THE REAL REASON YOU’RE WORN OUT
By: Mandy B. Anderson
The room was dimly lit as I sat at my desk staring at the computer screen, cell phone in hand. My weekly coaching call with my life and business coach had just ended, and I was speechless.
Scale back? Work fewer hours and get rid of some extra activities? How in the world was that supposed to help me?
There was a part of me that felt relieved. Someone had finally given me permission to say “no” to things that had been making me anxious and exhausted. They weren’t bad things; volunteering at church as the women’s event coordinator was really fun. But it took more time than I had planned. Building my business wasn’t bad either, but it consumed my every waking thought and the pressure to succeed overwhelmed me.
My “go, go, go!” habits were taking a toll on my health, too. I had just gotten out of the hospital a few months ago, and my coach lovingly pointed out to me that this path I was on would only lead me back there again…faster. Also, I couldn’t remember the last time my husband and I had a real date. “What is he even doing tonight?” I wondered.
As I doodled on my notepad in the dark, I realized there was another emotion tugging at my heart. Fear. I was afraid that I would fail. Afraid I would let people down. Afraid I would never be enough, have enough, or do enough if I took the time to rest and scale back.
My coach asked me to trust her. Against all my natural feelings to run the other way and figure out a better solution on my own, I chose a new route that I had never willingly gone down before. I humbled myself to the authority and wisdom of my coach and followed her instruction.
Had I not obeyed that simple challenge several years ago, you would not be reading these words today. On that chilly January evening, she taught me a valuable lesson that strengthened me. She taught me the value of rest and when to say no.
The real reason we are worn out as women is this: we do not understand the value of rest and when to say no. Period. There, I said it. And I know there’s a part of you that wants to argue with me right now, because I wanted to argue with my coach, too. But bear with me for a moment…
We live in a fast-paced world. People can reach us faster and easier than ever before. Emails, Facebook, text messages, and tweets all pile up on top of our already busy lives. The kids need our attention, our husbands need our love and support, our friends want to find time for coffee. Somewhere in the middle of it all we lose sight of ourselves and who God designed us to be. This is when weariness sets in. This is when we leave ourselves open to those emotional storms that derail us and wear us down until there is nothing left.
Many “opportunities” that promise rewards of feeling great, helping others, and being successful show up, only to leave us feeling alone, exhausted, frazzled, and overwhelmed. Let me clarify something: it’s okay to feel great. It’s okay to help others. It’s okay to be successful. But when we do it all at the expense of our mental health, physical health, our marriage, our kids, and our time with God, it’s not okay.
We can never fully live the life God planned for us – the life of an overcomer – when we are stretched thin and hanging on by a thread of fragile emotions and wearied hearts. So we must be intentional and get back to the basics. We must build a strong foundation and then add in the rest from there. How do we do that?
We learn when to say NO to something that doesn’t fully line up with our priorities or goals. I highly suggest you block off ten minutes to start processing with a pen and paper and answer these questions:
- What are three responsibilities and/or deadlines that are causing you the most stress right now?
- Which of these can you release to someone else?
- Which of these do you need to say no to in this season so you can embrace the rest that God wants to give you?
- What boundaries do you need to set right now so you can live beautifully whole and well-rested for the calling and priorities that are in your life right now?
When we ask God for wisdom to know what to say yes to and what to walk away from, He will answer us. Be prepared to write down the words He shares with you. Some things will stay and others will need to be let go of for a season or even forever.
My personal experience with persisting when weary over the last several years is what inspired us to develop a technique called Art of the Pause, we use this in our offices at Big Blue Couch™ Coaching to help our coaching clients get into the habit of persisting when weary and making time for themselves while also getting replenished through God’s restful peace.