Instead of Burn-out, Follow the Ease

Since my last post I’ve felt that I’ve been running, trying to keep up with my life. My “yes-es” have far outweighed my “no’s.” Mind you, all of my “yes-es” have been for good things.

Things like quality time with my hubby and kids, being with friends, teaching yoga, teaching Spanish, small group studies, birthday celebrations, organizing life, dates with my hubby and the list continues. Oh and of course laundry, so much laundry…wait, that basket was just empty…. how is there still laundry in that basket? Who put that there? I’m sure you all can relate.

People I love were starting to notice, but my physical body is what really clued me in. I would lay in bed at night with a tight chest, shallow breaths and swirling thoughts that couldn’t seem to land. Physical signs are how my body tells my mind that I’m over committed…and pushing into “burn out zone.”

And so, what to do?

I can tell you one thing – I lived in the burn-out zone for years, so this is familiar territory. It is where I “over-function” and believe it means I’m strong and can handle a lot.  

Is my hubby behind a cardboard cut out? We love a chance to wear costumes!!

But it’s a lie. The burn-out zone is where I begin to resent the relationships I love most because they “infringe” on my time. I’m so busy that I stop looking inward and only look outward, which leads to a constant  state of discouragement and comparison.  And I am trapped into continuing the fast pace by thinking, “this work feels hard, so it must be good work.”

I’ve discovered three lies in my “over-functioning” and I sense the Lord is inviting me to revisit them, and replace them with His Truth. Perhaps you can relate?

Over-functioning means:

Lie # 1- I’m strong.

When I over-function, I play God. I believe I must over-do for others to feel in control and keep the boat afloat for myself and others. Underneath I’m saying I must over-do because I can’t trust God to do. He asks me to follow and trust. Not lead and control.

Lie # 2- I’m connected to others.

After crafting a Rule of Life last summer, I discovered one of my greatest desires is to spend intentional time in real conversation with other women. I love to listen and know others’ hearts and encourage them to fulfill their God-given identity. I deeply desire authentic community.

(I would love to tell you more about the Rule of Life in another post. It was led by friends at Soul Fitness Colorado, and was transformational.)

Well, over-functioning kills any chance at connection because it means I’m an inch deep and a mile long.

When people I love approach me, my schedule is so packed that I feel the weight of “fitting them in” instead of the gift of connection.

I love the quote, “Busyness is moral laziness for the soul.” When I become busy I nearly always become lazy with my soul. It is untended and dry, so I have no depth when I try to engage with the souls of others.

Lie #3 – It feels hard – so it must be good work.

Needing things to be “hard” to be considered “work” means that I am buying into a scarcity mindset. I’m telling myself that God’s love is limited. It must be rationed out and whoever works the hardest will earn His favor. This sounds like culture-living instead of kingdom-living.

In Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) Jesus says,

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

“Take my yoke upon you.” A yoke implies work, just as a cow plows the field. God wants us to work and He calls us to work, but not alone.

He asks me to yoke up to Him. And when I do, I cannot go ahead through overfunction and I can’t fall behind by “checking out” or “numbing out.” If I work with God and walk with God, the steps will be easy and the burden light.

When I’m yoked to him, the work is easy. I find rest for my soul.

Which of all these “yes-es” brings me ease?

I am tempted to determine ease by what is free of burden, hardship and pain. Or simply because I should. This life comes with burdens. He states this clearly. BUT, He promises His burden is light. Through the suffering, His light still shines.

Could it be He is teaching me through the burdens? Can I carry them with Him, so they become light?

So, to follow the ease is to ask, where do I feel God’s light, and delight in my work?

Having pondered this the past two weeks, I’ve come to my top 3 for this season:

1) Being a wife and mother.

2) Teaching God’s love as He’s teaching me (whether it’s through yoga, writing or conversation).

3) Creating spaces for joy and worship.

How about you?

2 thoughts on “Instead of Burn-out, Follow the Ease

    1. Thank you dear friend. You’ve helped teach me about over-functioning, and the idea that what He has for us will not pass us by. We can rest and receive!

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