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