The fight to abolish abortion is a matter of life and death. Thousands of unborn babies lose their lives every day abortion remains legal. As pro-life abortion abolitionist, the urgency to protect innocent lives can lead us to take actions which cause burnout. It is crucial to be mindful of our limited time, resources, and personnel to effectively combat burnout while advocating for the rights of babies.
Burnout: Recognizing the Signs and Impact
While we often use the term ‘burnout’ in casual conversation to describe feeling exhausted, it is essential to recognize burnout is more than just a colloquial expression. In reality, burnout is a legitimate medical condition with serious physical, emotional, and psychological consequences.
Burnout — defined as physical or emotional exhaustion resulting from prolonged stress — is a real risk when one takes on more than they can handle. It’s an experience many can relate to, be it in their professional life, personal relationships, or even pursuing a hobby. Abolishing abortion is no exception.
The reasons behind burnout are simple: every individual, organization, and movement faces constraints in the form of time, people, money, and other resources. Understanding and acknowledging these limitations is essential to prevent burnout and make effective use of the resources we do have.
Stewards of Our Resources: Making Wise Choices
To avoid burnout, it is crucial to become wise stewards of the resources at our disposal.
Time, being finite, necessitates careful allocation. We have a tendency to try and do everything ourselves, when with a little money spent, could save ourselves hours, days, or even weeks of work. How much is your time worth to you?
History has shown that relying solely on an infinite supply of manpower (something few of us in the abolition movement ever experience!), as exemplified by Russia in World War I, can lead to dire consequences. Even the wealthiest individuals have limits to their purchasing power. No person, group, or organization possesses an unlimited supply of resources. Therefore, it becomes vital to be realistic about the limitations and boundaries of our resources. By doing so, we can prevent wastage, exhaustion, and ultimately burnout.
Putting Your Well-being First
In the pursuit of abortion abolition, a mission of defending the innocent and seeking justice for the oppressed, it is easy to push oneself relentlessly. The urgency to save the lives of vulnerable children can fuel a constant drive to work harder, longer, and faster. However, it is crucial to recognize that even in times of crisis, taking care of oneself is essential.
It is for good reason the saying “Put your oxygen mask on first.” There is very good reason airline safety procedures instruct passengers to put their own oxygen masks on first before helping others. If you don’t attend to your own immediate needs, you will quickly be rendered inoperable. In the case of oxygen masks, dead.
Attending to our own well-being is crucial for maintaining effectiveness in our advocacy efforts. Neglecting self-care and essential needs can lead to burnout, frustration, and diminished impact in the fight against abortion.
Local Church, Support Networks, and Long-Term Sustainability
In the battle to abolish abortion, the importance of support networks and long-term sustainability cannot be overstated, especially within the context of Christian involvement. Being rooted in a local church community is not only a source of spiritual nourishment but also a means of practical support and accountability. The abolition organization End Abortion Now exclusively works with individuals a part of and associated with a bible-believing church for this reason. A local church can provide a solid foundation for individuals engaged in this critical mission.
1. Support networks for long-term sustainability: A local church community serves as a vital support network for abortion abolitionists. It can provide emotional encouragement, spiritual guidance, and practical resources to help individuals navigate the challenges they may face. The community aspect allows believers to come together, share experiences, and provide mutual support, which can help sustain their commitment to the cause over the long haul.
2. Accountability and balance: In the pursuit of abortion abolition, the passion to defend the innocent and seek justice can sometimes lead to an all-consuming drive that neglects personal well-being. A local church can play a crucial role in keeping individuals accountable and promoting a balanced approach.
It provides an environment where people can be reminded of the need for self-care, rest, and maintaining healthy boundaries. Through relationships with fellow believers, individuals can receive the necessary support and guidance to avoid burnout and sustain their efforts for the long term.
3. Spiritual nourishment: Engaging in the fight against abortion can be emotionally and spiritually demanding. Being connected to a local church ensures access to regular spiritual nourishment through worship, prayer, teaching, and fellowship. This spiritual sustenance strengthens individuals, renews their sense of purpose, and equips them to face the challenges with resilience and hope.
4. Collective impact: A local church community can facilitate collective impact in the abortion abolition movement. By partnering with other like-minded believers, sharing resources, and coordinating efforts, the church can amplify its influence and contribute to the long-term sustainability of the cause. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of unity and purpose, enabling believers to make a lasting difference in the fight against abortion.
By emphasizing the importance of being rooted in a local church community, we highlight the role it plays in providing support, accountability, and balance for individuals engaged in abortion abolition. This connection contributes to long-term sustainability and helps guard against burnout by nurturing individuals’ spiritual, emotional, and practical needs.
A Personal Account: Lessons Learned from Burnout
The inspiration for this article comes from my personal experience of burnout.
Last May and June, as the author of this article, I produced content at a frantic pace. Not short articles either, but 1500- to 2000-word articles, over 10,000 words published, even more never published. This effort revitalized our social media presence, led to the creation of dozens of original graphics, and a complete website redesign. However, it became increasingly clear that this frantic pace was not sustainable. Midway through July, I reached my limit.
It’s important to provide some context. The reason I have the time to write these articles is because I am currently disabled. I have been since 2021. The cause of my disability is itself related to burnout and the medical consequences it can have. We were all affected by the challenges of 2020 in very negative ways. Some of those negative effects did not go away with the change of the New Year or the lifting of lockdowns, or even with the “official” end of the pandemic (source: Reuters). While many of us lost loved ones to COVID-19, many more of us lost loved ones to the human response to COVID-19. We all paid a very high price. Some more than others.
For me, the high price culminated in the onset of a rare condition called Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder (NEAD). Literally overnight, I went from being a high-functioning adult, working in a well-paying job, to barely being able to function. To clarify, NEAD (also known as PNES) is often developed after long-term exposure to traumatic stress. It has a close relationship with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, although it manifests differently. While 2020 wasn’t the sole contributor, it was the final straw. My mind and body had reached their limits. I was burned out beyond recognition, and it forced me to stop and prioritize self-care.
The road to recovery has been long, slow, and difficult. I must acknowledge that my example is extreme and influenced by other contributing factors. However, at its core, it was the result of not caring for myself earlier, pushing through multiple burnouts, and ultimately crashing and burning.
Feel free to adjust or further edit this section to fit your desired tone and narrative.
Burnout isn’t the end
Part of it is my personality, the other part is the nature of my disability, but I couldn’t keep working on Nullify Abortion. I had to set it on autopilot and take a step back. I share all of this in hopes that you may learn from my mistakes, avoid if possible, and if you fall into burnout, realize: Burnout doesn’t have to be the end.
This is really a theme I’m learning from my disability in general. For lack of better words, my seizures are a result of mental and physical burnout (not related to Nullify Abortion, more complicated and long-term, but the principle still applies.) Burnout is actually a good thing. Yes, that’s right: burnout is good for your health. To qualify that, it’s not good to experience burnout, but burnout is really the mechanism in which your mind and/or body stop you from exceeding your limits before permanent damage can be done. While there may be psychological and physical ramifications from experiencing burnout, think about what would happen if instead of falling over exhausted, your continued to push yourself until your brain and/or body just broke.
The author’s personal encounter with burnout serves as a cautionary tale for others who may be experiencing similar struggles or are driven by an unrelenting passion. By sharing their story, the author aims to provide encouragement and lessons learned for those who are also striving to make a meaningful impact in the fight against abortion.
Being rooted in a local church community is essential for the necessary support, accountability, and spiritual nourishment of the abortion abolitionist. The personal experience shared serves as a reminder that burnout doesn’t have to be the end, but rather an opportunity for growth, self-reflection, and learning. By being mindful of our own well-being and limitations, we can continue the fight to save lives and spread the message of abortion abolition with renewed strength and purpose.