality, or formula whatsoever.

The surrendering of our false self, which we have usually taken for our absolute identity, yet is merely a relative identity, is the necessary suffering needed to find “the pearl of great price” that is always hidden inside this lovely but passing shell” (Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, by Richard Rohr).

Discovering Your Enneagram Type

So what are these nine types we’ve spoken about? The types are grouped into three triads, also known as “instinctual centers.”

The first triad is called the gut/instinctual triad, containing types 1, 8, and 9. The core emotion is anger.

The second triad is called the heart/feelings triad, containing types 2, 3, and 4. The core emotion is shame.

The third triad is the head/thinking triad, containing types 5, 6, and 7. The core emotion is fear.

How do you figure out where you fit into these types? There are several methods you can use, and you can find them online, although not all are of equal quality.

No matter what your test results are, they can’t offer a definitive analysis. They’re just a starting point for discovering and exploring your type.

Figuring out your type can actually be somewhat difficult because it can involve getting to know yourself at a deeper level and unveiling personal truths that may cause discomfort. Have you heard the quote, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations” (author unknown)? The same can be true for figuring out your Enneagram type.

Talking to a therapist who uses the Enneagram in a clinical setting can help you uncover your type and use this tool for self-understanding to make improvements in your emotional health.

The Nine Types: What Are They?

The following list describes each one of the types and how that particular characteristic can be a reflection of the image of God in us. No type is inferior to another, and none of them are inherently bad.

  • Type 1, the Perfectionist, reflects God’s goodness and rightness.
  • Type 2, the Helper, reflects God’s love and nurture.
  • Type 3, the Achiever, reflects God’s hope and radiance.
  • Type 4, the Romantic, reflects God’s creativity and depth.
  • Type 5, the Observer, reflects God’s wisdom and truth.
  • Type 6, the Loyalist, reflects God’s faithfulness and courage.
  • Type 7, the Enthusiast, reflects God’s joy and abundance.
  • Type 8, the Challenger, reflects God’s power and protection.
  • Type 9, the Peacemaker, reflects God’s peace and oneness.

What Happens After I Know My Type?

When you’ve nailed down which type you fit into, that’s just the beginning. Knowledge alone can fascinate, but it won’t necessarily lead to change. The more you learn about your type, the more you can observe yourself and how you act in accordance with it.

Thomas Merton wrote: “Sooner or later we must distinguish between what we are not and what we are. We must accept the fact that we are not what we would like to be. We must cast off our false, exterior self like the cheap and showy garment that it is. We must find our real self, in all its elemental poverty, but also in its great and very simple dignity: created to be the child of God, and capable of loving with something of God’s own sincerity and his unselfishness.”

We’ve identified a core emotion for each type, and along the same lines, each type has a different focus of attention:

  • Type 1: What’s wrong? What needs to be improved?
  • Type 2: How can I meet other people’s needs in order to get their approval?
  • Type 3: Which tasks can I accomplish to receive praise and recognition?
  • Type 4: What’s missing?
  • Type 5: How can I detach and remain an observer so I can protect my personal boundaries and privacy?
  • Type 6: What can go wrong? What is the worst-case scenario?
  • Type 7: What is fun and stimulating?
  • Type 8: How can I take control to protect myself and those around me from vulnerability?
  • Type 9: How I can meet the wants and needs of others in order to keep the piece?

Knowing Yourself

How can we apply the Enneagram personality test into our lives as we live out our Christian faith? As we abide in Christ, we grow to be more like him. We can’t change on our own. The Enneagram provides a lens through which to view the process of transformation.

Quiet becomes a key component of this process – a quiet heart, a quiet spirit, a quiet path toward God. Each one of the three triads provides one version of quiet that can help on the path of transformation:

Stillness: For the gut/instinctual triad

In The Sacred Enneagram, Christopher Heuertz writes, “Stillness interrupts the addictions of gut people and prompts a reevaluation of their drive.” Stillness requires intention; it’s the opposite of frenetic busyness.

If you are in the gut/instinctual triad, and you stop all your activity and get still, you can reflect on the ways you connect your identity and worth to everything you’re busy doing. You might find that you tend to be overly controlling of your circumstances. Stillness can open your eyes to self-discovery and lead to transformation.

Solitude: For the heart/feeling triad

Heuertz writes, “Solitude teaches us how to be present – present to God, to ourselves, and to others with no strings attached.”

If you are in the heart/feeling triad, you may struggle with over-dependence on other people, whether connecting to them or comparing yourself to them. You need solitude because, with your emphasis on relationships, you may struggle to break free of unhealthy patterns when you are around other people. Solitude can unlock the door that keeps you trapped.

Silence: For the head/thinking triad

What are your true desires? What do you fear? What do you sense God is saying to you? If you are in the head/thinking triad, you probably have a busy mind full of active thought, and quieting your inner voice can help you connect with God’s voice and understand your true self.

Again from Heuertz: “The Enneagram shines a light on what obstructs our essence from emerging and opens our path to God. The quiet practices discussed above allow God to begin moving us back towards our true identity.”

The Enneagram helps with self-discovery, but it also helps us understand each other. We can develop compassion as we realize how differently others perceive the world. We can learn to be better listeners as we hear others’ perspectives without judgment.

The simple act of listening improves relationships immensely. How do other people think and respond? How do they live in their minds differently than we do in ours? The beauty of the Enneagram is that it allows us to walk in someone else’s shoes and realize the inherent value in other perspectives.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

The Enneagram in Daily Life

At the end of the day, you can choose from a variety of personality tests, but hopefully, you can see the unique approach and worth of the Enneagram. It doesn’t just help you put a label on yourself or other people; it offers a way forward to finding your true, authentic self as you were created to be in the image of God.

When you have support on this journey, you’ll probably make even more progress towards positive change. Growth takes time and self-awareness, but as you continue learning more about yourself and others, you can deliberately change unhealthy patterns and realize your own internal biases and your unique perspective on life.

Most importantly, you can grow in compassion for yourself and other people. For example, the Enneagram personality test can be used in couples therapy to help spouses understand each other better and grow in mutual sympathy and love.

You might feel unsettled the first time you observe yourself acting out some of your type’s negative patterns. If you’re committed to growth, you’ll have to work on those patterns and face the truth about yourself.

But the freedom of self-discovery lies in the potential for transformation. We can get to know the root of our thoughts, emotions, and behavior, and we can start to let go of unhealthy habits so our true identity can flourish.

Now What?

As you demonstrate humility and willingness to change, God can transform you far beyond what you could imagine. Please reach out to one of our Christian counselors if you would like help taking the first steps of self-understanding through the Enneagram.

Recommended resources:

  • The Road Back to You, Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile – A good primer for beginners.
  • The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher Heuertz – A spiritual perspective on discovering your true identity as a Christian.
  • The Typology podcast with Ian Cron – A series devoted to exploring the nine Enneagram types.
  • Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr – Rohr is one of the most well-known voices in Enneagram circles, and in this book, he writes about the path of transformation for believers.
“Reflecting Enneagram”, Courtesy of Rob Fitzel,, Used by Permission; “On the Lion”, Courtesy of Jeremy Renke,, CC0 License; “The Road Ahead”, Courtesy of Vlad Bagacian,, CC0 License; “Passage”, Courtesy of Hasan Almasi,, CC0 License

Reaching Your Goals with a Personal Coach

Our best work is done in times when we feel a sense of purpose. This incorporates our will, our passions, and our best thoughts. It provides us with a sense of meaning for our lives.

Some may remember the older Disney cartoon that showed a businessman unhappily going to his mundane job with bags under his tired eyes. Just going through routine motions every day has drained him.

Life is more enjoyable when it includes meaningful activity. This can be during work or outside of work and the purpose is to engage with the people around us. Many people are not satisfied with their current jobs or life path, and personal coaches can help them reinvent themselves so they have some sort of meaning and a better sense of purpose.

What is it that you want?

In other words, ask yourself what your objectives are. Often, we take opportunities to participate in a type of project inside or outside of work without asking ourselves if that is truly what we want. This could be because we are going to get paid well, or we want prestige, or because someone we view as “important” is involved.

When we fail to ask ourselves what we really want, we start relying on impulses and aimless choices. Consequentially, our sense of purpose is diminished. As the business saying goes, “Aim at nothing and you’ll hit every time.” We must find our magic wands and put our desires down on paper, including things that may seem impossible or silly.

By asking yourself what you want, you can pinpoint your desires and then work to create plans that will help you reach your goals in life. This can be viewed as a form of being kind to yourself. A personal coach has the ability to help you figure out your desires and comprehend the complexities they entail.

Goals should be divided into fantasies, wants, and needs so that we can determine what is important and which things have the likelihood of success. For example, saying “I need to have a car so that I can get to work and then get home” is a need.

“I need an expensive Mercedes-Benz so that I can get to work and then get home” is a want (and possibly also a fantasy!). Obviously, we need some form of transportation, but expensive transportation exists as a luxury, and you may only need a nice car when you are taking a very rich client to lunch.

An example of a fantasy is, “I need somebody to provide me with a car,” which basically implies you want a car but do not want to put in any work to pay for it. Fantasies often share this dynamic.

Other examples include, “I have strong aspirations to become a famous singer, but I am not willing to leave my tiny hometown” and “I would like to speak another language but I would rather not have to learn it.”

The first implies that I want to become a celebrity even though it’s nearly impossible to do so in my small rural hometown, and the second one implies I want something but have no desire to actually learn it.

Aiming for everything will probably produce the same results as aiming for nothing. A huge step in the difficult process is really narrowing down your focus. You must work on the things that are most important because we all have a limited amount of willpower, time, money, and energy

For this, personal coaches can help with the filtering process. To an extent, we are postponing some of our dreams and a logical second opinion might help the decision-making process.

What is the process?

Once we form an understanding of what we want, we create a plan that includes action items or tasks. For example, the process of getting a car would be, “Get employed, earn enough money for the car, and then buy the car.” It isn’t difficult and you should be flexible.

If you hit a roadblock in your process, look and see if you can find a workaround to it. If not, it’s probably time to reevaluate that goal. As an example, “Get employed” can only work when someone has a reliable means of transportation, so a way to work around that may be, “Get employed, figure out public transportation, earn enough money for a car, etc.”

If public transportation is sufficient in your area, you may decide to wait to buy the car to save the money you would need for the gas, insurance, and maintenance that would come with it. Break down the path you need to take to reach your goal so that it will become more clear to you.

“Receive a Master’s of Business Administration and get employed as a middle-level manager” is an extremely broad goal. Instead, perhaps consider, “Find a college, get student loans, apply, complete courses, receive a degree, apply for mentorship programs at well-known companies, take whatever job I’m offered, work towards promotions.”

Of course, these steps could change over time, but it is best to have a reasonable, logical path that you can get started on. This process of evaluation can be made even better if you have a personal coach who can guide you and act as an unbiased sounding board.

Break Down the Plan

After you have narrowed down your path to one main focus, it is time to connect with a personal coach who will help you add details to the process. The purpose of the main focus is to ensure that you do not have competing objectives with steps that are mutually exclusive (e.g., “enroll in business school” vs. “receive an MFA in animation”).

Certain goals have the ability to run concurrently, however, this only works when the steps are also able to run concurrently. If your goal was to “learn to play the guitar” and your steps might be “purchase a guitar, find a great teacher, schedule sessions with the teacher.”

Perhaps a better breakdown might be “Do research to find the best inexpensive guitar, purchase one, make room for it, research guitar teachers, choose one and call to schedule sessions, dedicate some time to practice every day, and assess progress after three months.”

You have the option to break it down however you would like, but try not to spend too much time planning because it may lead to inaction. Often, it seems that execution is more difficult than planning, but you actually have to perform the tasks you created to reach your ultimate goal. If you tend to lack execution but are great at planning, see the sectioned titled “The Enemy Within” below.

Action always requires expense. If we want to accomplish something, we must expend our emotions, time, effort, mental energy, and finances. Everything costs something. If we want to come up with a clear plan on how we can meet our goals, we need to consider the cost, which includes the cost to our loved ones.

A person once wanted to become a screenwriter. He asked what his wife what she would say if he wanted to relocate to Hollywood, and her response was, “I would miss you.”

Everything we partake in costs something, whether it be energy, technology, money, and more. When you are making your plan, you must ask what the cost is financially as well as to yourself and loved ones.

You must also consider opportunity cost. This is the road that is not traveled. When you pick one path, another one cannot concurrently be chosen. For example, say you have $50 to spend, but you want two things that each cost $40. You have to pick one.

The thing you opted against can be classified as an opportunity cost. This is an important concept to remember when making decisions so that we don’t get blindsided suddenly at the last minute wondering how things would have turned out had we chosen the road that wasn’t traveled.

The Enemy Within

We often have the desire to go forward in a specific direction, but the moment we try to move forward, something stops us. A friend mentions a new job that we might be perfect for, and the friend’s positivity encourages us to find a slew of Help Wanted advertisements related to that job. When we are ready, we pick up the phone, but then we freeze.

Perhaps a teacher tells us that we possess a special gift. For a triumphant moment, we imagine being highly successful, performing in front of cheering crowds and winning awards. After that, though, the internal dialogue starts, the logistics of it and how they won’t work, our imperfections, all the reasons that we are not good enough.

Unfortunately, we all leave our dreams behind at times. Debilitating and demeaning thoughts hold us back and halt our creative processes. Many of us are afraid to fail or actually gain success, or family members or friends may be very critical towards us and hold us back as well. We need to leave this playing field in order to move past criticism and towards success.

It’s important that out of almost seven billion people, you happen to be the only you that exists. You should apply that to whatever your craft is and it will be made unique. We are concerned about people’s opinions and whether or not they will pay for our crafts and like them, but this is actually immaterial even though it might affect our ability to make a living.

Come up with personal affirmations that make you feel good, and actually use them. You can say things like “I deserve happiness,” “I am allowed to make choices,” “I am amazing and a reflection of God’s image.”

Overall, we have the ability to make choices that can change our lives. We can leave the past in the past and live freely knowing the future is yet to be decided. We must live in the present so that we can move to the following step.

Of course, it is vital to understand that some of the self-assessments we make are legitimate. People on talent shows such as American Idol often never had someone tell them they aren’t that great at singing. Instead, loved ones and friends always encouraged them and said that they totally had a talent for music.

Additional Help

We have an emotional grid that has been formed by good things as well as traumatic things that we have experienced, and what matters is what we decide to do with those things. Sometimes, we need to analyze the past so that we can move forward and have the ability to achieve and receive great things.

As we have all heard, being criticized by our parents during our childhoods can be debilitating and very hard to overcome. If we have had a series of embarrassing and humiliating setbacks, they may seem to confirm our fears regarding our inability to succeed.

It can be of great value to seek help from a counselor who is licensed in mental health. This person can help you move past dark places that you have been, events that have traumatized you, places where you may have failed, or places where you were neglected and lacked the proper nurture. This person can work with you to reframe the negative narrative and help you move past trauma and towards health and emotional growth.

When our mental states and emotions are integrated, we have a higher chance of being able to pursue our aspirations and goals. It’s hard and you will realize why is it referred to as “emotional work.” This concept differs from the concept of personal coaching because it is more about understanding the past and the ways that it is interfering with your ability to move forward.

The ultimate goal is to continue trying to make an improved version of yourself so that you can have a purpose and take action to move forward toward your goals, whether you are focusing on a specific path or improved health and emotional growth.

Final Thoughts

Scripture tells us that we lack things because we don’t ask for them. In other words, we lack God’s blessings because we don’t ask Him to give them to us. We can expand that by saying we lack what we want because we don’t ask ourselves what we actually want and we don’t ask ourselves “what’s this about?” when we begin to feel scared or inadequate.

Moving forward tends to be easier when we maintain a mature, adult-like position and don’t let our fears cripple us. We must remember that the past has already ended but the future isn’t written yet, so we must live in the present. We have the choice to do what we want with this information, and our choice determines what direction we will move in.

It is good to have aspirations and goals, and it is okay to ask for some assistance every now and then. We do not have to be alone in all of this, and personal coaches can give you perspectives to ponder that will lead to success.

“Thinking,” courtesy of Klearchos Kapoutsis,, CC BY 2.0 License; “Arrows in Waiting”, Courtesy of Laura Crowe,, CC0 License; “Money”, Courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon,, CC0 License; “Long Distance,” courtesy of Chris Lawton,, CC0 License

How to Create a Professional Development Plan

“Aim at nothing, and you’ll hit it every time.”

You’ve probably heard this saying before; it’s well-known because it carries a kernel of truth. When there’s no plan or no goal in mind, you’re probably not going to accomplish much.

People often approach productivity on either end of a spectrum. On one hand, you might be more spontaneous and neglect planning. On the other hand, you might be controlling and too focused on an outcome.

Diligence and perseverance are rare and valuable character traits. But they shouldn’t be cultivated because you’re focused on a specific result. It’s natural to work towards bettering your life, as long as you’re still thankful and content with what you have now.

It’s normal to hit walls in our work lives when we feel dissatisfied and stuck. Creating a professional development plan can help you move past obstacles like this. (If you’re married, include your spouse in your plan; otherwise, you’re definitely going to have some adjustments to make!)

How to Create a Professional Development Plan

Considering changes in your profession can be a wonderful, energized time of evaluating

possibilities. Before doing anything else, if you believe in a higher power, it is good practice to invite that higher power into your process.

Changing your approach to your career can seem intimidating. But it’s also an opportunity to consider options you might not have thought of in the past.

If you are a Christian, it’s important to start this process with prayer and acknowledging God’s hand in your life:

  • Take time to ask the Lord for wisdom and direction.
  • Remember that this life is temporary. How can you live with eternity in mind, even in your work life?
  • Remember that he works all things together for the good of his children.
  • Remember that he is with you and that you do not have to walk through any change or growth alone.

What Do I Want?

On the surface, this seems obvious, but sometimes our dreams and desires can get lost in the muddle of everyday life as the years pass. So think of an ideal situation. If you could suddenly have your dream job, what would it be? Let the ideas come without immediately dismissing them.

No matter how crazy the idea, it’s helpful in this stage of your plan, because the purpose is to find out what you truly desire. You can also identify which dreams are actually possible and which are probably pipe dreams (such as being rich and famous).

Think specifically about the vocation you really want to have. Maybe you’re already in it and you want to get better at what you’re doing. Maybe you despise your current job and desperately want to make a change but don’t know how. Or you could be anywhere on the spectrum between these two extremes.

This is where a professional development plan is so valuable. It helps you set clear objectives so you can move towards those dreams that may seem out of each but are actually possible.

Setting the Main Objective

Planning is the easy part compared to carrying out the plan. The reason we make plans, or set objectives, is so that our efforts lead to the best possible outcome. This is why we recommend starting with one main objective in your professional development plan.

A single objective doesn’t take the place of having multiple other interests, but it focuses your efforts so you don’t overwork or feel scattered.

What are the most important aspects of your vocation to you? Is it the salary, the work environment, the proximity to your home? Or maybe the benefits, flexibility, or work-life balance? Maybe you feel the need to have a strong sense of purpose in your work, such as helping people.

With this in mind, here are some examples of single main objectives in a professional development plan:

  • Find a career that allows me to work outside frequently
  • Become a lawyer working in private practice
  • Become a mid-level manager at Google
  • Advance in my current workplace
  • Take over my boss’s job when he retires
  • Work for Pixar

There’s no reason why you can’t have more than one objective, but it’s best to focus on one at a time. If you do choose to focus on more than one, you’ll have a more complex timeline. You can create separate plans for 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc. And of course your plans can and will change over time.

Evaluating Alternatives

Setting a main objective is just the beginning. With an overarching goal like this, the next essential step is to eat the elephant one bite at a time. In other words, we need to break down the goal into smaller tasks that are concrete and achievable.

To start with, think about all the options you have to achieve your objective, especially if it involves a change in career. Exploring your options inevitably involves research, like reading books and articles, talking to people who are already in the field, listing pros and cons, looking into job availability, etc.

Here are some things you might do while you’re in the exploring alternatives stage:

  • Take a class on a particular skill (e.g. coding) or an area of professional growth (e.g. management)
  • Get an entry-level job at the company you want to work for
  • Learn another language
  • Pursue a license you’ll need for your target field
  • Pursue a new degree
  • Talk to HR about advancement opportunities

Depending on your main objective, your alternatives might still be at a high level (pursuing a new degree, for example). If this is the case, you’ll need to break them down into smaller steps you can take.

But don’t worry about that yet. Work on your plan gradually and take the time to thoroughly research your alternatives. You don’t have to do this all at once. If you get stuck, a counselor can be a great help as you work through the process.

Once you feel like your list of alternatives is complete, you can make it into a task list by eliminating any options you’ve decided not to pursue. Some alternatives may be mutually exclusive, so when you decide to pursue one, you can automatically eliminate the other. Or you may simply decide to limit yourself because you know you can’t pursue every path at once.

Count the Cost

So now that you’ve set your objective and created a task list based on your alternatives, the next step is to count the cost! What is involved in carrying out this plan? What investment will it require of your time and finances? Do you have the mental and emotional capacity to carry it out?

What about your family and other relationships? If you decide to pursue a master’s degree, for example, your experience will be very different depending on whether you have a family or not.

If you do plan to pursue further education, you’ll have to consider your finances in detail, including hidden costs such as the sacrifice of your time, the cost of commuting, etc.

If you are married, your spouse is an integral part of your personal development plan. S/he needs to be on board with it in order for you to succeed because you’ll need his or her support. If you are making a significant career change, this will bring stress to your relationship. Both of you need to be prepared for this to happen.

While you’re pursuing your plan, unexpected things will happen. Obstacles will arise, and frustration will likely ensue. A calm response is the most beneficial for everyone. You can always reschedule an event or retake a class, but none of your accomplishments are more important than your marriage. What does it matter if you succeed professionally if you lose your marriage in the process?

Schedule it Out

Of course, your plan will have to become linear so you can decide what to tackle first. Put all of your tasks in chronological order; if you’re not sure how to prioritize them now, you can always rearrange them later, but this way you’ll know where to start. Consider your work-life balance and family commitments when you’re making your list.

Work the List

Finally, make a separate list and put the first ten tasks on it. Start working down the list. You’ll face obstacles but persevere. There’s always a solution, even if it’s to get rid of a task and replace it with another that accomplishes the same goal.

Pacing yourself is absolutely crucial to your success. Productivity is healthy, but not if it’s unbalanced and causes you to become sick, overwhelmed, or out of touch with your family. Make sure you schedule periods of rest and reconnection so you can approach your personal development plan in a healthy and sustainable way.

Review Periodically

It’s important to revisit your task list every so often to make sure you’re on the right track. Is your plan getting you closer to achieving your goals? Are there any steps that you can eliminate? Do you need to add something?

This task list is meant to be fluid and to morph over time as you discover the best way to achieve your professional dreams. The goal is to be efficient with your time and money while also being productive.

Sample Professional Development Plan

In our example scenario, J. Sample works as a clerk for a waste management company. His main objective (after three years with the company) is to move into a mid-level management position.

Here are his alternatives:

  1. This plan could easily take 5-7 years: he continues to work hard in his current position and wait for internal job openings.
  2. Or, he could begin working on his master’s degree in Business Administration while waiting for job openings. His parents might be willing to help with tuition.

J. Sample decides on the second alternative, and this is the task list he comes up with:

Professional Development Plan

Objective: Move into mid-level management at my company

Task List:

  • Pray and seek wisdom
  • Discuss the plan with my wife and seek her agreement
  • Discuss the idea with my current manager
  • Look into MBA programs nearby
    • Quality of program
    • Tuition costs
    • Night classes
    • Commute
  • Decide which class schedule would work for me and my family
  • Select a program
  • Budget for the program
    • Tuition
    • Mileage
    • Books and supplies
  • Discuss tuition costs with parents
  • Apply to the program
  • Set up a payment schedule with parents
  • Buy books and other materials
  • Schedule reading and studying
  • Set up a note-taking system
  • Organize books, notes, and materials
  • Prepare for each course
    • Read syllabus
    • Write down assignments and exams
    • Check for updates
  • Successfully complete classes
  • Graduate
  • Let my boss and HR know
  • Monitor available job openings
  • Apply to available jobs until I get one
  • Celebrate!

A plan like this would only take a couple of hours to formulate. This doesn’t mean it’s fail-proof, of course! Maybe the boss will suggest a different way to move towards management. Maybe the parents won’t want to help pay for tuition. Maybe the classes will be too difficult or overwhelming. Maybe the main objective itself will need to be changed.

Nothing is guaranteed, but the effort is what matters, no matter what obstacles and changes happen along the way. If you don’t try, you’ll never know what might have happened. And you don’t have to do this alone. Pray, talk to your loved ones and friends, and if you get stuck, talk to a career counselor who can help you work on a realistic and hopeful professional development plan.

“Girl Writing in a Diary,” courtesy of Viktor Hanacek,, CC0 License; “Studying,” courtesy of Patrick Denker, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2.0); “Canal couple,” courtesy of Valerie Everett, Flickr Creative Commons, CC0 License; “Forest path,” courtesy of dmz,, CC0 License

How to Overcome Job Burnout

For many hardworking people today, it is common to experience job burnout at some time in their career. The increasing workload, complex demands at home (especially as the kids get older), and the monotony of routine cause workers to feel that what they are doing is not worth it.

People experiencing job burnout describe it in different ways. Some feel like they are in a panic or even “lost” as they are no longer sure about what it is they are doing.

This affects their current duties as their panicked feeling causes them to doubt their work routines (even if they have been at it for a long time!). This may also affect their thoughts about the future as they are now unsure about their career path, causing sleepless nights.

For others, burnout results in a lack of motivation. They feel “lost” like the panicky people; however, the response is more of indifference and even disgust about what they do. This creates thoughts of quitting because they just don’t care anymore (many students fed up with their class and teacher can easily relate to this feeling!).

Taking the First Steps to Beat Job Burnout

In today’s world, people applaud the idea of always being busy – at work, at home, and even in the community. When one is busy, it means that one is hardworking; one has initiative; one has ambition.

People, however, were not meant to be working non-stop. In Scripture, God implemented a day of rest for His people to reflect, pray, and rest. It was true for people then and it certainly applies to people now.

Here are the initial steps to take to overcome job burnout:

1. Acknowledge your current situation in life. Know that you do deserve to have a job that you like yet still have quality time with the family. But tell yourself that healing must start now, that life can be better for you and your family with God’s help.

2. Recognize that boundaries are needed to help you manage both your job’s difficulties and ensure family time.

3. Understand that being burned out is not unusual as many people will experience something like this at some point in their life (to varying degrees). And know that God sees your need and is just waiting for you to ask for His help.

4. Take the necessary steps to slow down and live life the way God meant you to.

Don’t Just Dream…Do!

For many people, their idea of goal-setting is to dream of where they want to be in five years’ time or so. While it is good to have dreams, they are still NOT concrete. Without the steps needed to achieve them, they remain as wishful thinking.

When young, it might not feel so bad as there are still many more years to accomplish them. But when you have been working for quite some time, not being able to achieve these dreams is very frustrating and can contribute to burnout.

Aim for More Joyful Living

In order to overcome burnout and prevent future episodes of such, a person should have the following:


A person needs to consider where they want to be, what they want to create, and who is it all for. Without such, whatever they are doing will eventually seem meaningless. Happy people work with a purpose knowing that the things they do, big or small, are done for a reason.

For example, if someone envisions having their own restaurant one day, they may see their current task of washing the dishes as understanding the small details of the business. In the future, they will know if their future employees are doing the job correctly since they have already experienced it.

Resilience & Mindset

People who have either overcome burnout or learned how to avoid it know what it takes to set firm boundaries for both professional and personal time. This includes developing a strong support group in times of crisis (e.g. friends or mentors one can count on for direct help or emotional support) and the ability to say “no” when there is too much to handle or if it contradicts your goals.

But burnout is not just about too much workload, it also depends on whether what a person is doing is within their strengths and desires in life. If what they do makes them happy and takes them a step towards their purposes in life, then they will be happy and productive in what they do. To do so, they must have the proper mindset.

Having the right mindset means knowing your purpose, your strengths and weaknesses, and being honest about your own effort in achieving your goals. Questions like “Why am I here?”, “What do I love?”, “What do I do best?”, and “Am I really giving my all?” are important to reflect upon to ensure that effort and time are not wasted.

The right mindset also means giving oneself the permission to seek a better life – something that many are not able to do because of low self-esteem, family demands, or socio-cultural expectations.


Big achievers do things with intention. These intentions are manageable goals that are part of their overall plan which is usually seen through, either by themselves or with the right help. Without them, one’s dreams may be impossible to achieve.

These intentions, however, must include mini-goals for a good work-life balance. This may include setting a time within the day for exercise and rest; blocking out days of the week for family and personal time; and allotting time within the month to see old friends.


Big achievers then activate their plans – they actually do it. Instead of procrastinating, they may work with others (e.g. personal coach) or do so on their own to set concrete timelines for these intentions and big goals.

Big achievers know that if they do not take that first step then everything is still but a dream. Achievers also realize that there is no one to blame for failure but themselves, so they take that responsibility and do what needs to be done to reach their target.


Finally, achievers transform. Life is dynamic. The successes of yesterday do not automatically repeat themselves. A person needs to transform, knowing that this is not a one-time thing. In order to do well, one must be willing to adapt. This may mean intentionally learning new skills; enhancing your network, or choosing to cut back on things that are no longer helpful to you (e.g. bad habits).

Transformation also includes overcoming fear. A big reason why people do not want to change is that they feel comfortable where they are and are simply awaiting their “big break.” This, however, means a person becomes stagnant while the competition around them becomes better. A person must be willing to get out of their comfort zone, and this means conquering their fears.

Always Include God in the Equation

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30, NIV

Sadly, in the midst of busyness, people often forget about God. Plans are made without Him; and in times of stress, people run to one another for comfort but not to Him.

In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus was making his way to visit Mary and Martha:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Though Martha knew the importance of being with the Lord, listening to Him, and taking time to know Him more, she was immersed in the preparations while her sister prioritized Jesus.

It is good to work hard. But at times, Christ wants everyone to sit at His feet and experience the peace that only He can give. Without this, burnout is sure to occur. Hence, it is important that part of one’s intentions is to regularly schedule time for prayer, both personal and corporate, and Scripture meditation. If a person’s spirit and direction are not renewed, then life’s complications will definitely feel overwhelming.

Christian Counseling for Job Burnout

The above-mentioned advice can be done on one’s own. However, some people require a helping hand, a coach to get them back on track.

If you or someone you know needs help in transitioning out of job burnout, contact a Christian counselor soon. With the help of an encouraging voice, Scripture, and prayer, you can refocus your life priorities so that your goals may be achieved.

“Young Girl Crossing Hands,” courtesy of, AMANDR 20160413 SplitShire-6661-2; “Working,” courtesy of Bench Accounting,, CC0 License; “Higher Goal”, Courtesy of Joshua Earle,; CC0 License; “Serenity,” courtesy of Jojo Nicdao, Flickr Creative Commons, CC0 License