I’ll be honest. Sometimes I wondered why I couldn’t do it all. You know … be everything for everyone … and somehow include taking care of myself.
How can we take care of all of the responsibilities, the expectations of others, and avoid a burnout? How can we be someone who does it all without having a major melt down? How can we be everything for everyone else without losing ourselves?
I am sure that many can identify with parts of my own story of emotional, physical and spiritual exhaustion, and how I was able to recover from burnout.
Over the years, I felt like I had disappeared into the background, and exempted myself from the equation. I made everyone else a priority, as if I didn’t even count!
On the day my daughter Shannon had run away from home, I had no other choice but to come to terms with how unhappy and burnt-out I really was.
As I faced this tragic reality, my body was frozen with fear, my mind riddled with doubt, and my heart broke into a million pieces. It was a major melt down that left me wondering who I was as I stood in the deafening silence of her abandoned room. I gave my heart and soul to this child, and the resultant despair left me feeling sick and tired. How ashamed I felt at how lost we had become, and as she disappeared from my life, I felt undone. My heart was vacant and hollow, and was left with nothing but regrets, heartache, and sorrow.
It was nearly impossible to understand how this had become our lives. Oh, how I had to humble myself. I was just not enough on my own to survive. Over the years, I carried the heavy burdens of my life, and was not cut out to be my own woman, or even a good wife. I was simply nothing apart from the strength of Christ.
It was always the mysterious case of never being nearly all I could be, and over the years, being enough was never enough … not even for me.
In the midst of my suffering and pain, I was suddenly given the will to go on again. It was a day of losing the one who was most dear to me, but gaining ” The One” who loved me the most. I was comforted in desperate need.
I didn’t have to go through another day bearing the brunt of my life alone. I was finally captured by the presence of God’s healing hands, and surrounded by his welcoming love.
I didn’t have to take responsibility for the success or failures of anyone else, I knew it was finally time to take care of myself. I spent my life feeling guilty and doing what others had always expected, but without any boundaries, I was left completely disrespected. I couldn’t go on just relying on my own knowledge, but the truth in God’s Word without being self-reliant. I had to discern the Holy Spirit to know when to say yes … and when to say no. To stop trying to be everything for everyone else, without the fear of abandonment or being alone.
Maybe most of us can identify with coming to a place where we have tried in our own strength to conquer our lives, but have come up with less than what our hearts desired…
Even after every attempt to be even more … we only become tired and worn.
I bet we keep wondering how we will keep up the pace of life’s many hard trials? How will we ever find the strength to keep going through the heartbreak, and the pain of denial? How will we find the energy to conquer our lives … and finally, how do we endure all of the disappointments … and keep running the same rat race … for miles and miles?
Here Are Solutions We Can Use To Recover From Burnout:
~ The power of faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Professing it daily gives us the ability to do more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). After my daughter Shannon disappeared, I hit rock bottom. Everything in my life came to a crashing halt. There was literally nothing left in the tank. I was empty inside. I had nothing left to give to ANYONE. I was flat out for months … and quit my life. This was a severe case of burnout from years of anxiety and depression. I knew that my spirit and soul were completely broken. I pried myself out of bed and slumped myself over the arm of the couch everyday for months. I submerged myself in the Word of God to heal my broken heart and nourish my soul. Even though I wanted to give up, my faith in God’s promises gave me hope and strength to go on.
~ Nothing ever changes in our lives … unless we change in our hearts and minds. Romans 12:2 says, “To be renewed in our minds.” We need to change our perspectives and views – to think like God about ourselves and our lives. Every year of my life that had past wore me out like an old tire. I had been down every long, lost road to find the true meaning of life, and all to no avail. Nothing ever changed, until I learned to change my thoughts about myself. I meditated on (Jeremiah 29:11) and believed that my future had promise.
~ Take some time for solitude … until we change our attitude (Ephesians 4:23). It is amazing how our thoughts about ourselves can be defeating, negative, and critical. Negative thoughts are the hindrances that will drain our energy and sabotage our lives. It is essential to take a timeout everyday to study the Word of God to change in our hearts and minds. It is amazing that just one encouraging word from God can change our attitudes, give us more energy, and cause us to thrive.
~ It says in John 15:5, “We know that apart from Him we can do nothing.” I always wondered why I could never seem to take care of all the responsibilities without having a temper tantrum or a major meltdown. It wasn’t until I began realizing that without settling down and being completely dependent on God’s strength (Isaiah 30:17), I was just busy running in circles without ever accomplishing anything satisfying. There wasn’t anything throughout my days that brought me a sense of meaning, nor was I doing anything that was energizing to my heart and mind.
~ The Bible says, “Come to me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We need to rest not only in our bodies, but to face the truth about our lives and have peace in our souls. I was just outright tired from trying to be everything for everyone else, while pretending to be someone that I was not. After years of putting my own needs and desires on the back burner, I really didn’t know who I was anymore. I was so good at pleasing everyone else that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was so busy giving to the needs of others, without ever considering my own (Philippians 2:4).
~ “For each will have to bear his own load” (Galatians 6:5). Setting boundaries define who we are. It defines where we begin and end, separating us as individuals. No relationship should make us everything for another at the expense of losing who we are. On the day my daughter disappeared, the rug was swept out from beneath me. My identity was completely enmeshed in others, including my daughter. Although I don’t want to undermine the importance of being a wife and a mother, the question is: Who are we beyond them? What do we have to offer the world? I never took the time to find out who I was, other than being everything for everyone else, but me. I was lost and tired of not knowing who I truly was. I knew I was created for more, and I wasn’t taking responsibility for my own life … I wasn’t carrying my own load.
~ “We can do all things (which he has called us to do) through him who strengthens us and empowers us to fulfill his purpose – we are self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency” (Philippians 4:13). Unfortunately, it took a tragedy in my life to realize that my life had weighed me down at a rate that was unbearable to uphold. I was carrying the weight of my unsatisfied life, and all the things that had gone wrong. My discontentment had drained the life out of me, but just when I was at the end of my rope, God gave me more strength with a vision of hope (Matthew 5:3).
There is no doubt when we come to the end of our rope, our commitment to God is gently provoked. As we humbly submit ourselves to his mighty hand, we are given strength in him for an even greater plan.