Do you ever feel like you’re depleted of energy and lacking motivation? Are you totally burnt out? You’re not alone, friend. It is no surprise that a study by Gallup reveals 76% of full-time workers experience burnout.
I’ve had my fair share of crash and burn moments. The culprit of most of these moments was that I simply didn’t want to slow down or put aside self-created goals and expectations.
Once I determined my final destination, there was no stopping until I reached it. I have sacrificed my health, relationships, and joy at the expense of reaching something I decided I needed to achieve.
Can you relate?
It is story time – let’s virtually travel back in time to Lausanne, Switzerland together.
You’ve now been teleported with me to a lively, French speaking city nestled on Lake Geneva. Picture yourself in a beautiful vineyard looking at a crystal-clear lake that leads to snowy mountains and a sneak peek of Evian, France.
We are at the Lausanne Half Marathon on my twentieth birthday: October, 26th, 2014.
Let’s just put it this way: I cut some corners when training for this race. I didn’t exactly prepare my body or focus on the nutrition my body needed because at the end of the day I was thinking about the medal and how cool it would be to say I did the race.
Running on an apple and croissant, I started the race at an eight-minute mile pace. Three miles in, I wasn’t feeling so great.
I didn’t want to slow down or listen to my body. I was going to finish this race and stick to the unrealistic pace I had set for myself.
Let’s fast forward this race a bit. The finish line was finally in eye sight and the strangest thing happened. I straight up passed out.
The video from the race shows me falling and totally unconscious just steps before the finish line. Paramedics put me in a wheel chair and pushed me to onsite help.
I woke up two hours later to French speaking doctors where I mumbled one of the only French phrases I knew (I may have also cut some corners in my French class, too.) “Je suis étudiante,” which means I’m a student.
I’m sure the doctors found this fact to be less than helpful and looking back myself, it is quite hilarious that this was the one thing that immediately came to mind to share.
To finish up the story, once I gained consciousness, I ended up walking to the metro to head back to Pepperdine’s study abroad housing.
This moment quickly made me realize that running another half marathon wasn’t in the cards, but I never slowed down or questioned my pace outside of the race. I was still my own pacemaker.
I spent the next few years of college burning the candle at both ends. After graduating college in April of 2017, my husband and I got married in June and we moved to Washington D.C. to start our careers.
My first job started the day after we arrived at our seventh-floor, five hundred square foot apartment in Arlington, Virginia. This pretty much set the tone for the rest of my career. I’m four years post-grad and have had a total of nine different roles.
My life was starting to look a whole lot more like a game of Chutes and Ladders than a life of surrender to the One who created me and you.
At just twenty-six, I was burnt out, exhausted, and wishing for retirement. My life was full of discontentment, hurry, and fear. I mentally felt like I was right back at the Lausanne Half Marathon.
I feared I would fall behind.
I questioned who I really was.
I was anxious to reach my next goal.
I didn’t have time to truly seek and listen to God.
Do you find yourself in the same place? Do our stories share some similarities?
About six months ago, I realized that something was going to have to change and I started trying to get to the root of the constant burnout I faced.
Why was I pushing myself to perform a specific way? Where did I even get the idea that this was the pace I needed to go at? How did I come up with this list of expectations?
You see, it boiled down to putting my worth in titles. It is not a coincidence that the first thing I told the medical crew was that I was a student. The habit only continued through post-grad. My title at work quickly became my identity.
There was only one way to fix this. I knew I needed to truly surrender and find my identity rooted in the ultimate pacemaker: God.
Ready for a challenge? I want you to truly start believing that your identity is first and foremost being a child of God.
God calls us His children throughout the Bible. God uses the humble and what the world may consider lowly to glorify His kingdom. Children ask for help, love on others, easily trust, and giggle with joy. He knows we are frail, yet gives us a position of righteousness.
Your current title, where you’re from, how much money is in your bank account, or what you’ve accomplished during your lifetime cannot make you deserve this title more than the person next to you.
Contrary to culture, a purpose filled life isn’t always about climbing to the next step on the ladder. A purpose filled life is one that is okay with finding a chute that takes you to what the world may deem as a lower place in order to bring glory to God’s kingdom.
As we get to know God, we learn that when we have nothing left to give, He gives us everything we need. God doesn’t operate on the currency of time and we don’t have to live up to the worldly expectations of success.
No amount of rest can put a stop or delay the plans He has for you.
The overachiever and passionate person you are may not be super cozy with the idea of rest, but friend it is essential that you slow down to rest when burnout sets in so you can find renewal from God.
What if we become so busy with our day-to-day plans and the constant hustle to do more that we miss the small moments that change everything for His kingdom?
Culture tells us that busyness is significant. God tells us that all who are weary and burdened can come to Him to find rest (Matthew 11:28-30).
Let’s talk about the hats you wear for a second. God created rest so that we can experience a renewal that allows us to wear our different hats a little more intentionally and serve those around us in the way we were designed.
Even Jesus chose a moment of solitude at times so He could renew His mind and spend time with God. When we treat ourselves like a machine, we forget to unplug and ask God for His direction. We can get so caught up with busyness that we forget we have unlimited access to the One who intentionally created us.
You aren’t running what might feel like a half marathon you haven’t trained for alone. God is by your side and He will give you strength throughout your race. He is mindful of your needs and is not limited by your weakness. You are His child and He loves you.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NIV says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
Don’t let the world deceive you. Your final destination isn’t that job title, buying that house, hitting that six-figure salary, driving that car, marrying that person, or taking that vacation. You are running your race not for some cheap medal, but to bring God glory, disciple others, and live an eternal life with Him.
When you start to get burnt out with busyness, re-prioritize, spend time in His word, rest, and don’t grow weary. Regardless of where you are or where you think you should be, your purpose is incomparable and God has you there for a reason.
Keep showing up and surrendering your daily race to Him, friend! Nothing satisfies like Jesus.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Here are a few journaling prompts to help you unpack what is weighing you down and overcome the burnout you are facing:
- What is happening in your life that only God could orchestrate?
- What fills your plate? Why did you take on each responsibility?
- Prioritize what is on your plate. What can you stop doing? How can you create a lighter load and trust God with what you can’t continue to take on?
- How can you incorporate a better balance with the hustle and rest so you can live out God’s plans for you?
- How can you seek God’s direction each day?
- What are some ways you can add rest into your routine?
Hope Reagan Harris is a wife, dog mom, iced vanilla latte drinker, and most importantly a Jesus seeker. She strives to encourage those around her on their everyday journey with God. Her first book will be published with DaySpring on March 1, 2022. She’s on a mission to point others to Jesus so they can dig into the Word and start understanding how seen, known, and loved they truly are. You can become virtual friends with Hope on Instagram @hopereaganharris!