Tis the season for being burned out. I seem to be coming out of it, but when I sat down and thought about it, I realized it happens to me every year around this time. I feel like I’m unable to do it all, like the universe is conspiring against me. The “to do” list seems to be impossible, an endless supply of things I won’t get done, and then the reality of the deadlines and the people I’ll let down washes over me and I feel futility set in.
I first encountered burnout in college, near the end of my time there. I look back and I just don’t know how I did it all—the clubs, the meetings, the organizations, the fund-raisers and the extra classes, the projects for charity, the parties, the hanging out, and on and on and on. That final spring quarter, I was a waste, not worth much at all. Nothing seemed to be worth it, and no matter how much I did, there was always more to do.
After I graduated, I left all that behind me and started all over. I thought that with a job, I had all this free evening time, so I set about filling it. I taught Sunday school classes, attended every evening Bible study, was a 4-H advisor, did county-level 4-H activities, helped with youth ministry at church, and found time to sleep somewhere in there.
Then I got married, and as I was getting ready to jet on over to one of the many evening commitments I had, Bob looked at me and commented, “You know, we’ll never have a family if we never spend any time together.” That really set me thinking about my focus in life, and about what I’m supposed to be doing right now.
I still struggle with wanting to do too much, and then finding myself so worn out from all that I try to do that I don’t want to do anything anymore. I’m trying to find the balance of extracurricular and home life.
Sometime, and especially as we have more children and as Bob begins to take more classes, my extracurriculars will have to nearly disappear. At one point, that really bothered me. I thought that those outside things defined who I am.
But I’ve come to understand that the most important work I do is the work God calls me to do…and to know what that is, I have to be listening.