I sat in my mentor’s office struggling to find the right words. We talked of this and that till he shocked me with a question:

“How long have you felt burned out?”

Me? Burned out? But, I just wrote a book about my HUGE burn-out story and how grace and Jesus changes all that! I can’t be burned out again. How can I possibly offer other people grace and hope if I can’t even figure this out myself?!

Not a single one of those words made it past my lips, though. Instead I teared up and said, “Since right after my book came out last fall.”

I hadn’t realized how tired I was until that exact moment.

Lemme tell you, birthing a book is no easy process. Oh, I enjoyed the writing, but not so much the minutiae required to birth a book into the world:  deadlines, cover art, marketing, web pages, launch plans, social media, printing . . . basically, the 1001 decisions you make after the words are crafted.

On top of being tired from a book birth in late September, my husband started a new job in October and the upheaval of a new family schedule with the holidays right behind shook my equilibrium even further.

All of it left me physically, emotionally, and mentally tuckered out. Again.

So, yeah, that realization tops my list of “unexpecteds” from the past few months.

Maybe you’ve experienced this before? Where you serve and lead and pour out for a long time, doing good things? Even things God’s asked of you! But before you realize it you’re all tuckered out and in desperate need of some rest?

Three Things I’m Re-learning

Through that eye-opening moment, God began to reassure me. He pointed out three things we must understand about this crazy adventure we call life.

  1. Yes, you’re tired, but not like before.

Life is a journey — an upward spiral of growing in grace. And though we reach seasons that might seem familiar to us, they aren’t the same as before because we aren’t the same!

God reminds us, “Yes, you’re tired, but not like you before when you reached your initial breaking point. That was for the purpose of revealing the truth of My grace to you. This is different. YOU are different.” That simple truth can comfort our hearts. God knows we need to be reminded of the truth of who we are.

  1. Life is spiritual warfare, sweetheart!

Remember the story of the Israelites conquering the Promised Land? God told them that anywhere the soles of their feet touched was theirs to claim. They could walk forward, defeating the giants and claiming the beautiful land for themselves. And God promised them victory in their battles.

This life you and I live is a lot like Promised Land conquering. We are engaged in warfare! And while we’re promised God’s continued presence and victory for the battles, we shouldn’t expect to sit around and sip lemonade. We still must fight the good fight of faith.

Remember, even the most seasoned warriors sometimes return home with cuts and bruises, an unsightly wound, or even a limp after particularly tough battles.

That’s okay. It’s to be expected.

  1. You have permission to create fill-you-up places in your life.

When we walk around depleted we’re not really much good to anyone. But if we will pause to be refilled — by Jesus and by things we love — then we can waltz back into the world with a full heart and arms outstretched to serve well.

In seasons of tiredness, it’s wise to be even more intentional about surrounding yourself with rest, life-giving people, and life-giving activities that replenish you.

Fill-you-up spaces aren’t a luxury — they’re a soul-deep need!

What I Wish for You

I wish I could plop down on the couch next to you right now and listen to your story. I wish I could hear your answer when I ask

Where do you crave rest? What kinds of fill-you-up spaces do you need in your life right now?

Because I  know you have a story. And I imagine you’ve probably muttered, “Me too!” once or twice during my confession.

And I invite you to consider the story you’re living right now and ask God for someone to share it with–maybe a close friend or your hubby or your mom. Or even with me. {I’d love that!}

There’s something therapeutic about telling our stories. Sharing them helps us make sense of our world and allows other people to enter in, offer grace, and offer help and hope.

A Little Prayer

Poppa, thank You that you are always with us, offering grace for every moment. Thank you that you care about our stories–especially the ones we live right now. And thank you that you love us more than life itself. Would you please give this dear one a big heart hug today? Reassure her that she’s not alone — not only are YOU with her, but she has sisters of faith close at hand too. And as she ponders her own story, may You help her know how to create fill-me-up spaces that let her shine even brighter for You. Amen.

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