“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 18:28
I know what I’m moving away from. I have a vocabulary for burnout that I’ve painstakingly compiled over the last year. But what am I moving toward?
In my life, I’ve shifted from cynicism to gratitude, from despair to hope. But what lies on the other side of the burnout pendulum?
Productivity? Usefulness? Even the joy that I have been promised doesn’t quite seem to be the opposite of burnout.
So I’ve been hoping for a word. A hint of where to go. How to navigate this process of rebuilding. In a foreign country. Away from (most) friends and family.
But I’ve been scared to ask. Scared that I won’t get a response.
Yet yesterday, while the pastor spoke about the vision of the church and I easily tuned out his Spanish, I dared to close my eyes and ask.
“Please give me a word.”
I thought maybe “baby steps,” “open,” “willing.”
But those words were mine, not His.
And then out of the silence, out of nothing, out of I don’t know where. The phrase resonated, vibrated, crystallized within me.
Trust the spark? What does that mean?
And then I heard, remember the spark, Aly? The spark within you that loves and cares and wants more? The part of you that can’t help but fiddle with words and tinker with ideas and come up with goals? The part that feels and flies and aches to do something meaningful?
The part of you that is loving and creative and patient and beautiful?
The part that never gives up?
Remember that, Aly?
That spark is still there.
You have a spark that burnout did not snuff. A small flame that will never go out. That still burns within you.
That spark is Me within you.
Trust the spark.
Grow the spark.
I am in you.
I am here.
I have never left you.
I will turn your darkness into light. I will keep your lamp burning.