Burnout Feels Like


Drowning
Like flinging and flailing and gasping for breath. Some days it feels like I’m floating facedown in the water. Waiting for rescue or waiting for death.
I can’t even remember what it felt like to swim.
Defeat
Burnout tells me leaving my job and moving to Guatemala is the ultimate failure, not a dream fulfilled. 
Like I’ve fought the battle and lost.
Like I’ve given up on getting better.
Not that I have failed, but that I am failure, will always be a failure.

Depression
Like not sleeping, not hoping, not caring.
Like laziness and anxiety, lethargy and restlessness, all rolled into one.
And crying, lots and lots of crying.
Loss
Like losing my dream job.
Losing my identity.
Losing my passion.
Losing my joy.
Losing my self-efficacy.
Losing my mind.
Burnout feels like I’ve turned into a drama queen. 
Writing this I know I sound melodramatic, but that’s what burnout has done to me. It really feels like this, and most days I can’t see past it. Most days it’s the only story I believe. The only story I have energy to believe.
It’s why I started this blog—to share a different story, a better story. To share the story of God’s transforming love. To share a story that doesn’t end in the burnout and the failing and the flailing. To remind myself that, as hard as it is to see past all of this, I can hope for the future. That the God who opened the doors for my dream job for a time will again plant the seed of hope and joy and passion in my heart. That He is not done with me. That He does not fail. That He does not flounder. That He will not give up on me.
That He will restore my joy.
Before Jesus started his ministry, God said of him: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
Before Jesus performed miracles. Before he raised the dead. Before he called out the Pharisees. Before he fed the 5,000. Before he died on the cross. God was well pleased.
I know I’m no Jesus, but today I’d like to hope that God feels this way about all of his children. That God feels this way about me.
As I reflect on the poisons of burnout, I write in the antidote. I remember the Love. And I paste it on my mirror, write it in my journal, replace the endless word loop of criticism with this declaration of love. This is the story I will choose to believe. 
“This is my daughter, Aly, whom I love; with her I am well pleased.”
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2 thoughts on “Burnout Feels Like

  1. M says:

    God does feel that way about you!There's this part in the gospels, I think it's when Jesus is choosing his disciples, and it says that He showed them his glory and then they believed. It's not that they believed, and then they got to see his glory – they didn't have to work for it, He just gave it to them. I think Jesus is like that all the time. He shows us His love over and over and over again, and when we get it is when we start to serve him. He doesn't love us because we serve him, we serve him because he loves us. Burnout sucks, but you are blessed. God has clearly blessed with you with great passion, insight, and compassion – among other things. I believe that he gave you those gifts for a reason, and he has a plan for you. Don't lose hope.

  2. Aly Lewis says:

    Thanks for the encouragement and for speaking truth to me. It seems that every day I am relearning how to rest in God's love.

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