Oh Give Me a Break!

Have you ever had a period in your life when you just could not move forward? Each step may seem laborious as you pick up one foot, preparing to plant the next one on the ground. Covered in mud, you try repeatedly to pull yourself out of that pit only to somehow slide right back down. I am guessing a few people can relate.

How did you arrive at this place? There might be many situations. Sometimes it is a sudden event, perhaps a personal loss. I relish the memories of my older brother now, but the moment when he died came so suddenly that it felt like I had fallen into a vortex that was spinning out of control. Sometimes it is a series of events, occurring over a sustained amount of time without any break seemingly. The question can haunt you, ‘Can I ever catch a break??’

“You can lose your MONEY. You can lose your FRIENDS. You can lose your JOB and you can lose your MARRIAGE…and still recover…as long as there is HOPE. Never lose HOPE.” – John Paul Warren

I arrived at church today a little begrudgingly. My husband has been traveling for what seems like forever. I didn’t go for the most noble of reasons. I was lonely. I was tired. It has rained for days, and I just wanted time to be with some encouraging people. I mumbled a bit more when my mother did not want to join me. I grumbled when a good friend was home due to illness. Yes, you read that correctly. I, I, I, I, I, I, I. 

“Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves. ”  – Stephen Kendrick, The Love Dare

The service was coming to a close when our senior pastor stated that the elders were joining him for an announcement. I braced myself because I’ve heard this announcement more than once at a previous church. Each time the conversation ended with someone’s moral failure.

I took a deep breath as they announced that he would be taking a sabbatical. A sabbatical? Oddly enough, I was immediately excited for him. Isn’t it true that oftentimes everyone else recognizes when you have reached burnout out far sooner than you see it in yourself? There was no scandalous story, there was simply a leader doing exactly what he needs to do – lead by example.

Are you at a point where you need a break from some things? I recognize not everyone is in the position to take a sabbatical. Let me pose some other questions to you that might strike a nerve.

  • Do you take a Sabbath Day each week to genuinely rest?
  • Do you use all of your vacation days?
  • Do you have regular time of reflection?
  • Do you meditate?
  • Do you know what your purpose is?
  • Do you check your calendar every hour – even more frequently perhaps – because your schedule is one big, long event without taking a break during the day?
  • Are you constantly upset and disappointed with people?
  • What are your first thoughts every morning? Do you begin the day with a list of problems without regard to potential solutions?
  • Are you using poor and harmful methods to cope?

There are things you can change if you are at this point or rapidly approaching it. Some proactive steps include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Set boundaries (that is my personal OUCH!)
  • Seek out support from others.
  • Evaluate both your short-term and long-term goals. What are you doing out of guilt or pressure?
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Try a new form of recreation. Perhaps it is taking a sketching class, visiting that vacation place you’ve put off for years.
  • Resolve conflicts with family and friends, as much as it can depend on you.

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” – Gal. 5:22, The Message

As they used to say in the McDonald’s advertising, you deserve a break today. You do need it. Give yourself that gift.

Let me know what changes you will make.

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50 thoughts on “Oh Give Me a Break!

  1. sagescenery September 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm Reply

    Awesome words of wisdom!!
    Loved “The Love Dare!”


  2. lenwilliamscarver September 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm Reply

    What a thought provoking write, of course that is what you intended. I have many things I would like to change but the two most important to me is stress-eating, or bored, nervous, happy, sad angry eating and to discover a way out of my I-itis. I am very self centered and feel more so with blogging for what else do I have to talk about but me, it is the other areas of my life I need to eliminate the I-itis from. If you don’t mind I would like to repost the first part of your blog, just the questions and of course giving you the proper credit. Please let me know and God Bless! Hope you are having a beautiful blessed day!


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm Reply

      I need to work on that area as well. That is fine to post only part of the blog. Do you mind creating a hyperlink to my post? Thank you!


  3. writerwannabe763 September 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm Reply

    I remember living so busy but now my husband and I are at a place where life is certainly not hectic…and we have time to smell the roses….Not that there aren’t challenges from time to time but we can relax and for the most part handle them. I feel for those who are in that time in their lives when there doesn’t seem to be enough hours or energy in the day. I guess that’s when, if we’re Christians we turn to God in prayer and ask Him how to slow down…Diane


  4. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman September 16, 2012 at 7:21 pm Reply

    Setting boundaries is my “ouch” too. The past four years I have had a mentor guiding me in my Spiritual Disciplines and reading your post felt as if I was with my mentor. The biggest change for me has been my focus on God and His desire for me and to practice the presence of God (Brother Lawrence) in everything I do. God created a new heart in me. Setting boundaries is still difficult but the Spirit of God is teaching me. Blessings – Patty


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 16, 2012 at 7:25 pm Reply

      It sounds like you are really growing and have a great mentor! I pray you continue well in walking closely behind Christ. Thank you for stopping by!


  5. Jody Thompson September 17, 2012 at 2:22 am Reply

    Just what I needed to hear today. Bravo!


  6. juxthpose September 17, 2012 at 9:42 am Reply

    Enjoyed your post. Very helpful!


  7. thewallacegroupkw September 17, 2012 at 11:23 am Reply

    Great post! I feel your pain, some days.


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm Reply

      Thank you! I was moved by the events in my pastor’s life when I wrote that. I hope it encourages others who need to make some changes in their daily schedule.


  8. heatherdecker September 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm Reply

    Hi there, thanks for liking my recent posting. I really loved reading this blog, and “setting boundaries” .. yes, that is such a must, something I did not learn about until I was in my 20’s … wish I would have incorporated that one sooner.. your post “Oh Give Me A Break” was JUST what I needed to read today.. so thank you, it is much appreciated 🙂 -Heather Decker


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm Reply

      I am still working on boundaries ~ a work in progress! Thanks so much for stopping by!


  9. Nine Cent Girl September 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm Reply

    Wow… I so needed this advice tonight… thank you!!


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm Reply

      I’m so glad to hear that it made a difference. Thank you for stopping by!


  10. NickAndrea19 September 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm Reply

    Wow, what a inspiring post.


  11. NickAndrea19 September 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm Reply

    Two quotes come to mind:
    “There is always hope.” -Aragorn (from Lord of The Rings)
    “To one who waits, all things reveal themselves,
    as long as you have the courage not to deny in
    the darkness what you have seen in the light.”
    –Coventry Patmore


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 17, 2012 at 7:37 pm Reply

      Those are great. Thank you for sharing them!


    • kappocheno September 21, 2012 at 12:18 am Reply

      Amen to that….Great reference to great quotes…..for a great post! 😉


  12. Katie Michele September 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm Reply

    Hi, I sincerely enjoy and love your blog and have nominated you for the Lovely Blog award. http://connectivetissuedisorders.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/lovely-blog-award/


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm Reply

      Thank you! I check on your blog for new posts regularly. You are on an amazing journey.


  13. dipitblack September 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm Reply

    I recognize myself so much in your story. I’m having a burn out since march and had to stop with my study, but instead of resting I rushed into yoga and got an eating disorder. Today I’m still burned out and I’m trying to do my best taking my rest, but the thing you said about setting boundries, thats a thing for me too.. Thanks for this blog, sometimes you just need some recognision. I am definitely gonna follow you on your journey :). Good luck!


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm Reply

      Thank you for your comments. I would love to hear other suggestions you have.


      • dipitblack September 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

        Well I think its good to dose everything. I made some keywords for myself, which express what I want and need to be happy. To me these are balance, strength and flexibility. So maybe its an idea to make your own keywords, write them down and look at it everyday. But everyone is different, so I dont know if its something for you.


      • Overwhelmed By Joy September 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm

        I think those are some excellent things to incorporate into your life!


  14. Kristin Barton Cuthriell September 19, 2012 at 5:20 pm Reply

    This is an important message! Thanks for sharing.


  15. rebeccafletcher9 September 19, 2012 at 6:15 pm Reply

    I am trying to get back into the habit of exercising…I haven’t in 3 months and it’s tough! I’m also trying to have a set cut-off time for housework. So, if I’m home from work at 8:00, I have to be done with housework by 9:00 so I have time to relax and rest. Still a work in progress!


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 19, 2012 at 6:34 pm Reply

      I hear you! I can’t seem to stay ahead of the game myself. I’m going to physical therapy for plantar fasciitis. I just want to at least keep my weight even ~ but I would take a significant loss any day. It sounds like you stay very busy ~ that housework is worth a lot of calories itself!


  16. Raj Narayan September 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm Reply

    That “not needing to force our way in life” is the best part of life. Grand article and I’m already feeling great being here!


  17. affirmagise September 20, 2012 at 9:37 am Reply

    Thanks for looking over my site and liking my post.
    I love this blog! I believe that whenever we ask
    “Why won’t/doesn’t somebody else (or in this blogs case life itself!) do something (eg give us a break)”
    it is a sure sign that we are indulging in self-pity and a reminder to us to do that thing for ourselves. So I endorse your suggestion to consider how much of a break to give ourselves and of course to follow that up with actually taking a break – maybe not a sabbatical but at least 5 minutes for a cuppa and a breath. It is amazing how quickly we can then start to appreciate what is around us, regain our perspective and start to feel better again. Love is all around


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 20, 2012 at 9:48 am Reply

      I agree – a sabbatical is not an option for most people. My hope in writing this is for people to consider some smaller daily changes to prevent burnout. A cup of coffee is a good cure for me any day of the week! Thank you for stopping by!


  18. melissmor September 20, 2012 at 10:37 pm Reply

    I’ve recently been going through some transitions in my life regarding my job, I have a whole lotta faith and I know God’s plan is 1st and foremost in my life and I am absolutely happy I consulted with Him initially and I continue 2 acknowledge Him!


  19. seathechange September 21, 2012 at 12:50 am Reply

    It’s so nice to see positivity in the face of… well, everything! What a great and inspiring post, thanks for sharing these thoughts. And thanks for dropping by to Like my blog, leading me here. Wishing you plenty of joy for every day 🙂


  20. alwayzhis September 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm Reply

    Thank you for stopping by my blog. I so understand what you mean in every word of the post! You are a true blessing and I am happy to have found another sister like you.
    In Christ’s love


  21. harulawordsthatserve September 22, 2012 at 8:50 am Reply

    I too loved the Love Dare quote and there were some great questions in here to reflect on, thanks for this soul food and for the like. Blessings on your day:-)


  22. jmd5717 September 22, 2012 at 9:44 am Reply

    Very insightful. “I” indicates selfishness but I have found over the years its a necessary “evil”. You must be able to properly love and take care of yourself from the soul out in order to shed love and joy to those around us.

    Anyway, that was my 2 cents! ha. I look forward to reading more from yourself, nicely done


    • Overwhelmed By Joy September 22, 2012 at 9:48 am Reply

      It is a difficult balance to maintain, isn’t it? Thank you for stopping by!


  23. myimmanuel September 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm Reply

    This is a great message! Both thought provoking and challenging. Thank you for visiting myimmanuel!


  24. Aian Ramos September 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm Reply

    You really got me thinking, thanks for sharing this one 🙂


  25. Good Deed September 23, 2012 at 7:10 am Reply

    This is first post I red from you. Inspiring


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