I recently finished reading a book called Holy Listening by Margaret Guenther. She is a spiritual director in New York city and in the last chapter of the book, she addressed spiritual direction and women in particular. I appreciated her insights.
Many of the people I know who have walked through burnout have been women. I wonder if this insight from Guenther has something to do with it. She wrote:
The time I have spent listening to women's stories, however, has convinced me that there are distinctly feminine patterns of sinfulness... Women's distinctive sin is self-contempt. ...It is important not to minimize the sin of self-hatred and self-contempt. It is a sin, for at its heart is a denial of God’s love and the goodness of God’s creation. Pride plays a part after all, for the women discounts herself as part of creation and assumes that the rules of divine love do not apply to her. That love is there for everyone else, but not for her (pp. 128, 130; emphasis added).I can identify this tendency in myself. This basic unbelief that God loves me as much as He loves everyone else in the world. And I know that for me, this unbelief led to some destructive life-patterns that contributed to my burnout. I know I stand guilty of the sin of self-contempt. And it is both embarrassing and freeing to have this called out so clearly.