Feeling Overwhelmed and Burnt Out?
Several years ago I should have listened when the Lord told me to slow down and create some margin in my life, but I didn't because I didn't know how to stop working so hard.
There were obvious signs that I needed rest. For example, I avoided places where I knew I would see friends. And, rather than sit in the center of the room at my favorite coffee shop like I had always done so I could strike up conversations, I chose a corner table, so no one would bother me. Even small talk drained me. I was tired and often felt overwhelmed.
To top it off, the confidence I had of being loved by God was replaced by a nagging sense that I was a spiritual orphan. I doubted His love and that He was taking care of me. These lies kept me from slowing down because I felt like I had to carry my own burden.
Around this time, I decided to visit my mother. Every day for 10 weeks I sat at the kitchen table and talked with Mom. Other than seeing an old friend from high school a few times and going to the grocery store, I stayed home. I didn’t want to go out. Something was obviously wrong, but I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I did know that my spirit was tired, and I needed the Lord’s healing touch.
One day I e-mailed a Christian professional online. After explaining my recent history, I asked, “What’s wrong with me?” Now, the answer seems so obvious: “You’re overwhelmed,” she wrote. “You need to create some margin in your life and remove stress.”
My mind, body, and spirit were telling me to slow down. But I still didn't know how, so God lovingly forced me to take a break when He thwarted all my efforts for more work. I tried to book speaking engagements and get more writing gigs, but nothing panned out. I finally got the message and decided to relax.
Then the Lord did something wonderful...
Not only did He financially provide while I took time off, but He also graciously began to show me how I got burned out.
Driven from the inside
When I refused to slow down, it was in part because I felt I had to prove myself. Christ reminded me that I have value because of His love. I am significant because of who He is, not because of how I perform (Ephesians 1:3-12). Therefore, I don’t need to be driven by the fear of insignificance. Neither do you.
God has created us so that our bodies, minds, and spirits will tell us when we are overwhelmed. I didn’t listen to these built-in, God-given alarm systems. Are you listening?
Life is challenging but it can feel impossible when we don’t trust Christ. Ephesians 6:10-18 lists “spiritual armor” available to believers. When I wasn’t fully convinced of God’s love, it left holes in my shield of faith. No wonder I felt overwhelmed.
Has God shown you today that you need to slow down?