It has been a year! One big event after another for months on end — not to mention the keeping up with the regular routines of life. And so many great things going on — oh how I wish we could have coffee and just chat about it. Life is so good! But somewhere along this journey all those awesome busy moments took my words. It’s as if I was thrown overboard and floundering for words seemed like a part of my life I could let go.
To tell you the truth, there still aren’t words. Burn-out has set in deeply and on some days my own words are not even enough for myself. I feel like I’ve been thrown overboard and waving for help but no one hears. And with each breath, I’m sinking further.
I’ve often wondered about those who find themselves tossed overboard. How did they get there? Were they thrown overboard by someone else? Did they accidentally slip and fall or did they jump? There always seems to be a blurry line in how one ends up overboard.
And in most cases, finding one’s self overboard does not end up well.
I wonder about those who find themselves burned-out. How did they get to that place of fatigue? Were they driven there by uncontrollable circumstances in their life? Did they work so hard that their soul gave way or did they not ask for help along the way?
Most people that I’ve known that have reached the burned-out status give up.
Have you been here too?
Your steadily accomplishing your daily to-do’s and living in your sweet spot (that specific place that God has called you to where you come alive) when suddenly one day you wake up and nothing is right. Your perfect days turn in to days filled with buckets-of-tears. Your words are gone. Others ask and you can’t explain. Probably because you have no words.
You play these days off. You know they will pass because ‘hey, you’re living an awesome life and you have things to do.’ You know this must be a spell because you’ve never felt this way before.
So what do you do? You go on! You’re not a quitter so you crank out the to-do’s, events, and try to make the most of your days. You keep on keepin’ on!!!
Then splash — you’re overboard.
Do you remember the movie, Overboard, with Goldie Hawn? If not, watch it. It’s a great comedy, but maybe it resembles life. I’m not going to give away the whole movie, so I’ll short hand it.
Goldie (which could be you and I) has a great life full of niceties, routine, and help. Then one day she finds herself overboard! When she snaps to she can’t remember much about her old life, but she realizes this life she is living now just doesn’t feel right.
“I don’t belong here. I feel it. Don’t you think I feel it?” Annie Goolihee, Overboard, the movie
I recently found myself overboard. Shoot, who am I kidding I’m still there but thankfully the lifeboat is on the way.
Not feeling much like myself and feeling like I didn’t belong where I was, I told a friend “This could not be my life. I know I was not born for this.” And I joked about it and laughed it off speaking of the movie Overboard. But the truth was I meant every word!
The water and waves were beginning to overtake me.
I threw out a call for help to a great mentor. I headed to the beach to meet her. I sat and watched the waves splash violently against the shore. And that’s all I could see was the waves washing over me. My soul drowning.
I asked my mentor to just listen to me for a bit and let me ramble. I needed her to hear me out, make sense of my words, and then tell me I was crazy. Then the words that had been pinned up came flooding out in no rhyme or reason. Word vomit was happening. The ingestion of water during drowning was spewing out in full force.
I needed to talk about changes in my life, the crazy event schedule this year, the ministry questions plaguing me, the drowning effect, serving those in need, work, the cost of persevering, the sweet spot when you know you are called by God, the burn-out that happens when there is no help, my bad attitude, my heart, writing, speaking and on and on and on and on. I gurgled, I garbled, and I spit it all out.
Wiping away tears, I waited for her response.
“Everyone thinks I’m crazy, do you think they’re right? Oh no, Madam oh no. Everyone is born with blinders on knowing only that one station in life to which they are born. You, on the other hand Madam have had the rare privilege of removing your bounds for just a spell to see life from an entirely different perspective. How you choose to use that information is entirely up to you.” Overboard, the movie
Time to rest.
I knew I needed correction and/or scolding. I was ready for whatever she had to say. I didn’t have a clue how I ended up with this drowning feeling, but I knew I needed help.
She looked me square in the eyes and I knew truth was coming, “You are tired and burned-out!”
As she continued on, she gave me permission to rest. I have to admit it was weird hearing someone telling me that I was going crazy because I needed rest. Rest.
How could I not have seen that? As a former lifeguard I know that drowning victims have a better chance of survival if they will relax and rest in the arms of the savior, even when it feels the waves are overtaking them.
So, how about you?
Is that drowning feeling of burn-out pushing you overboard? Do you need rest?