Feeling Overwhelmed and Burnt Out?


God has created us so that our bodies, minds, and spirits will tell us when we are overwhelmed. Are you listening?

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.

Not listening

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?

Not trusting

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?

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