Ever heard of “high-octane women”? No, neither had I until I read this article on female burnout on the Psychology Today website. There Dr Sherrie Bourg Carter, author of High Octane Women gives some warning signs; signs that also apply to high-octane men.

  • Physical signs: chest pain, stomach pain, sleep problems, frequent headaches, chronic fatigue.
  • Psychological signs: activities you once enjoyed aren’t enjoyable anymore, excessive anxiety, inability to concentrate, pessimism, hopelessness, frustration, anger.
  • Behavioral signs: skipping meals, drop in productivity, long work hours yet several incomplete projects, eating alone, being a poor team player.

She also wrote a helpful follow-up on re-fueling and basic ongoing maintenance. You can skip the yoga!

These articles help answer the “what” and the “when” questions: what to do and when to do it. They help high-octane types re-arrange and re-schedule their lives in a wiser way. But for deeper change we have to go further and ask both high-octane men and women the “who“, “why,” and “how” questions

1. Who?
Who are you doing all this work for? Is it to please your husband or wife? Is it to impress your boss? Is it to keep up with your colleagues? Is it to prove your manhood to businessmen in your congregation? Who is the first person you think of when you think of your home-making? When was the last time you thought of the Lord at the beginning and end of your work? And what view of the Lord do you have? Do you think of Him as a hard-hearted and ruthless tycoon, or as a loving heavenly Father who wants to encourage and comfort His tired children? Who is the Lord to you?

2. Why? 
Why are you doing this? What motivates you to live like this? What drives you into such a run-down state?

“Well, it’s my calling? It’s my ministry. I’m serving the Lord in my home/work/congregation.”

If so, good and well. But remember, it’s possible to sin by doing too much good! Yes, we can sin by doing too little good. But we can also sin in doing good; by living beyond our God-given limitations for too long a period of time. The Shorter Catechism reminds us that the sixth commandment “requires all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life” (Q.68).

3. How?
How do you serve God in your work and calling? Do you do it in your own strength? Are you living off your own fuel, energy, drive, and determination? Are you high-octane or Holy Spirit-empowered? Do you depend on your little fuel tank, or on the unlimited resources of God’s Spirit?

Usually, if we answer the “who,” “why,” and “how” questions, it becomes much easier to answer the “what,” and “when” questions.