RelateHER: Emerging From Burnout

Written By: Abby Paterson 


I've been tired. I am tired. Really tired. I finally realized this week that it's all too much.

But then I prayed.

I went to seek counsel.

One of my prayer meetings involved us calling out lies I was believing, releasing them to God & speaking the truths over them. She wrote down the truths for me so I can now re-read them.

The second prayer meeting I had with my friend Jazelle, she reminded me in her prayer that walking through valley means there is a mountaintop coming.

As she was praying, my legs felt like they strengthened and I felt lighter.

You are, it's been a long 4 years. I have walked through a lot & I am just yearning for a break. Four years ago started the crumbling of my marriage - in turn my life. Very quickly after, I moved away and started a new life in Victoria. After six months, I had to prepare for change again after learning my job was moving to Toronto. With that came the frustration of figuring out who I am and what I have to offer. What job title fits 'Abby'? Then, again, very quickly, I moved across the country chasing a larger world.

That started this crazy uncomfortable life in Toronto. What has been consistent has been Gather. Everything else - my house, my jobs, my relationship - has changed.

I feel like I've been striving. I want to rest. I want to soar. Have I not been trusting God?

I'm so tired of questioning everything in life. Am I doing it right? Do I stay or do I go? Where is the money coming from next?

Falling into bed exhausted still feeling like there's more to seems to be my theme lately.

I've always been this girl - taking on a lot, wearing many different hats, networking, maintaining a very full social life...often at the expense of my health and my 'refuelling' alone time.

Last week I burned out pretty bad. I woke up with the intention of working from home that day and could not make it into work mode all day. I felt unwell, had to take a few naps & pretty much felt my brain had broken for the day.

That was my wake up call. When my brain started working again, I looked at my list of 'hats' and the expectations that came along with them. I quickly realized that there were some really hard things I had to say no to or take off my plate. Good things...which made it more difficult.

I am a self admitted sufferer of FOMO. When any opportunity arises, I feel I have to take it. If I don't, I may miss out on something or meeting someone that will help propel me into my destiny - or at the least miss out on a good time. So saying no to something I could be a part of is the equivalent to me of social suicide.

I felt the burnout coming on, so I had made an appointment with a prayer pastor where I work. She walked me through what lies I was believing for the purpose of speaking truth over them. We both had an 'ah ha' moment when I said, 'I fear if I don't take an opportunity, I am going to miss out on 'my big break'' Guess what this really means? I don't trust God to fulfill His promise to me when he told me, 'I will take you to where I need you to be.' That was a slap upside my head.

How small I am! I feel that if I don't accept every hat someone asks me to wear - or every meeting that comes my way (social or not) - that I'm going to mess up God's plan. Good news: I'm not that powerful. Also - God isn't limited in His ways. I also don't believe God would expect us to burn ourselves out in order to fulfill our calling. Unfortunately there are too many like me.

I started to learn to be okay with just doing the things I felt God had asked me to - despite what I felt were expectations from others. I also have to now talk myself through that if I miss out on something, if there was someone God needed me to meet for whatever reason, that He can make that happen in other situations. I need to stop putting him in a box of my understanding which is so limited.

One of the reasons I've been wearing so many hats is because finances are a struggle. All of this filters down to trust. If God calls us to something, He will provide without us having to kill ourselves in exhaustion. So maybe I need to start asking the following questions:

Is what I am about to say yes to something I feel God has orchestrated or called me to?

If yes, am I trusting that He has the details, such as finances & timing, worked out?

Or - if no - will I own the fact that I may miss out on other things or wear myself down?

This lesson in ‘pacing myself’ has become a deeper lesson of trusting God. I often come back to a question someone asked me a long while ago, ‘Do you believe God is who He says he is?’...

I do - now I need to start acting like it...