Burn (oneself) Out
- Ruin one’s health or become completely exhausted through overwork.
|Synonyms:||work too hard, work like a horse/slave, work/run oneself into the ground, wear oneself to a shadow, work one’s fingers to the bone, drive oneself into the ground, sweat blood, work day and night, burn the candle at both ends, burn the midnight oil, overtax oneself, overtax one’s strength, do too much, overdo it, strain oneself, overburden oneself, overload oneself, drive/push oneself too hard|
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1
We are not meant to be slaves to anything; not our work, not our relationships, not our feelings, not anything. So then why do we run ourselves into the ground trying to achieve lofty goals and measure up to the world’s standard of success and happiness? I am as guilty of this as the next person, but we need to remember that Christ came to free us from all bondage and to give us an abundant life. Anything the world could offer us is a dim shadow in comparison with what Christ freely offers us. There is no hustling involved, no competing or doing anything and everything to get ahead. There is just the simple act of reaching out with our worn hands and weary hearts and accepting the freedom Jesus is offering to us every day.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10
I understand the urge to work hard to get better, and I’ve fallen prey to the “hustle harder” mentality the world yells at us. I take on too many tasks, or I add so many items to my to-do list that I overwhelm myself with the sheer volume of what I have to accomplish. This is the trap that the world catches us in because everywhere we look we see people who make hustling look glamorous and have turned it into a lifestyle that we should all aspire to have. What they fail to show in those rose coloured pictures though is the sleepless nights, the tired bodies, the missed family events, and the relationships that were put on the back burner. Hustling is a lonely road, and often it hurts us more than it helps us.
Whenever I push myself too hard and try to get too many goals accomplished in a short period of time, I end up getting burnt out; because instead of taking care of myself I’m trying to take care of my business. This rarely leads to groundbreaking moments but instead to exhaustion that settles deep in my bones and in my soul. It’s that moment when you get so tired that you can’t even think about doing anything else other what you absolutely have to because even doing something as simple as the dishes is utterly draining. There are things that I know are life-giving for me, going for walks, reading books, and writing are just a few. But whenever I feel burnt out, I have no motivation or desire to do any of those things, even though I know full well that they’ll help me to recharge. It’s a vicious cycle of knowing what will fill your bucket, but never having enough energy to do it because you’re bucket is so empty.
Why do we let ourselves end up in this place to begin with? Why do we ignore the signs that our light is starting to flicker and that we are beginning to burn out? For me, it is because I have bought into the lies that the world has told me for too long. I have felt compelled to “just add one more thing” to my plate because it promises to bring me immense happiness or fame. For too long I have only looked at the bright shiny packaging and failed to see the dangers lurking within, I have been blinded by glitter when my eyes should have been solely fixed on the cross.
Before you take on another project or make that next commitment, I encourage you to take an inventory of what is already going on in your life. To measure it up against the Word of God and see if it is something that will help you to live the abundant life Christ promised or if it is dust disguised as glitter. When you feel yourself beginning to burn out, take a step back and lean into the Lord. Let him guide and recharge you. In our world today it is counter-cultural to rest rather than hustle, but that is precisely what you and I need to remember to do when life starts to weigh down on us. Live abundantly and rest well my friends.