Avoiding Burn-Out

How am I? You ask.

Busy. I am busy. 

Like most people today, I have taken on more than I should, and I am constantly running behind, running late, running on too little sleep.

I should know better. I DO know better. A few years’ back, I got so busy, I was in almost-total burn-out. Months on end with no real rest took its toll on my body, my mind, and my soul. Not to mention my family!!

But that was a few years ago. Time has passed. I’ve forgotten what I learned in that season. I am not in the burn-out stage yet. But I am on that road.

So here is a list of reminders for me, as I seek to free myself from this “busyness” cycle. Feel free to add in any that you think I’ve missed…

  • Pick a God. I’ve been reading a book by Kyle Idleman –  gods at war. It is convicting, but so good. In it, Idleman argues that we say God is “first” in our lives, but in reality, we are worshipping other gods. For me, the “gods” of Approval and Success are at the top of my list. I want people to like me and think I’m great, so I spend my days “sacrificing” to those gods. If God were really first, it would be HIS good opinion I craved, HIS kingdom I sought. And, in doing that, it would be HIS peace I’d have daily.
  • Prioritize. There are some things I HAVE to do. But there are a lot of things I just want to do. And there are things I think I should do. And, if I am worshipping the wrong god, I confuse the three and think they’re all “have to’s”. I burn myself out trying to get them all done. The truth is, though, there are really just a few things I HAVE to do. I need to determine what those “have to’s” are and let some of the others go – even if that means people don’t like me or consider me a failure.
  • Just Say No. It’s not just for drugs. It’s not even just for bad things. Sometimes, we need to say no to good things. Sometimes, I need to say I just can’t go to that game because my body needs rest. Or I can’t go to that retreat because I can’t fill one more weekend. Sometimes, I need to say that those papers won’t be graded for a few days because it isn’t fair to my family. For many of us, “no” is a difficult word to say. But it is necessary.
  • Say Yes. Too often, I skip the “have to’s” for the “want to’s” or “should’s”. I am up late because of a game or papers or a TV show, and I sleep in, forgoing my time with God. Or I spend all my energy on work and, when I get home, I have no energy left for my husband or my kids. When I have the right priorities, I make sure I get a good night’s sleep so I can get up and spend that time with God. I do just what I can at work, then leave, knowing my family is more important than my job. I say no to the less important so I can say yes to what really matters.
  • Start TODAY. I SO want to say, “And I will implement these AS SOON AS…” this project is over, the season ends, this school year finishes. I want to put it off because the gods of Approval and Success scream at me to worship them a little longer. But I can’t. They are false, and they are destructive. And I am tired. So I will start today.

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Heb. 3:13

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