Breaking Up With the Burnout Lifestyle

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“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. John 15:5 NLT

 

Poky was my childhood nickname for good reason. Much like the curious puppy in the classic childhood story The Poky Puppy, I was always lost in thought, curiously pondering the world around me. My mom had to keep a close eye on me because I often drifted off into the world of my thoughts and failed to pay attention to the direction she was headed. Several times I got lost in the store and someone had to come to find me.

But to see me now, one would never guess. Now, I am known for being productive, fast-moving, a get-er-done'r.

Recently God has led me to try and reconcile what happened to these split personalities. What happened to poky? Did I grow out of those characteristics, or simply learn how to survive in the dog-eat-dog world we reside in?

It was not too hard to figure out. The constant overwhelm I have been battling made it easy to see that I am acting outside of who I truly am. I am far too busy, short with the people I love, and often stressed to the point of physical harm. I am overwhelmed and often burnt out because I was not created for this pace.

Quiet and rest from the constant input are things my soul needs. I love to refuel outside, selling the air after the sun bakes the trees until the smell of pine fills my nostrils and refreshes my spirit. I love to see the wildflowers and blue skies with puffy white floating clouds, and big mountains in the distance. I need the quiet spaces to reflect on all the churning information and rest from the constant input to my head and the damage that living in the brokenness does to my heart. I need this time to connect with my spirit and recognize the Holy Spirit in me.

Yet, I have set up a life that makes time alone to contemplate and recover nearly impossible. I overcommit myself and then believe that I need to get it all done on my own before I can take a break. Why? Because we live in a culture that feeds us this kind of impossible life. We are told to hustle and then hustle a little harder to meet the ever-increasing expectation of perfection. But we were not created to be perfect.

We were created with limits. We aren’t all-powerful. We were made to rest. We aren’t all-knowing. We need to gain wisdom and ask questions. We aren’t omnipresent. We can literally only be in one place at a time. We aren’t infinite. We are bound by time. Simply put, we are not God. And God is knocking at the door of our hearts, too distracted by our overwhelm, saying hey I have a better way. You can do nothing apart from me, but I am here to help. Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

Jesus says that anyone who does not remain connected to the vine, or source of life is thrown away like a useless branch that withers, and then is gathered into a pile to be burned. Doesn't this sound like the definition of burnout?  First, we get tired because we are working so hard we actually disconnect from the source of life. We don’t rest and refuel because we are too busy trying to hustle to meet the ever-elusive definition of success that we end up far beyond our capacity. We wither up and then we are good for nothing. We become a burnout, ready for the burn pile.

But it does not have to be this way. We can break up with the burnout lifestyle and find Jesus's easier way instead. We can lay down attempting to meet the impossible standards by accepting our created limits and setting reasonable expectations so we also have time to stay connected to the vine. He is always waiting for us to come back with open arms and reconnect to Him and the life He fills us with. By making time for Him and keeping our whole lives connected to Him, then we produce much fruit. The fruit we were designed to produce from our limited capacity plus his unlimited strength.

Let's Pray:

Father, You have not called us to places to burn us out in our limited capacity. Instead, you offer yourself as the strength readily available through you as we seek to remain connected to you. Help us to lay down our fruitless striving to make time for you. And fill us with the supernatural strength to produce all the things you have called us to do and say no to all the things you have not. In Jesus' name. Amen.

 

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Join Us as We Walk Towards Freedom! 

Hi, I am Micah. I am a wife, mom, and passionate follower of Jesus, trying to learn how to follow His ways. For all of my life I have tied to measure up to the world's standards, but Jesus started me on the path toward freedom a couple years ago. Now I am trying to live Loved & Free by learning more about God, His Kingdom, and breaking up with the world's ways.

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