The Way Out of "Burnout"

I'm sure most women know what I mean by the phrase burned out. Burnout is what happens to us when we take on too much, and we simply hit the wall. Those duties you once enjoyed have piled up way too high, and now you don't feel like carrying them anymore. They are heavy. They are hard. They are too many. And you are tired. The duties themselves have not changed — you have. The commitments and responsibilities are probably very good. Maybe you have been volunteering, teaching, homeschooling, counseling, hosting, helping, cooking, nursing, cleaning, organizing, car pooling, and then you are doing it all over again day after day. You can't see an end in sight and you feel absolutely fried. Spent. Worn out. Drained. I want to throw you a rope and haul you in out of the water and back on board.

Address Your Sin

It is not a sin to be tired. In fact, it's a good sign that we are working hard and not frittering our time away being idle. Fatigue is not sin, it is simply a symptom of our finitude. We are not made of iron. We are flesh and blood, and we run out of energy. We need a Sabbath, and we need it every single week. We should be working six days, sleeping soundly because we’ve been working hard, and then resting on the Lord's Day so we can be refueled to start over again on Monday morning. This is God’s creation design, and it is good. Though this physical feeling of fatigue is not sin, it can, of course, be accompanied by sinful attitudes.

When we are tired, we can be tempted to think we didn't get much accomplished. We may feel discouraged or trapped and worry that there is no one to help us or take over for us. We may think our work is all in vain because we're going to have to do it all over again tomorrow. Or we might be disappointed because we didn’t finish everything on our list. And then there's that friend who is vacationing in Hawaii. How does she get off so easily?

So by all means, deal with any sinful attitudes before trying to solve the issue of burnout. Self-pity never helps us or equips us when we have work to do, and it will not be our aid in dealing with this. But once we have set aside any sin by confessing it to God, let's turn to consider the burnout itself. How did we get here in the first place?

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