What had I just done? I’d walked away from my life as usual. Just up and quit. It was a scene in the making for awhile, but I wouldn’t stop to sort through the mess. There was too much to do and this driven-girl didn’t want to slow to listen to her own soul.
After six-cups of coffee, I needed black strong coffee warmly coddled in my hands, and crying through tears of exhaustion I knew it was the day. The day for impromptu meetings and phone calls to announce to the world, I was done. Finished. I had nothing left.
Burnout had taken it’s toil. Busyness had worn through my soul and I wondered if any glimpse of myself could be salvaged. This was unfamiliar territory. I didn’t know what I had done. And I could not see what to do next.
As 2016 marched on day-by-day, I found healing and restoration one baby step at a time. Prayers and much needed quiet time slowly brought my soul back to life. Along the journey, I took comfort in many books.
Stories of others who had let the frantic pace of life eat them alive. It was through their soul-touching vulnerable journey’s that I realized healing would take time. This time couldn’t be rushed or pushed. This healing would happen at the rate my body was ready.
If you’re there — ready to quit life, wanting to run from responsibility and escape into the unknown — these books are for you. They will bring healing, laugher, and tears. You are not alone.
By Anne Marie Miller this book will speak volumes to those who serve within a church. Anne brought light to how my burnout had been building until I couldn’t carry the weight any longer. If you lead in a church, please read this. Read it for yourself, for your team, for your church. “If you have allowed spending time with God to be replaced by spending time doing things for God, your spiritual tank will be sucked dry.”
Dr. Dina Glouberman gives such encouragement. Burnout may feel like the end of the world, but it is not. It’s the beginning of a new one, if we will let it mold us into a new creation. “Burnout is so powerfully transformative that it appears to be a signal not of failure, but of a challenge to create a new way of life.” Sigh. Breathe in fresh beginnings.
If you have not read anything from Leonard Sweet you are in for a treat. His words depict in this book how we are missing so much of life and connection with others from not sitting down at our tables. His words pounded within my soul. As I navigated this messy season, all I longed for was to gather around a table with true friends. To commune with those that bring encouragement to my life. I longed for “a community of broken people breaking bread together.”
If you feel overwhelmed, frantic and torn apart, this book is for you. Shauna Niequist says, “This life you’re building is entirely your creation, fashioned out of your dreams and fears. What do you want? What do you love? What ways of living have you simply acquiesced to, because someone told you to? Because it seemed smart or practical or easy? Are those the best words to describe how you want to live?”
As I curled up in the island house one weekend, wind storms were pressing in and Jonathan Martin’s words ministered to my soul. “God doesn’t orchestrate the chaos to teach us a lesson. We don’t live in a tightly ordered universe where God is moving us around in an intergalactic game of chess. Rather we live in a world where somehow —far beyond our own limited capacity to understand the world or the way it works — God is always working to bring something beautiful in and through the chaos.”
This girl — Leslie Leyland Fields — she has my heart. I was captivated by her very own story of finding Jesus on the waters. Leslie is a commercial fisherwoman in Alaska. After having traveled to Alaska this year, her words left me longing for more — more Alaska, more grace, more adventure, and more time to find Jesus along the shores of my own coastline. Her question, “If Jesus takes away all that he has given, is he enough?” That question. I’m not sure if it heals or hurts, but my answer has to be yes. Yes!
Ann Voskamp asks, “What do you do with your unspoken broken? What’s the answer to the brokenness of all our hearts?” As she takes you on a journey to realizing that the miracle happens in the breaking, she dares you to take the path of the abundant life. “What if we only find our whole selves through this mystery — the mystery of death and resurrection, of brokenness and abundance?”
No matter how you are starting 2017 — trapped in burnout or healing from it — you will find encouragement and steps for recovery in these books. My weary soul refers to them day after day.
Let your burnout resurrect you into a new creation this coming year.
What books encouraged you along your path in 2016?