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I’m sorry I can’t make it. I’m not well…I need to rest.

by COLETTE CORREA BURNOUT Burn out Balancing ministry, family, & life Expectations Rest Self-care
I’m sorry I can’t make it. I’m not well…I need to rest.
“Then he said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.'”
Mark 2:27

People, people, people – I love them. My team serves many of them in apartments or in boarded-up shacks and sadly in filthy, roach-infested homes and on occasion beneath water-dripping ceilings. Sometimes it is in much better conditions, but it’s nothing close to what they lived in before the war. These families have no options. As refugees, they have to take whatever home they are given by their new hosting government.

One week as I was nearing our time to visit those families, I had nothing more to give. I was empty. I was tired and extremely stressed at the thought of having to pour out any ounce of energy or any words of encouragement. I was so overwhelmed that I was on the edge of pouring an avalanche of tears. I was so exhausted and dangerously on the verge of burnout, I felt I had to do something. 

As I was lying there, dead tired, still in my pajamas in the middle of the afternoon, unable to get out of bed, I realized that even if I were to sleep 48 hours straight, I would still wake up exhausted. As the leader and interpreter of my visiting team, I felt guilty and wondered how it would all go without me being there. Nonetheless, I made a decision. I called my teammate and explained ّwhat was happening and that I would not be able to make it on Saturday and ended with: “I’m sorry I can’t make it. I’m not well… I need to rest”. 

Sharing what I had been trying to keep to myself: “I’m sorry I can’t make it. I’m not well… I need to rest,” those were the most liberating words I’d ever pronounced. Almost instantly, a load came off my shoulders and peace came over me. I had just given myself authorization to pause and receive the peace I needed to rest physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. 

God instituted the Sabbath so we may rest, but more often than not, I keep doing, doing, doing and doing without allowing my spirit, soul and body to rest. We are led to burnout when we continue to strive in our own efforts without giving space for God and remembering the Sabbath which was created for us.

If you need rest, would you do yourself a favor and acknowledge you need rest... and rest?

Closing Prayer
Precious Heavenly Father, I thank You for the gift of Sabbath. A day to pause, rest and reflect. Help me to keep the Sabbath sacred and to learn to give my mind, my heart and my body rest from the affairs of this world. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Book: Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith This book is a great resource to learn the seven types of rest to help you keep your energy and life thriving from the hustle and bustle of life.
Article: Burnout Symptoms and Treatment by Elizabeth Scott This article will help you discern the symptoms and treatment of burnout.
Question for Reflection

How do you recognize the symptoms of burnout in your life?

Colette Correa
September 21, 2022

The symptoms of burnout can be different for different people, but as far as I’m concerned there are 3 big ones for me: exhaustion, lack of motivation, uncontrollable tears.
The first time I ever experienced burnout, I was at the end of my rope. I was working the night shift and throughout my time at work, I couldn’t stop crying. In fact, I was taking several breaks to go to the bathroom so I could go hide and cry. As I was trying to process what was going on and why I was experiencing those emotions, I remember feeling very suspicious of my colleagues, I had heart palpitations, I couldn’t stop crying and I wanted to quit my job. Once I got off of work, I immediately took myself to the hospital.
Once at the hospital they told me there was nothing wrong with me physically, but I was having a nervous breakdown and I needed to rest. I was so over the edge that they gave me a pill that immediately calmed me and put me to sleep within seconds.
I had been experiencing a lot of pressure at work and I simply lost it. I wish I knew then how to recognize the signs that lead to burnout because I would have taken care of myself much earlier than stuff it all inside and suffer the consequences of burn out and go through a nervous breakdown. Now however, I know how important it is to stop and say: “I’m sorry I can’t make it. I’m not well… I need to rest”.