Beating Burnout

“One thing’s for sure: if you decide to be courageous and sane, if you decide not to overspend or overcommit or overschedule, the unhealthy people in your life will freak out, because you’re making a healthy choice they’re not currently free to make. Don’t for one second let that stop you.”

I love having a full life. Does that make me unhealthy?
  
I love having a purpose for every day, packing it minute by minute to the limit…

Early morning runs in bright sunshine followed by coffee and soaking in the Word. Journaling and praying the words that washed through my thirsty spirit.

Planning curriculums and dreaming how my efforts will be received– the joy that will stem forth and the lives that will be influenced.

Riding buses to the outskirts of the city I still have yet to discover all of, following addresses to homes of people displaced from their real homes. Listening to hurts and needs, doubling the time when conversing via translators.

Strategizing next steps and available resources. Attempting to aid and redeem peoples’ broken lives.

Being used. 

Running errands on the way home. Picking through the vegetable stands. The colors. The people.  

The life. 

Getting dinner started. Creative in the kitchen. Playing music, rewinding from the day’s impact. Melodies warming my heart.

Catching up with roommates, washing the dishes. Responding to emails, glancing through blogs, scripting out my own. Meeting up with my pastor’s wife for coffee.

Pouring out and being poured into. 

Picking up a book before jumping into bed. Sending last minute texts to the world that’s starting their day as I’m ending mine. Striving to stay connected. Browsing Pinterest, scrolling Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds. Posting something for my ‘followers’.

Alarm on. Lights off.

There’s nothing wrong with my day. I really like it.

I have balance.

Work and Play. Hobbies and Exercise. Relationships and God.

But I confess, I am tired. 

How can this be? Why isn’t the balance balancing?

Because it never stops. Because it can’t be put on pause. If put on pause, the next day the list will be ten times longer. Plus, I’m dealing with people whose fragile lives keep on keeping on.

Or maybe it’s because the balance I’ve created for rest and stability has become something else. 

Control.
Perfection.
Expectation.

“In our lowest, most fragmented moments, we feel out of control- controlled, in fact, by expectations and to-do lists and commitments.”

Instead of letting my plans serve me, I’ve been serving my plans. 

But how do I juggle my time? My commitments? How do I give my very best to what the Lord has entrusted to me? I want to invest. I want to be seen as responsible. I want to reap!

Having an otter personality, I know I can’t only work, so I fill time with other things I value and need for my sanity… that’s good, right?  Then why isn’t it working? How come I’m exhausted in the midst of doing what I love and what brings me joy?

Fear and Shame.

“When things are too crazy, the only voices I hear are the voices of fear and shame. I stop being able to hear the voice of God, the voice of rest, the voice of hope and healing and restoration, the voice that gives new life to dry old bones. And instead I hear that good old song I’ve heard all my life: You’re not good enough. You’re not good enough.

But that voice is a lie. And it’s a terrible guide. When I listen to it, I burn the candle at both ends and try to light the middle while I’m at it. The voice of God invites us to full, whole living– to rest, to abundance, to enough. To say no.” 

No to the coffee date. No to the visit I know I cannot emotionally handle another of this week. No to the morning run. No to the skype date I know would be wonderful but not living to its intended purpose.

This season, I’m not going to try for perfect.

I’m not going to meet every expectation I have for myself.

I’m not going to force a schedule to appear noteworthy and well accomplished.

Instead, this season I will be courageous to honor the story– “the silent night, the angels, the miracle child, the simple birth” with every choice I make.

Shauna Niequist (the author whose writing is in quotations throughout this blog entry) reminded me that I am so much more than what I do.

Who I am and how I live is found when I take myself out of my detailed days, looking to the big, yet simple story of everything from God and everything for God.

Freedom through Christ. Freed to live for His glory.

Bringing heaven to earth. Gaining glimpses into His kingdom purpose.

“Either I can be here, fully here, my imperfect, messy, tired but wholly present self, or I can miss it.”

Well, I definitely don’t want to miss it!

Lord lead my life. Lead my days according to your plans, for your glory, in whatever way you desire to use me. Help me to surrender the details, the programs, and the souls. To live in the freedom instead of the burdens. Serving with joy and the mercy and grace I’m victim to because of the cross.

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