One question that can be a lifesaver if you're tired and worn out

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


I burnt out.

Somewhere towards the end of June I was working 70-hour weeks. I was exhausted. 

I thought about blogging. And then I thought about how I'd feel if I tried to find 2-3 hours to do this in the middle of everything else.

I missed a blog deadline (given by myself) and then another. 

Then I gave myself a pass.

A pass to not feel guilty about it. To not shame myself. A pass to give myself grace for this period.

Work slowed around the end of July but I was still exhausted. I thought about how I should blog something but I had no desire, I had nothing to say.

So I gave myself a pass: A pass to recover. A pass to find my words again. A pass to live freely and lightly.

My mom kept saying, "I think it's time you blog again."

I shrugged the words off, because just the thought exhausted me and this was never meant to be a place of passionless work. It was meant to be a place of rest, of healing, of giving and receiving grace. It was meant to be a place that bought me, and hopefully you, joy.

10 days ago, Xylon and I went on holiday – my first proper break since a week off in December. Proper for me means, not opening my computer, no work email pinging for my attention, no social media monitoring (work or personal), no phone calls. 

And out of it I found space to breathe. The desire to write again. So I’m back and you should find a regular flow of posts in your inbox.

I wanted to share this story here though because maybe some of you need to be reminded that you can give yourself a pass. 

It's okay to not be able to do everything, all the time. You don't have to carry burdens beyond what you can bear.

If you want to know the truth none of us can.

One of the most well-known bible verses is Matthew 11:30 of Jesus saying: 
For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

I used to think that meant I had to keep on going after I'd given my burdens to him because now they are lighter.

I'm like that. If you ask to help me carry things I'll keep the heaviest ones not to burden you down. I even do that with Jesus. Give him the lighter stuff. It's only when I come to the end of myself that I say, "Jesus, have it all." But by that stage I’m so far gone I need to be carried away in a stretcher. 

That is what happened to me at the end of June. I pushed so far and then I couldn’t any more. I dropped this blog. I managed to keep all the other balls I was juggling in the air but I couldn’t keep this one up in the air. And that is okay. 

I love the words of Matthew 11:28-30 in the  Message: 
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

For me, that is what this pass is. It's finding the unforced rhythms of grace again. Watching how Jesus does it. It's giving myself space to discover joy where stress now resides. 

A pass is an opportunity to let myself off the hook of high expectations – my own and others. Because living up to others expectations is exhausting (can I get an “Amen” in the comments?)

I don’t know what you need a pass for. In fact if you’re anything like me you would probably be hard pressed to say what that thing is too so here is one question to ask yourself that might help you put a finger on it:
What is the one thing that used to bring me joy but now brings me only stress?  

What comes to mind? 

Are you the type of person who loves having people over for dinner but the thought of cooking is draining you? Give yourself a pass for two weeks. Allow yourself to order take out pizza or clear your appointment book.

Do you face every Monday wondering if you should get another job? Give yourself a pass for two weeks. Be that person who leaves the office first. 

It could be a relationship or a hobby or (fill in the blank by answering the question).

At the end of two weeks re-evaluate and if you need to give yourself a pass for another two weeks. 

I want to be clear a pass isn't:

  • An excuse not to take responsibility 
  • To hurt someone
  • To do something badly

A pass is: 

  • An opportunity to find joy 
  • A chance to learn to live freely and lightly
  • A moment to pause and reflect

Finally, thanks to all of you for giving me the opportunity to pause and reflect. I’m looking forward to sharing with you here again. And I’d love to hear from you about the things in your life that you need a pass for.


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