Beating Burnout Interview with Dr. Thom Rainer #5: Preventing Burnout

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little video series with Dr. Thom Rainer, president of Lifeway. This is our fifth and final interview (and keep in mind, there was only supposed to be one video that emerged from our conference room chat…his insight is just so good and his heart is full of compassion, I’m so pleased we got five!)

In this one, we discuss the root of burnout and how to prevent it spiritually, emotionally and physically.

If you’ve missed any of the previous videos (which range from 3-6 minutes long), you can watch them:

1) Beginnings of Burnout

2) The Roles of Millennials and Mentoring in Stopping Burnout

3) When Do You Quit?

4) Symptoms of Burnout

5) Preventing Burnout

This is also the last week you can get Beating Burnout: A 30 Day Guide to Hope and Health on Amazon for 2.99 WITH a free audio book (after you email your receipt to me). You can also preorder the paperback over here! (If Amazon takes care of business, they’ll go out  next week!)


Praying you guys have a healthy weekend,


For When You Feel Overwhelmed and For When You Feel Small

First let me begin by saying, wow, you guys. The flu is a terrible, terrible thing.

I thought I caught the flu the day after New Years. I was sick a few days, then I was okay for a couple.

Then sick a few more days, and fine for the next four.

Last Sunday night, my body hurt so terribly and I felt just so awful, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I set up a doctor’s appointment. I was running a low fever and my flu test was negative. My doctor said I had pneumonia. My chest rattled when I breathed and I couldn’t stop coughing. Antibiotics, make-me-loopy cough syrup, good to go.

I woke up Tuesday afternoon and could not stop shaking. Not shivering. Shaking. I took my temperature. 101. 30 minutes later, I felt even worse. I took my temperature again. 103.3. I was on Advil and my temperature was still 103.3? A phone call later, I was on my way to the ER where I learned I didn’t have pneumonia, but I did have the flu.

This is really me at the ER. Super awesome mask!

This is really me at the ER. Super awesome mask!

I don’t remember much of last week, but I think I’m on the mend.

I’ve never had the flu before (and I will be getting flu shots from now on) so I had no idea something could make me stay still the way it did. I didn’t touch my computer all week. All I could do was think.

Thinking for a week is not necessarily a good thing for me. I tend to get wrapped up in layers of self-doubt, self-pity, and even some bitterness and jealousy. Even if I try to refocus my thoughts on what’s good, my tendency to reflect in everything I’ve done wrong or that I’m not doing as well as I’d like takes over.

I was tired enough because of the flu, and with my mental defenses destroyed, I found myself in a big puddle of giving up.

I wanted to give up.

No, I want to give up.

I still do.

One thing you don’t want to do while sweating through all of your clothing because of a fever is go online. If you do, and if you’re like me, you’ll end up feeling like everyone has their life put together. They hustle and you don’t want to even get up to get a Powerade, much less do any work. They post about the great people they wine and dine with, and you forget to find gratitude for the friends who rushed to the hospital to pray with you, who brought you meals and medicine.

You feel so overwhelmed and you feel so small all at the same time.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I tend to have so much to do…I try and prove myself or reinvent myself or tell myself that if I do this or that maybe-just-maybe I’ll feel like I’ve made a difference, that I’m worth something to someone, that I’m contributing whatever it is that God gave me to contribute to this world. I preach a message that tells people about the beauty of simply being, about rest and about health, yet if I think about my to-do list, I feel sick to my stomach. I feel small and overwhelmed and because I’m not as popular as this person or because some other person who has an important title doesn’t email me back, that somehow I’m a failure.


Maybe you’re like me (I can empathize). You work so hard to write, to share, to be a mom or a dad or a wife or a husband or a good friend and your heart burns with such fury to do just one thing that makes a difference. All the while every message you take in from the outside world, from the voices you respect (and maybe the ones people tell you that you should respect) tells you it’s not enough. If it was enough, you’d have that viral blog post, that book deal, or just one single comment or message about that super-important thing you shared with the world. You feel small and overwhelmed.

This – by all industry standards – is not a good blog post to write. I have no answers for you. No three-steps to finding peace in chaos or security where you feel frail.

This is just me saying (to the both of us):

YOU are NOT alone in this.

The chaos you feel is a lie from Satan that wants to draw you away from your identity in Christ.

It is not your job to save the world.

It is not your job to even save one single person.

It is your job to delight and worship your creator.

To walk the path he set for you, even if it’s not glamorous, or exciting, or what you expected.

Rejoice in Him.

Cry out to Him.

Strangely, as we become more desperate for God, that sense of desperateness leads us to great peace.

Is Burnout Beating You?

I’ve been in the process of adding some helpful stuff to the 5th Anniversary Expanded Edition of my first book, Mad Church Disease which launches next month (woot!)

In that journey, I realized people were needing something NOW. Something to help NOW.

The emails I get daily show me that burnout is still epidemic in ministry and in the church world and if anything has become more taboo in the last five years, which breaks my heart.

Over Christmas, I sat down and wrote Beating Burnout: A 30 Day Guide to Hope and Health that covers

  • rest
  • spiritual health
  • emotional health
  • relational health
  • physical health
  • and prayer.

Rinse and repeat for five weeks and you’ve got yourself a 70-something page book.

Beating Burnout Mad Church Disease Anne Marie Miller

Beating Burnout: A 30 Day Guide to Hope and Health releases as an eBook this week! (The print will follow shortly!)

Each day has

  • scripture
  • a short and meaningful reflection
  • and a section for practical application and a page for notes.

It reads fast because I know you don’t have much time, but I pray it takes you directly to the heart of our Father with no fluff, only grace, and gives you enough action when, after thirty days are over, you find yourself in a healthier and more intentional place than you are now.

Can you do me a favor?

If this book sounds like something you need, can you give me your email address so I can ping you when it comes out? I won’t bother you for anything else. And, if you’d like to spread the word ahead of time, I’ve made some tweets to help you do that!

You can sign up for the email notification here!

Share about it below!

[Tweet “Burned out? THIS > @girlnamedanne’s “Beating Burnout: A 30 Day Guide to Hope & Health” #BeatingBurnout”]

[Tweet “Had enough? > @girlnamedanne’s”Beating Burnout: A 30 Day Guide to Hope & Health” #BeatingBurnout”]

[Tweet “2014 = HEALTH! @girlnamedanne’s “Beating Burnout: A 30 Day Guide to Hope & Health” #BeatingBurnout”]

I am SO GRATEFUL for your support and I truly pray this devotional can help you find hope and health!


Four Ways to Keep the Christmas Season from Ruining Christmas

The holidays are stressful. Shopping. Parties. Family. Finances. Weather. As I finish up the manuscript for my book Mad Church Disease: Healing from Church BurnoutI am reminded how much difference a little intentionality makes as we journey across the days of December.


These four things help me to daily the postures I’ll take this season and in doing so, maybe make things a lot less stressful in the process.

  1. Friends: Engage your friends. People travel, everyone seems busy, but reaching out to your friends during the holidays isn’t just good for you, it’s good for them. Even a simple text message to say hi and ask how someone is doing can be the only light someone sees on a really cloudy day.
  2. Rest: Rest is my favorite thing to do. After I stressed myself out so terribly eight years ago (so much that I was hospitalized for a week), resting is priority for me and my family. Even if this means emails, phone calls and texts go unanswered for a day or two, rest. In the Christmas season, it’s hard to have a Sabbath day, but do it anyway. And rest in the fact that you’re being obedient in the process. [Tweet “So much more gets done when we’re resting in the fact God has already done everything.”]
  3. Pray: It’s an obvious discipline, but one that can fall to the wayside in my life when I’m busy. Even though it may feel rote, commit to certain times to pray every day. For Tim and me, we pray before every meal and then we have an intercessory time before we go to bed. Every single day. One sentence prayers are also a big thing: “Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”…”God, change me!” ….”Lord, help…” Meditating on scripture in the stillness of our own mind keeps us constantly in touch with what God might have for us to do.
  4. Be Thankful: It can’t be said enough: Keeping an attitude of thankfulness takes the focus off our circumstances and places it back on the God who gave us His son. In light of the coming of Christ to save us for our sins, long check out lines, annoying family members, even the bigger things like finances and health disappear into the shadows. What if you wrote down one thing you’re thankful for every day? And what if you shared it with a friend? I have a feeling the hope and joy would spill out and encourage both of you.

It is so very much in my DNA to desire health and peace and joy for those who minister either by profession or in everyday life. We are all called to it and there’s nothing more Satan would like to do than to distract us from celebrating and sharing this miraculous and sacred time of the year.

Advent Wreath

I would like to help you stay encouraged from now until the new year. I woke up this morning and felt compelled to start something that could encourage you daily, so I logged into my email account and made a new list for surviving Christmas.

By signing up, starting tomorrow, each day I’ll send you a very short note of encouragement, tips to stay healthy, some scripture and prayer…something new each day. I’ll also include a link to a talk (either video or audio – your choice) I recently gave on choosing joy this advent season that goes further into these four ideas.

It doesn’t cost you anything and I won’t try to sell you anything. But if you’d like to sign up, you can do so using the form below.  If your browser doesn’t show a form or you have problems, just click this link to sign up.

Do you have any tips on how to stay healthy and proactive during the Christmas season?

Fighting for Our Men: A Challenge to Any Woman for Any Man

Imagine five women: two married (one with kids), and three single gals. All around thirty, give or take. We’re at the Opryland Hotel, piled on a hotel bed and various spots on the floor, one with legs draped over the side of an ivory recliner. It’s close to midnight. And we’re talking..about guys, of course.

Recently, it’s been encouraging. Instead of hearing the “There are no REAL men to date. Just boys. Boys without jobs. Boys who play too much Call of Duty. Boys with too many other girls who are friends. Boys who live at home. Boys who don’t open doors,” we had a totally different conversation.

“Do you think that sometimes guys feel like they can’t be men because we’re always telling them that they’re boys?” asked my friend sitting next to me on the bed.

Yes, yes, a million times yes.

Man waterfall

It is easy to look around and see a world where men are tethered to their jobs, their phones, their parents…whatever gives them a sense of security and identity. Please don’t misread: women are as equally tethered to the things we find our value in. Somehow, we’ve found away, in spite of our competitive and comparative nature, to still champion one another – or at least help each other know we aren’t alone. From my very limited conversations with men, my husband included (who bleeds the desire to connect and grow with other men), it doesn’t happen so easily for them.

Generally speaking, women wired to nurture. Men are wired to protect. And because so many of us have experienced a man letting us down in our life (a father, a pastor, a priest, a spouse…), we have stepped into the role of protector so that we may feel nurtured. Safe. Free from being let down again.

If you’ve ever taken a sociology or human behaviors class, you know that once a group of people or culture changes a behavior, in time, that change has a profound effect on future human behavior. Just take a look at gender roles and how they shift with each passing decade. When the women of a culture tell men (by showing them) we don’t need them, it’s completely natural for the men to adapt to not being needed.

Instead of thinking the men of whatever generation are not men, maybe we can change our beliefs about them. By changing the way we think, I believe it will have a profound effect on how we act toward them – directly and indirectly. 

Man / Forest

I know in many situations, I’ve not always believed the best about my husband, Tim…even when one of the (many!) reasons he was able to break into my heart and steal it is because of his strong leadership and desire to protect and care for me.

We were one month into our marriage and finalizing details for our move to Nashville. We drove from Iowa to Tennessee and stayed with friends as we looked at renting and buying and where we should live. The cost of living in Nashville is about three times as much as it is in the Quad Cities area, so the sticker shock was a lot to take in.

I really (really, really) wanted to live in one area close to my friends and the community I’m used to living in. We had a little bit of debt to pay off, but we had the money to make the move happen without it stretching us too far financially. I thought it was a done deal until Tim proposed the idea of waiting three more months so that the debt could be paid and we could head into it without the guillotine of interest rates hanging over our heads.

In the living room of our friends’ home, with them present, I started crying/getting angry/being stubborn/wanting my way/and was pretty much on the border of a temper tantrum.

“Why don’t you want me to move back and live with my friends?!”

In one (loving) sentence, he shut my selfishness and my assumptions on his motivation down.

“The reason I want to wait three months is so I can give you this; so we can do this together, easier, and so you can have what your heart desires most.”

I see the power of my words, my passive responses to him, and the false beliefs I project on him and how they tear away at his innate desires to care for me and love me. When I show a lack of respect for him or my unwillingness to believe he has my best interest at heart fires away at him with 45-caliber force, I’m telling him I’m strong enough on my own. I can protect myself.

These things that hurt men, whether we’re married to them or not.

My friend that asked if sometimes men act like boys because of the way culture tells them to wrapped up our estrogen-filled talk time with a generous and love-filled thought:

“Whoever my future husband is, I pray he has women around him who are showing him he’s strong, he’s capable, and who are praying for him and encouraging him along the way, no matter where he is in his journey.”

May we all take on that countenance with the men in our lives: our fathers, our brothers, our husbands, our friends. May our thoughts, words and actions only build them up so they have one less voice telling them they’ll never be man enough.