Have you ever been in a funk? This was me just a few years ago. Burned out! Irritated at everyone! Bitter! Stretched too thin! Feeling used and mistreated! Ha! Yes, I was delightful to be around.
I knew I needed help. So I reached out to my cousin and told her how unhappy I was. She said, you need more faucets in your life. You have too many drains. Time to get some more faucets.
Wow, she was right. My life was completely out of balance. I was trying so hard to be “all things to all people” – trying to be a great mom and wife, taking care of the family’s needs, serving the church, doing ministry, being available for others, etc. – that my life had gotten completely out of whack. I hadn’t factored in my own needs for encouragement, positive fellowship and even personal alone time!
Armed with my cousin’s advice, I started looking for ways to balance out my life. Guess what? I couldn’t do it! It felt impossible. I couldn’t see what could be “cut out” to make time for more faucets. I was so depressed. It seemed like my whole life was one big drain.
Then I heard the Lord say to me, “You are not a slave to your schedule. You can determine what happens during your day! I’ve given you my Spirit, and the fruits of my Spirit are self-control and peace. Invite me in.”
Then he started asking me questions: “Did I ask you to meet with that person? Did I ask you to volunteer for that position? Did I tell you to take on that project?”
And again and again, the answer was no! I had done this to myself, because I hadn’t consulted with the Lord! I had said yes to this thing and that thing, because I was so bound to pleasing people.
“I absolutely have to volunteer in her classroom…”
“How could I not participate in that church project? They expect me to be there.”
“I really can’t let that person down…”
“There’s nobody else to fix this…I guess that means I should do it.”
Lies! Lies! All of it!
I had to come to several realizations:
- I seriously need the Lord to order my steps. I need his perspective on what would be good to do and what to let go. Then, after that, I need to exercise self-control and obey! This is the way to freedom.
- It’s okay for me to disappoint people. Even Jesus had people who were disappointed in him, mad, frustrated and even hated him. But that didn’t mean he was doing anything wrong. It’s okay for me to not have people’s approval. God’s approval is enough for me.
- I make a horrible savior. That was never my calling, destiny or future. I can’t be there to save people or even come to their rescue. That’s God’s job. No wonder some of these things were wearing me out!
- This burnout thing has been a continual issue in my life, and that’s okay. My history shows that I have swung like a pendulum, going to an extreme of crazy activity and then to the other extreme of withdrawing from the entire world. But you know what? I’m getting better. My extremes are less extreme. God is teaching me about boundaries and he is so gracious with me. He doesn’t give up on me and he’s always cheering me on to get to a place of better health. I’m a work in progress, and that means it’s completely okay to be in process.
Once I started letting myself be ordered by God’s desires for my life, things started to change. I felt more peace. I experienced more joy. I felt empowered. I even started to have more time for the faucets, the refreshing things that God wanted for me. It has been good!
And just so you know the whole truth, I still get it wrong all the time. I still over-book myself. I still say yes to that thing that I know God doesn’t have for me. I came to someone’s rescue the other day, and immediately after I did it, I knew I was taking God’s job and it wasn’t good. But grace covers me. I’m getting there. With love and the support of my awesome God, I’m finding the balance.
Covered in Grace,