Hello, old friend. It’s been a while. Summer happened, bringing a blur of work-related events. I love working a job that keeps me on my feet. It can, however, wear me out.
I was burnt out this time last year, having nightmares about work while on vacation. Learning from my past, I began making adjustments earlier this month when I noticed burnout symptoms. Adjustments include saying ‘no’ more than yes, focusing on rest, and being extra kind to myself (aka not expecting too much from myself or pushing myself as hard.)
I pulled an arm muscle recently because I exerted myself too much. In order to heal I need to lay off the push-ups. The same goes for my soul. I exerted myself too much, I need to stop pushing myself so I can recover.
This means less go-go-going and more reading, writing, sleeping.
I gained valuable insight about my personality earlier this year. As an ENFP I’m supposed to ask myself how do I want to feel and make decisions based on that. At first this seemed ludicrous to me. Make a decision based on FEELINGS? That’s so unChristian!
Yet this understanding has significantly increased my quality of life. The more I make decisions based on how I want to feel, the more healthy I become. Asking myself this question forces me to slow down and tap into my inner wisdom, where my core values and convictions are found. If I ignore this process, I can get caught in an extroverted cycle of busyness, productivity, and getting things done, which leads to burnout and a loss of identity.
That’s what happened last year. Buck up and get the job done, I told myself. Who cares how you feel. Cry about it and get back to work. Just press through. Blah blah blah.
I lost my joy. I lost my passion. I was stress and sadness instead.
My job shift a year ago was huge; it helped me come up for air. I could breathe.
This year has been a lot better, but when you work in a ministry-related field there is always more you can give, there is always more that can be done. It’s hard to say no when the need is high and the passion runs deep.
Because of my previous experience with burnout and my newfound understanding of my personality, I’m learning to pump the brakes when my soul starts to skid out of control.
Do I want to feel spread thin or settled? Overwhelmed or peaceful? Scattered or secure?
I’m grateful to learn this now, at 30. I’m reading Shauna Niequist’s new book, Present over Perfect, and it’s showing me a snapshot of what I could be if I didn’t slow down. I’m a big fan of Shauna Niequist, but homegirl is a hot mess at the beginning of her book. She writes, “My regrets: How many years I bruised people with my fragmented, anxious presence. How many moments of connection I missed – too busy, too tired, too frantic and stung out on the drug of efficiency.”
Thankfully, later in the book she states, “The best thing I can offer this world is not my force or energy, but a well-tended spirit, a wise and brave soul.”
You and me both, Shauna.
Here’s to saying no, slow mornings, and tending my soul.