A Classic Case of Burn Out
Thursday, June 6, 2019
“I hardly knew whether I was running for President or the Penitentiary.” – Horace Greeley, Democrat candidate for President, 1872
In yesterday’s devotional message, I wrote about my first campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. Two years later, at the urging of the three GOP chairmen in my district, I agreed to run again.
History repeated itself as I won the Republican primary by a 2-to-1 margin. Next up was my political nemesis, Rep. Rob Andrews, who had defeated me decisively the first time around.
As the fall campaign drew to a close, I was focused on one thing: leaving no stone unturned in an attempt to pull off an upset victory. Working 40 hours per week, usually more, at my prison ministry job, I spent virtually every evening and every weekend knocking on doors. At the same time, our family was in the midst of changing churches and two of my spiritual mentors passed away. On top of that, my best friend from childhood was also dying from cancer.
On election day, I did 9% better at the polls, but still came in a distant second. In the ensuing months, I felt lost and completely adrift. A victim of burn out, I was like a dead man walking.
I share the ups and downs of my nascent political career not to generate sympathy, but rather to help others understand the toll that campaigning takes on a candidate and his or her family. It’s true that no one forces a person to run for public office. But when someone chooses to throw their hat in the ring, the demands on their time, energy, family and finances can be enormous…and even crippling.
The same goes for a pastor, who once he decides to pursue the ministry faces pressures – and spiritual forces – that laymen can never fully appreciate.
And so, holding our elected officials (and church leaders) to a higher standard is only part of the equation. The other part is understanding and appreciating that they are flawed individuals trying their best to serve others. So how about cutting them just a little slack?
“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.” I Timothy 5:17 (NKJV)
- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President