I’m afraid of burning out.
Burning out is not a new risk I take every year. Yet, I’m afraid of burning out.
Have you ever heard of the word kopophobia? It’s the fear of becoming fatigued or exhausted, either mentally or physically. Feeling as though you are hanging on by a thread.
I’ve struggled with this in my adulthood. The older I get, the more rigid I become in my routine and comfort zone.
Actually, once I became a mom, I grew more selfish with my time and energy. I sunk deeper into this pit after realizing I have a son with a Sensory Processing Disorder.
I became particularly paranoid with unpredictable stimuli and avoided known triggers.
To constantly redirect or assist him in processing standard emotion or behavior, it took up 98% of my brain. Ok, maybe 99%.
Which left 1% for my husband, my household, my career
I feared adding anything to my life. I feared taking on MORE. If I added ONE thing to my plate, I’d tip over. And so would my family. Or so I narcissistically thought.
Is everyone afraid of burning out?
And it’s taken me 5 years to realize this cycle.
I think about the stories I read, the texts I receive, the friends I speak with … the pain and storms people are enduring leaves me speechless.
As I’m sure you have a mile long list as well, I have friends who have lost jobs, lost homes, lost pets, lost friends, lost children.
Friends who have parents and/or kids enduring the most dreadful diseases. Hurricanes, floods, tornados, fires… you name it… our country is feeling it all.
Simultaneously, we can all agree. We are afraid of burning out.
Last month, I began reading Proverbs chapter 31. I’ve learned that this famous (infamous at times) Proverbs 31 woman is not an individual woman at all. “She” is a list of character traits composed by King Lemuel inspired by the influence of his mother.
In this poetic chapter, adverbs such as “she extends,” “she stretches,” “she grasps” describe the actions of a noble woman (Proverbs 31:19-20)
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
“I didn’t sign up for this. I want to follow Jesus and all… but when things get tough… or I’m expected to stretch and extend and grasp … I’m not walking down that road. I need to protect my time, energy, money, sanity.”
– My kopophobic internal monologue.
The more consistent I am with digging into the Bible, the more my pride & fear melts away.
Fear that I must be in control of everything for life to operate smoothly. Fear that if I turn my head, my son will get kicked out of yet another school.
Sometimes anxiety strikes & pain is unavoidable. Sometimes disaster is quick & change doesn’t ask your permission.
What do we do then? How do we respond?
We get spent.
We get tired.
We get lost.
We are afraid of burning out.
Food for thought on my way back home after evacuating Florida during Hurricane Irma:
- For those feeling stretched because you are coming home from evacuation, dealing with storm aftermath, stand tall.
- For those watching your child receive tests and treatments you wish were avoidable, take a deep breath.
- For those looking at your bank account and wondering if there is a brighter future ahead, there is hope.
“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid therefore; you are worth many more than sparrows.”
— Matthew 10:29-33
Lemme talk to my lady readers:
We may have emotions all over the spectrum when being stretched & extended. We may be desperately running towards God for hope and strength. Or we may be angry and confused with Him.
I’m here to tell you – He knows your every feeling. And it’s OK to feel ❤️
Be real with Him as you pray. Be honest as you share your fears or frustrations.
If you have been extending your energy, stretching your limits and grasping for a break… be encouraged that even Godly women in the Bible were pushed to the limit. Perhaps this is just a chance to sharpen your noble character. And become more like that Proverbs 31 woman.
SIDE NOTE: They weren’t MORE Godly because they went through storms. We don’t get fame and trophies because we are more dramatic about our exhaustion. On the contrary, the Bible gives us examples of women who went through storms and relied on God’s strength, power and self-discipline (not their own).
Paul teaches us in Philippians 4:12, “I know how to have little, and I know how to have a lot. In and and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether fed or hungry, whether abundance or in need.”
Even if you are NOT in a hard season, then I believe you are still called to extend, stretch and grasp. We should extend our hands to help those in need.
We should stretch our budget to give a meal to a hungry family. We should grasp the fringes of peers on the fence of trusting in God vs themselves.
Are you afraid of burning out? Have you already? Let’s recover together!
Let’s be better. Let’s not think about our conveniences first. Remember a time when a random act of kindness blessed your day? Pay it forward.
Here are some examples of how we can Love Fast (to serve others) and Live Slow (to refuel):
Thanks for hearing me out. A little goes a long way. Take some time to prioritize serving others this week!