Today I decided to eat potato chips and chocolate chips (it’s a great combination if you’ve never tried it) and sit in front of the television watching the Great British Baking Show on Netflix.
Sounds productive, right?
But, honestly, I feel like there’s probably nothing better that I could do today.
You see, I’ve hit a slump. Maybe you’ve been there. Everything feels hard. Staying tucked under the covers all day long and eating the whole carton of ice cream feels like the only thing that can make it better. And, yet, it doesn’t.
Today, I want to quit. I want to say, “Forget it.” I’m done. This seems to be a theme in my life lately.
Just twelve hours after my book hit the number-one new release spot in its category on Amazon’s chart, I sat in the bathtub and decided to stop writing. I resolved to shut down this blog and be done with it all. The thought of going on was just too much.
This is called burnout. And it’s real.
Have you ever been there? Maybe you’ve decided to quit your volunteer position or your workout routine? Or, maybe it’s something even more painful . . . perhaps you are considering quitting your marriage, walking out on your job, or leave your church?
Whatever it is you feel like giving up on, can I offer you some encouragement?
Don’t do anything rash.
I know, you’re thinking it’s not rash. You’ve been in the dilemma for years. You’ve been planning your exit strategy for months. But, quitting isn’t always the best answer.
In fact, I’d dare say that most of the time when you feel like quitting and that voice in your head chants, “Do it! Do it! Do it!” – it’s not God directing you in a new way, it’s the voice of the enemy, trying to take you off course.
Instead of quitting right away, try these strategies:
1. Take a nap.
A long nap. Like a week’s worth of a nap. Sleep changes things. Period. When Elijah became plum tuckered out on the prophet’s circuit, God knocked him asleep, fed him a good meal, and then made him sleep some more. I’ve been amazed at how a good night’s sleep or a good nap can give me the ability to handle situations that I feel are unmanageable.
2. Work it out.
Take a walk, go for a run. Talk to a friend whom you trust to give you biblically-sound advice. Do something completely different than what you do everyday. If you are always inside, go for a stroll outside in the sun. If you work outdoors a lot, find a cool cafe for a unique change of scenery. Get a different perspective physically will sometimes help you get a different perspective mentally. If you can take a vacation, even better!
(Before you get on me about pray not being first, let me explain. When you are burnt out-sometimes the rest needs to precede the prayer.)
There are some things that we need to quit. God asked me to give up a number of jobs I was doing a few years ago. I was writing for four different blogs, working at a gym, and stretched to thin. It was painful to give those things up in a way, but they were draining me.
If you feel like you should still quit something after rest, and time away, then talk to God about it. You may not get a “why” as to what you should do, but trust him to prompt you in the right direction. If you don’t get a clear answer right away, take more time with it. God never rushes us, we just do that to ourselves.
4. Take a Sabbath.
Take a full day (or more if you can) away from what you think you can no longer stand. If there’s an identifiable cause for your burnout -give yourself some distance from it for at least one day a week. I find that when I skip taking a sabbath each week (i.e. somehow I work every single day), burnout comes on quickly. Things I once loved, I begin to hate. God directs us to Sabbath for a reason. Don’t skip it because you’re “too busy” or you’ll just find yourself beat down.