Monday, May 2, 2011

Bummed Out AND Burned Out

Hi Folks,

A few of you have asked how I'm doing since announcing in March about being depressed and wanting to take a few weeks off from writing the blog.  I haven't wanted to write about it but since I'm about to take more time off from the blog, I now believe that I must - that I owe it to you. 

I have realized that the exhaustion and the depression that I was experiencing was not just related to tiredness and the one-year anniversary of Bob's death, but was (is) burnout.  I hate to admit that because I've always believed that burnout is not responsible.  We have a responsibility to our calling and a responsibility to protect it so that we can keep at it.  Bob and I have been at this work since 1997 and we worked hard at not getting burned out because we knew it wouldn't be helpful to anyone.

[I know what some of you are thinking - that I'm being too hard on myself by saying that.  Some of you told me that after I acknowledged that I let myself get too busy.  But the truth is, by owning responsibility, I am also able to own the solution.  If I am a victim to what other people put on me or to my circumstances, it is no longer in my control.  So it is actually healthy for me to own it.]

I can excuse this through several justifications - Bob's death and the grieving process, the lack of a partner to help watch over me and protect me from myself and the "tyranny of the urgent," the fact that many widows experience a significant health event in the first year of their husband's death, etc. But it doesn't matter at this point how I got here - it is what it is and I need to work my way out.

I'm rereading a book by Os Guinness, The Call, where the author states, "Our calling is the sphere of our responsibility.  But we are not responsible to our calling.  We are responsible to God, and our calling is where we exercise that responsibility."  I still believe I am called to this work - that has not changed.  For me, the growing process is now to figure out how to do this responsibly, by myself.

I have tried again to write the blog over the last couple of weeks but it's not coming naturally.  I said to the kids yesterday that I have no idea how I wrote the blog every week for the last year - but actually, writing it was helpful for me and it came naturally.  So, I'm going to take more time off again from writing the blog.  I'll write when I have something I want to share but if you don't hear from me, know that I'm still working through this and am busy fanning the flame of the small coal that still has fire in it. 

Thank you for your continued support, prayers, encouragement, and faithful reading.