SO. One day you wake up and you realize something has to change. You are so unbelievably exhausted you don’t even recognize yourself in the mirror. Your relationships are really suffering- with your spouse, friends, family, even with yourself. How did you get to this place? Where did you go wrong? You thought working hard was a good thing.
Have you heard of the word “Karoshi?” It is Japanese for “death from overwork.” You might want to laugh at this, but I will tell you it’s a reality that many people are on the verge of and don’t even realize it. I friends, could have been one of those statistics. I’m not exaggerating, and I feel very compelled to share my story. I think this is especially relevant to people who are self-employed, but it can really happen to anyone.
But why and how does this happen? I believe it kind of sneaks up on you. Every person’s story will be different, because we all handle life and circumstances in our own way.
I have personally always been a very driven person. I am thankful for this in some ways because I realize you can’t sit around and hope things happen! My problem became obvious when I didn’t know when or how to stop – or what my capacity was. I have had experiences throughout my life that were almost too difficult for me to bear. Instead of dealing with issues head on, I threw myself into working maybe hoping it would help me to deal with problems, or at least take my mind off of them. I think this helped for a while, but then I continued to pile on loads of work until I honestly had no time for rest, to take care of myself. Just a few years ago I was working 80 hours and at least 6 days a week. Since I don’t work on Sundays (my church day!), it was my only day to get any kind of rest – but I was too wound up thinking about the week ahead to really decompress. Being a perfectionist & a people pleaser didn’t make the situation any better.
The most interesting thing was for about 4 years I never got sick, but in the last year or so I have been down for the count at least 5 times. What happened? My body said, “ENOUGH Juliet!” I finally hit a “wall.” I had to stop and take a good hard look at my life. What was I running from? What was it that I needed to deal with? How could I change? I owed this to myself and everyone around me to figure this out.
The truth is that we are NOT perfect and we WILL make mistakes. Setting a standard for ourselves that we can’t attain is futile. Have you heard of the word “grace?” We know this something from God and people who love us (friends and family) will give. Why don’t we give this to ourselves?
It took me getting to a very bad place to come to terms with who God made me to be. For me to stop comparing myself. To realize that no amount of working or staying busy was going to change my past or who I am. I needed to confront things that had happened, accept the way God made me and the gifts He intended for me to use and share with others, and to stop putting so much pressure on myself to be great all the time, to make people happy all the time, and learn to give myself a break.
I am sharing this in hopes that YOU will do the same thing. Stop running and pushing so hard. Who and what are you running from? Think of the amazing things you could be doing with this energy! When people say life is short, they aren’t exaggerating. It is short. What are you going to do with the time you have? Yes, you do have to provide for yourself or family, but there are SO many other important ways to give to the people you love! Joy, laughter, love, experiences. There has to be a balance and I believe God will lead you to that. He’s waiting for you to ask, so we need to stop trying to do it all on our OWN. I would like to stress this – in such an independent, self centered and self-sufficient world, we like to forget that this life is a gift, a loving God made you, put you here for so many reasons–and working yourself to death is not one of them.
So I encourage you to take a few minutes to look at your life. What drives you? WHY? Are you in a vicious cycle of over working? Are you exhausted and running out of steam? Please know there is HOPE and healing and absolutely a light at the end of the tunnel! Just the mere fact you took the time to read this means you are searching for answers, and want a better life. I am happy for you! I am glad you realize there is more and you can have peace. 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope it has helped or inspired you in some way!
I’d love to hear your story and pray for you if you’d like! Shoot me an email if you feel compelled: firstname.lastname@example.org