Hopefully everything you read around here is encouraging and moves you closer to Jesus. That is my heart’s desire!
I was blown away when I recently shared that I was struggling with being real and sharing about burn-out in my journey when a friend wrote back, “People need to know it’s OK to not be OK.”
With those profound words, I decided to be brave and write about burn-out and drowning. I was not prepared for the response from those of you who are burned-out too. So, let’s work through this together. Let’s refuse to let the waves of burn-out overtake us!
First 3 steps to take when you’re not OK.
1. Don’t numb God out.
Are you spending quiet time in the Word reflecting and asking for refreshment? Oh my, I already sense you rolling your eyes and tuning me out. I know that feeling because I have done the same thing when others suggest to work through burn-out you need more time with God.
We all know this. We say it. We suggest it, but when we’re the ones in the slump we roll our eyes as if to say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. I know! But tell me something I can DO to work myself out of this mess?”
Why do we want something else “to-do,” when doing is what drove us to the point of burn-out to begin with?
So I fought through the numbness and made time with God, but renewal didn’t come quickly. I would get up early and go through my quiet morning routine that I’ve come to love — God, coffee and the Word. But it’s as if the pages were a blur. I would blink, then reread and reread and reread. Nothing was soaking in. The words did not seem “alive and active” as Hebrews 4:12 tells us. The numbness of the routine was enough to make me want to give up. I needed encouragement to keep going, but God seemed ever so silent.
Then a dear friend shared, “When you feel numb and God’s words are nothing but a blur, you keep up the routine. Try to focus on just one word each day. Just one word.” Her words freed me to not expect some big God encounter, but to just see and glean one word. One positive encouraging word.
2. Resolve not to quit.
When it feels like a dark wave is pulling you under, you must fight the urge to quit. If we were chatting over a cup of coffee right now, I’d look you in the eye, reach over and say, “Pinky swear me, you will not quit. SWEAR IT. I won’t quit, if you won’t!”
I would be relentless in making you pinky swear me! You see, I need you to keep-going to encourage me to keep-going. We can do this together!
Seasons of struggle are a great time for God to grow us and mold us into something new. However, it is hard for Him to do that if we give up or quit on the process.
Burn-out isn’t time to make hasty decisions. So, pinky-swear me you’ll keep on!
Struggling is OK, quitting is not. [click to tweet]
Meals still need to be made and children swaddled.
Families still need to be served.
People still need Jesus’ love.
This season of overwhelmingness will too pass. I’m hanging on to the fact that one day this will seem but a blink-of-the-eye, if you and I don’t quit.
3. Learn to say no.
Since we can’t quit (because remember we pinky-sweared), we must fight not to be sucked further into this hole of frustration and despair. We need to realize that it is OK to say no.
With waves crashing over, we can not take on new responsibilities, projects, or requests. This is definitely not the season for added burdens that weigh you down.
When someone calls needing something, it’s fine to say “I”m sorry, I just can’t right now.” Why is that so hard? Oh heavens, do you struggle with this too?
I’ve heard it over and over, our “no” is an opportunity for another to say “yes.” I’ve never really practiced this. So today I’m preaching to myself, because I will learn to say “no.” I long to live the sacred Yes. How about you? (need a great book on Your Sacred Yes, click here)
Also, take note of who pulls you down and sucks the life out of you. Set some distance between yourself and that relationship. You need time to refuel yourself without having to use your last sputtering fumes on a negative situation.
Boundaries are healthy. However when you’ve led a boundary-less life, reigning them back in seems unnatural. Truth is, it’s the only natural way to regain a fresh new spirit.
As we work through out burn-out together, let’s remember . . .
It’s OK to not be OK. It’s just not OK to stay not OK!
What steps will you take today to work through your season of not being OK?