If I was on the verge of burning out a few months ago, then today I’m officially toast burnt to a crisp.
Burnout is a very real thing. That is why, after saving a draft of this post for some time now, I’ve chosen to expose myself like this. I think most moms face burnout at some point of their lives. Perhaps my honesty here will not only help me to sort out my own feelings but will reach out to another mom out there and assure her that she’s not alone.
Burnout is also an awful thing. It hurts to think right now. It hurts a perfectionist like me to face her humanity, her brokenness, her limitations (why, oh, why do I need sleep, anyway?). It hurts to miss God so deeply but to be unsure of where I’m going to find him (I know, I know. He hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s with me. I’m the one who’s created the distance, but it can be lonely trying to find your way back to him). It hurts to be.
Yet, even though I know I could seek out some balm to heal some of my hurts, here I remain – saying and not doing – like the son in the vineyard who tells his father he will go to work but does not. I’ve made promises in my prayers, to my children, to my husband, to myself, but I’m not following through with my actions.
Even before this breaking point, I noticed the signs. The tears over spilled smoothies. My edgy tone with my children. My renewed struggle with the bathroom scale and wanting to see the number drop to somehow validate my worth when I feel worthless. My insomnia that keeps me awake even when the baby is asleep. The crushing exhaustion that never seems to abate even when I do squeeze in some shut-eye.
Yes, the signs are all here. I’m running completely on empty, but I am doing very little to fill myself up.
As a writer and someone who has a compulsion to communicate, it is far easier for me to move my fingers across a keyboard and piece together inspiring words than it is to move my life. But, my friends, this life of mine must be moved. It must be moved closer to God, to taking better care of myself physically (i.e., eating healthful foods, hitting the outdoors for the regular walks I miss so much, and getting sleep whenever I can), and to enjoying my kids, not just taking care of them.
These sentiments aren’t new. I’ve been struggling with accepting that something has to give and that enough is enough for some time now. (I suspect this will be one of my lifelong struggles, considering I remember two other times in my life when I was on the verge of completely crumbling and had to make some changes to avert a complete shutdown). I’ve been continuing to take a defiant stance and have been resisting God and what he requires of me. However, I have no right to question God. He has my best interests at heart even when he asks me to do something difficult.
A friend recently asked me how I balance it all.
“Not very well at the moment,” I admitted.
Here’s the real truth: I am unbalanced. God is not at the center of my life. I need to right this, right myself. How? By praying. By taking this mom’s encouragement to heart and being good to myself. By taking a temporary step away from this public life I have here on this blog to gain perspective and to try to get more sleep. By doing some “real” writing – writing that helps pay the bills and writing in my prayer journal that helps feed my soul. No more empty promises; it is time to be a doer of words*.
To better turn words into deeds, I’m taking a sabbatical and will be signing off for about a week so that I can reorder my life, take better care of myself and my family, and be satisfied with the fruits I’m humanly able to bear.
“Jesus, remain with me,” is a simple prayer that some Catholics pray after Communion or upon leaving Eucharistic Adoration. This is what I’m praying today: “Jesus, remain in me.” May Christ remain with you, too.