I feel dried up. I’m wiped out. I haven’t had a day off in weeks. I’ve been working some overtime at work, someone needs help on a Saturday, I need to see my family, and Sunday, the only “free” day, I am participating in a conference…
…the list goes on and on and I am tired. Even as I sit here, I want to scream a little and cry a little because as an introvert I need time alone to rejuvenate and I have not been able to find any space in my schedule for that restorative rest. So my body, my soul, and mind are exhausted.
Didn’t God give us an example? Doesn’t the first book of our Bible start out with “… so the seventh day He rested from all his work”? I mean, even God rests, because it is good.
I remember being in this place before. I was in college, studying, performing, volunteering with a youth ministry, mentoring, etc. and I was burned out. I remember attending a youth camp as a counselor at that time and having devotions in the morning. It was quiet outdoors and I was at a table in the forest, the weather was comfortable, and I read what Jesus said to his disciples:
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” “ (Mark 6:31)
I CRAVED reading that. For some reason the passage gave me peace; it gave me permission to rest. Unlike the Energizer bunny we aren’t supposed to keep going, going, going; we need a break. We need rest. We have to be refreshed. And I loved that within that verse, it showed that Jesus, as a leader, cared about those who were following him. He made sure to give them a break and because he instructed it, they didn’t have to feel guilty about asking to press pause.
So I write this as someone who is really burned out this weekend urging that if you are a leader or a parent or a boss, look out for those under you and take care of them. Make sure you are allowing rest and peace. If you are like me, maybe it’s time to learn the word “no”. I mean, it was one of those first words we learned as a baby, but for some reason as an adult it is harder to remember.
However, to maintain joy, to be refreshed, sometimes we are going to need to say “no” when people ask us to do extra things. It’s especially hard to say “no” when you enjoy helping people. But give yourself some rest, say “no” to a few things now, so that you can do other things in your future with your whole, refreshed, heart. And today, this is what it truly looks like for me …just living the thing.