Someone once said there is a time for everything in life. A time to live, a time to die. A time to work, and a time for rest.
Life is lived in seasons. And this is reflected in the life cycle of the world we all live in.
We see it through the year, from the death, cold and snow of winter to the greenery, light and life of summer. We were designed to live in seasons.
And in life, when a season comes to an end, we lament, we grieve, but then we take what we learned, and move into the next.
Right now, in my life and work, I sense a season ending. And it’s time to lay it down and begin again.
Intertwined with the concept of seasons, is the idea of work and rest. And rest is equally important as work. Whatever culture might say, being busy is not something to be proud of.
Believe it or not, science has actually shown the human body is finite. It has limitations. It needs good sustenance, and healthy rest, to reach it’s optimal potential.
The irony at the core of our culture is that to achieve our potential we need to be busy – when what science (and indeed scripture, if you’re the religious type) tells us is we actually need to have healthy balance if we’re ever going to be the people we were designed to be.
Bottom line, if you don’t take care of something, it won’t work properly. And being busy isn’t taking care of ourselves. It’s a fast ticket to burnout. I’ve experienced it several times, and now it’s happened yet again. I’m drained. Creatively, mentally, emotionally and physically.
I need, yet again, to take a break, but life seems too busy.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Is burnout a regular part of your life?
Which brings us back to seasons. Because as you can see, my burnout (for once) actually coincides with a season ending in my life, and another aching to begin. It realised it’s an opportunity to end this rhythm of burnout and get a healthy rhythm, right at the time I am laying down one season and beginning another. So I can begin my next season well.
So what do I do about this? Simple. Take a break. Disconnect and refresh. As I did in 2014, I’m taking a break from public blogging. I’ll still be working. I’ll still be writing. But I’m going away from the public sphere for a month or two.
Which raises the questions of what does it mean for my work, and much more importantly, what lessons come out of these circumstances for you and me?
1) Healthy endings & beginnings: I have exciting new projects, ideas and mediums I want to explore, and it makes sense have a break, and begin fresh in the autumn, a good time for new beginnings. My core calling, my biggest passions – identity, creativity, calling, spirituality – remain as strong as ever, but like all of us, I’m on a journey. I’m growing, my perspectives are expanding and shifting.
And taking a period of time away to grieve the old season and prepare properly for the new is important, and necessary.
Lesson 1: We should always consider what season of life we’re in, where we are in that season, and whether we’re moving to a new one – and when we do move, we need to grieve the old and prepare well for the new.
2) Laying work down / Priorities: If I can’t lay down my work for a period, then it’s become my idol, my security, my identity. My value and worth will becoming from what I do. One healthy way to avoid that is to lay it down for a season regularly. It allows me to back to the root of everything, the fundamentals of what I’m doing and why. And it allows me to focus on other things which demand my time and attention – for example, a close family member is having a brain operation – and I need to be around to support them. I can’t allow my work to take over my life so I ignore the needs of those I love.
Lesson 2: If we can’t lay down our work for a season, it’s no longer our work, it’s our life, our identity, our security, our idol, and our god. And this isn’t healthy for our life or relationships.
3) Killing Burnout – I want to avoid burning out again. I need to figure out and invest in a more healthy rhythm to my life which allows me to do my job, my work, and invest time in what’s important to me. Which ensures I take care of my whole self well, and get good rest on a regular basis, so I don’t keep getting burned out.
Lesson 3: To be the healthiest we can be, to be able to use our gifts to serve others most effectively, we need to take care of ourselves.
I hope I achieve what I want to achieve in this period. I may, I may not. But I do know this break is important.
I’m fast coming to the conclusion we could all benefit from this kind of thing on a regular basis. And maybe as I go through this process and see the effects, learn the lessons, I might be able to share more on why and how we can do this well.
Is it time for you to do this too?
Have a great summer – I’ll see you soon.
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