The clock strikes midnight, and everything changes – or, it’s supposed to. You’ve purchased your new calendar, you’ve sworn that this is the year you’ll lose that last 10 pounds, and you’ve committed to living more intentionally with your family and friends. This is your year, and you need to get started today.
There’s an energy and an excitement that propels us into each brand new year when that little “1” shows up on the calendar, but it only lasts for so long. Then, reality sets in. You’re still carrying your burdens from the year before, and your resolutions are starting to seem like next year’s problem… again.
As someone who is a “planner”, I often find myself sitting in front of my calendar with my head in my hands.
“How can I possibly finish all of my to-do’s, accomplish all of my goals, and excel in all of my commitments? How can I do everything I need to do with so little time in the day?”
If I’m honest, there’s often an overwhelming desire to stop everything, sit, and wait until the world stops spinning. There’s a desire to clear my calendar altogether.
What if I told you, though, that the solution to a tired-soul wasn’t to clear your calendar? What if I told you that the rest you’re looking for will actually come from what you choose to add to it?
It may sound crazy, but hear me out.
We so often assume that the only way to relieve ourselves of burnout is to get to the “other side” of it. For you, maybe it’s the long awaited weekend that you drag yourself through the week to reach. Maybe it’s that vacation you’ve had blocked off on the calendar for months, or maybe it was the Christmas break that you felt depressed to see come and go.
While these “other side” moments of rest are wonderful, they are just that. Moments. And friend, there is so much more to life than spending each day waiting to reach the other end of your burnout in hopes that you can begin to feel again.
While overextension and over commitment are never okay, the truth is, some degree of weariness will always be a part of life in the broken world we live in.
To function, we are required to work. Students have to return to school. Adults need to find a vocation that puts food on the table, and mommas need to care for their crying babies when they’re desperately looking forward to the next moment of quiet.
Life was never meant to be easy, and the way to deal with the burnout you’re feeling is not to remove stress from your life. As attractive as this seems, the idea that we can live in a stress-free world is one that the enemy will use to keep you living for tomorrow instead of finding ways to enjoy today.
See, Jesus knew that our day-to-day lives would leave us feeling burnt out, stressed and weary, but we were never designed to carry this weight on our own. I love what the Message version of the bible has to say about Jesus’ heart for rest:
“Are you tired? Worn out? … Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest …. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
The only source of true rest we will find in the midst of our chaos is time spent with the lover of our souls, exchanging our burdens for a life that is free and light. When you create intentional time in your busy day to stop and look to Him, everything changes. You leave feeling refreshed, full, at peace, and ready to take on the day with that same January 1st fervor that you lost two weeks in to the year.
The difference between a stressful life and a restful life is not the desolation of your calendar, but your dependency on Jesus.
It’s this dependency that quite literally allows you to recover your life, just as Jesus said. It’s what flips the switch and allows you to be present in the everyday rather than desperately awaiting your next vacation.
So, friend, as I sit and fill in my calendar for a new year, the one thing I know I need to add to my busy life is alone time with the God of the universe. Despite the chaos this year is sure to bring, I have a feeling this shift in priority will bring the most rest I’ve ever experienced.
I know it will for you, too.